WASHINGTON – A Pakistani terrorist group involved in the notorious Mumbai, India, terrorist attack in 2008 is becoming a new threat to the U.S. homeland, according to a report in Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
It is the Lashkar-e-Taiba, or LeT, which analysts agree is posing an increasing threat to the United States.
Affiliated with al-Qaida, LeT is one of Pakistan’s oldest Sunni militant groups, according to Stephen Tankel of the Washington think-tank Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
Tankel said LeT is an emerging threat at this stage and believes the United States needs to reallocate intelligence resources to focus more on this Islamist militant group.
LeT has put the U.S. on its enemies list and has been actively attacking U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan since 2005.
LeT had sent fighters into Iraq to fight the U.S. invasion there and has killed Americans and other Westerners in India.
“The group has the capabilities to launch terrorist attacks outside of South Asia, including against the U.S., and is likely working to augment those capabilities,” Tankel said.
Islamabad likely will ignore U.S. requests to dismantle the group because it is an instrument of the Pakistani government.
Complicating matters, U.S. policy toward Pakistan appears to be conflicted.
The U.S. has decided to work more closely with the Pakistani military because of its connections with the Taliban and because the U.S. hopes to negotiate with the Taliban in an effort to find an orderly way out of Afghanistan by the end of 2014.
The Pakistani government initially created both LeT and the Afghan Taliban to act as its proxies in launching attacks against India.
“The Pakistani military and its Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI) have long considered LeT to be the country’s most reliable proxy against India and the group still provides utility in this regard,” Tankel said.
Because of Pakistan’s own problems with militant insurgency within the country, the government won’t take action against LeT out of concern the group would launch attacks against the government.
One of the reasons for LeT’s popularity is the robust social welfare system it has set up in cooperation with the Jamaat-ud-Dawa, or JuD, along with other legitimate relief organizations.
“The safe haven LeT enjoys within Pakistan has provided it the freedom of movement necessary to develop capabilities and capacity that enable it to threaten the United States,” Tankel said.
In posing a threat to the U.S., a growing concern is LeT could act as part of a consortium of other terrorist elements to enhance its capability to attack the U.S. homeland.
This is due to its relationship with transnational terrorist networks stretching across South Asia, the Persian Gulf and Europe, with a particularly strong connection to Great Britain, which in turn gives it direct access to the U.S. and Canada.
Training of LeT members often occurs with soldiers seconded from the Pakistani military, with some even taking early retirement to join the group.
“As a result, LeT militants and trainers are considered to be among the most tactically adept and its bomb-makers to be among the best in the region,” Tankel said. In turn, this training know-how then gets transferred to the other transnational groups with which LeT is affiliated.