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Why US fears a LeT terror strike on India

Last updated on: February 17, 2011 15:17 IST

Why US fears a LeT terror strike on India

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Any fresh terrorist strike in India by Pakistan-based terror outfit Lashkar-e-Tayiba would hurt the United States' national security interest and its counter-terrorism interests in the region, a top Obama administration intelligence official has told lawmakers.

Testifying before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Michael Leiter, director of the National Counter-terrorism Centre, said Lashkar has enough capabilities to launch a Mumbai-type terrorist strike in Europe and other parts of the world.


Image: The Taj Mahal Hotel burns during the 26/11 attacks
Photographs: Arko Dutta/Reuters
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'They can be a very destabilising factor'

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"What we have not yet seen is a history of them doing so. We are certainly concerned by some indicators we see of them expanding their horizons beyond the region. Certainly they have the capacity -- it's a large organisation," he said.

"What they did in India could theoretically be launched elsewhere. But we have not yet seen those steps occur. I think the additional point that I would stress is they can still be a very destabilising factor in the region," he said.


Image: Remembering the victims of 26/11 terror strikes
Photographs: Reuters
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'A further attack by LeT in India would hurt'

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"So even without striking in the US or Europe, a further attack by Lashkar-e-Tayiba in India would very much hurt our national security and our counterterrorism interests in Pakistan," Leiter said in response to a question from US lawmakers.

With respect to the terror situation in Pakistan, he said the US still sees Al Qaeda in Pakistan at its weakest point since the 9/11 attacks.


Image: A file photgraph of a car blast in Stockholm in December, 2010
Photographs: Reuters
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'We have really hurt Al Qaeda's core'

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"But it is critical that we have really hurt Al Qaeda's core in a very meaningful way. That being said, there are certainly weaknesses in that cooperation at times, and in particular I think the ongoing dispute that you note about the Mumbai attackers feeds into the tension between the two nations and can also undermine some of our counterterrorism efforts, not just at Al Qaeda but also Lashkar-e-Tayiba," Leiter said.

Image: Arms and ammunition seized from LeT militants displayed at Kupwara in Kashmir
Photographs: Danish Ismail/Reuters
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