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'LeT strike in India can destabilise S Asia, threaten US'

Last updated on: May 25, 2011 15:02 IST

'LeT strike in India can destabilise S Asia, threaten US'

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Another major terror attack in India by the Lashkar-e-Tayiba has the potential to destabilise the region, a powerful American lawmaker has said, adding that this Pakistan-based terrorist outfit has increased its threat potential to the United States too.

"This group (LeT), responsible for the vicious Mumbai attacks of 2008, is capable of not only destabilising the region with another attack against India, but through its extensive alumni organisation and network of training camps throughout Pakistan, it could threaten the United States homeland," said Senator John Kerry, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Lashkar-e-Tayiba and Jaish-e-Muhammad continue to launch attacks that may spark a war between nuclear-armed India and Pakistan, he said.


Image: US Senator John Kerry
Photographs: Faisal Mahmood/Reuters
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'Pakistani Taliban has been ravaging the state'

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Testifying before the committee, Christina Fair, an eminent expert of the region, said that Pakistan has raised and nurtured a number of militant groups, Lashkar-e-Tayiba being just one, to operate in India and in Afghanistan.

"These are distinct from the Pakistani Taliban, which has been ravaging the state, although part of the Pakistan Taliban does draw personnel from rebel erstwhile proxies," she said.

"Lashkar-e-Tayiba draws most of its recruits from Deobandis and other sectarian groups. This allows them to indoctrinate them into this worldview, and since it deploys relatively few people to Kashmir, this is an important part of its domestic outreach mission," Fair said.


Image: The landing site that David Headley located for the LeT terrorists in Mumbai
Photographs: Reuters
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'We need to confront Pakistan's support for terror'

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Referring to the ongoing Rana trial in Chicago, Senator Ben Cardin said David Headley, a Pakistan-American terrorist, testified that the ISI and the LeT coordinated with each other, and the ISI provided Lashkar financial, military and moral support.

"Now I don't know how the United States can just ignore this. It seems to me that we need to be able to confront Pakistan's support for terrorist organisations.  And US taxpayers are providing support to Pakistan today," he said.


Image: Supporters of Jamaat-ud-Dawa set fire to Israeli and US flags during a protest rally in Lahore
Photographs: Reuters
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'Pakistan never turned its back on Laskhar-e-Tayiba'

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"That's an issue that will come to the attention of the United States Congress. So it's going to hit a crisis point if we cannot get Pakistan to support the war against terror, including terror organisations within their own state," Fair said.

Fair also observed that that the United States dismissed Lashkar-e-Tayiba for years as it posed a threat only for India.

"Pakistan never turned its back on Laskhar-e-Tayiba. Pakistan did a U-turn on its U- turn with the Taliban very early in the conflict, and there were no consequences because we had other preoccupations that did not allow us to have the fortitude that we should have had to be more forthright with Pakistan," she said.


Image: A soldier takes pictures of seized ammunition from Kashmiri militants, supplied by the LeT
Photographs: Mukesh Gupta/Reuters
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