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Pak didn't take sufficient action against LeT, JeM, says US terror report

September 20, 2018 15:28 IST

The United States has said the Jaish-e-Mohammed and Lashkar-e-Tayiba militant groups continue to pose a regional threat and that Pakistan did not adequately address America's concerns on terrorism in 2017.

Although al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan has been seriously degraded, remnants of its global leadership, as well as its regional affiliate al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent, continued to operate from remote locations in the region that historically have been exploited as safe havens, the US State Department said in its annual Country Reports on Terrorism for the year 2017.

 

"Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed and Lashkar-e-Tayiba continued to pose a regional threat in the subcontinent," it said on Wednesday.

The report notes that from August to December 2017, the Trump administration placed a pause on spending new foreign military financing for Pakistan, holding these funds until Pakistan addressed key US concerns, including the threat posed by the Haqqani Network and other terrorist groups that enjoyed safe haven in Pakistan.

"Pakistan did not adequately address these concerns in 2017," said the report.

Although Pakistan's National Action Plan calls to "ensure that no armed militias are allowed to function in the country," several terrorist groups focused on attacks outside of the country continued to operate from Pakistani soil in 2017, it said.

These groups included the Haqqani Network, besides the LeT and JeM which are directed against India.

Though Pakistan continued military operations to eradicate terrorist safe havens in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, their impact on all terrorist groups was uneven, said the State Department report.

According to the report, the Pakistani military and security forces undertook operations against groups that conducted attacks within Pakistan, such as the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan.

Even as the Pakistani government pledged support to political reconciliation between the Afghan government and the Afghan Taliban it did not restrict the Afghan Taliban and Haqqani Network from operating in Pakistan-based safe havens and threatening US and Afghan forces in Afghanistan.

"Pakistan did not take sufficient action against other externally focused groups such as Lashkar e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) in 2017, which continued to operate, train, organise, and fundraise in Pakistan," the report said.

Pakistan detained Hafiz Saeed, leader of LeT and its front organisation Jamaat ud-Dawa (JuD), in January 2017, but a Pakistani court ordered his release from house arrest in November 2017, it said.

In its report, the State Department rued that progress remained slow on the Pakistan government's efforts to implement UN sanctions related to designated entities and enforce anti-money laundering/countering the financing of terrorism controls.

The Financial Action Task Force, it said, continued to note with concern that Pakistan's outstanding gaps in the implementation of the UN Security Council ISIS and al-Qaeda sanctions regime have not been resolved, and that UN-listed entities -- including LeT and its affiliates -- were not effectively prohibited from raising funds in Pakistan, nor were they denied financial services.

"Although Pakistan's laws technically comply with international anti-money laundering/countering the financing of terrorism standards, authorities failed to uniformly implement UN sanctions related to designated entities and individuals such as LeT and its affiliates, which continued to make use of economic resources and raise funds," it said. 

US praises India for its significant counter-terrorism actions

The US has praised India for its significant counter-terrorism actions and said Pakistan-based terror groups continued their terror attacks in the country.

In its annual 'Country Report on Terrorism', the State Department said the Indian leadership has expressed resolve to prevent terrorist attacks domestically and to bring to justice the perpetrators of terrorism, in cooperation with the US and other like-minded countries.

The parts of India seriously impacted by terrorism in 2017 included Jammu and Kashmir, the northeast Indian states, and parts of central India in which Maoists remain active, it said.

"India continued to experience attacks, including by Pakistan-based terrorist organisations as well as tribal and Maoist insurgents. Indian authorities blamed Pakistan for cross-border attacks in the state of Jammu and Kashmir," the report said.

India, the report said, continued to apply sustained pressure to detect, disrupt and degrade terror operations within its borders.

Over the course of 2017, India sought to deepen counter-terrorism cooperation and information sharing with the US, including through the first-ever Designations Dialogue held in Delhi in December, it said.

In the same year, India and the US pledged to strengthen cooperation against terrorist threats from groups, including Al-Qaida, ISIS, Jaish-e-Mohammad, Lashkar-e-Taiba and D-Company, it said.

During a June 2017 summit, President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi directed officials to establish a new mechanism for cooperation on terrorist designations.

The report further said the Indian government closely monitored the domestic threat from transnational terrorist groups like ISIS and Al-Qaida.

The State Department praised India for its significant counter terrorism actions.

Citing an example of a significant counter-terrorism law enforcement action by India, it said the police arrested Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) leader Mohammad Idris from a hideout in Kolkata on March 8.

Idris was allegedly involved in the July 2016 Holey Artisan Bakery attack in Bangladesh capital, Dhaka.

Lalit K Jha
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