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Watch out! Lashkar threat growing: Experts

Last updated on: May 4, 2011 13:51 IST

Watch out! Lashkar threat growing: Experts

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Pakistan based terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba is spreading fast by taking in former Pakistani soldiers as recruits and may make a bid to replace Al Qaeda, post killing of its leader Osama bin Laden, US experts have warned, but said these plans are unlikely "to succeed".

Coverage: US hunts down Osama bin Laden

Making a testimony before US Congress sub-committee, US security experts told the lawmakers that the LeT was trying to expand its focus by joining the fight against US forces in Afghanistan, launching terror attacks against India, participating in the global jihad and non-violent activism in Pakistan.

Stephen Tankel, from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace told lawmakers that LeT had not been able to shake off its regional dynamics, but may plot a larger international terror role after bin Laden's death.

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Image: Lashkar founder Hafeez Saeed

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Observing that the group had not given up its "obsession" with Kashmir, Tankel said the Kashmir conflict remains torpid and it may be difficult for LeT to regenerate insurgency there.

Pointing out that Let will not disappear from Kashmir scene, US security experts said "but a return to its glory days on that front is unlikely".

The experts told the lawmakers that despite repeated calls by US on Pakistan to take action against the group responsible for the Mumbai massacre, "LeT's position remains relatively secure in Pakistan".

Tankel attributed this to the reason that Pakistan was facing a serious insurgency and LeT remains one of the few militant outfit whose policy is to refrain from launching attacks against the state.

Tankel said the US needs to continue to signal to the Pakistan army and ISI the severe repercussions that would result were LeT or elements within it to be involved in an attack on the homeland or American interests abroad.



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The US must also continue to signal the need for Pakistan to restrain LeT from launching another major terrorist attack against India.

Moreover, the US should continue to press Pakistan to provide intelligence regarding LeT's international networks, to interdict Westerners attempting to access the organisation's above-ground infrastructure and to begin taking steps to dismantle outfits' training apparatus.

Meanwhile, terming as a "matter of concern" the fact that Osama bin Laden was found outside Islamabad, the US on Wednesday said it would like to go to the bottom of this issue and also ensure that the aid given to Pakistan is used to target Lashker along with Al Qaeda.



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Timothy J Roemer, former US Ambassador to India, said the American Congress would take a "very hard look" and ask "tough" questions as to how terror mastermind and Al Qaeda leader bin Laden was living in Abottabad, north of Islamabad.

"One will be as we share or sell certain military equipment to Pakistan. Is that being used in the proper way to take on counter terrorism efforts. We have seen over the past 18 months, Pakistan has stepped up those efforts to target Al Qaeda leadership and degrade that leadership. That is a positive outcome," he said.

However, he said, "Are they doing enough on LeT? Are they doing enough on Mumbai trials? Are they doing enough on Hafiz Saeed and (Zaki-ur-Rehman) Lakhvi? No, they need to do more."





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