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LeT-ISI nexus setting up terror camps in Afghanistan, says NYT

June 16, 2010 10:34 IST

In what clearly showcases Pakistan's wicked face, several Afghan and international intelligence officials and diplomats stationed in Kabul have confirmed that the Lashkar-e-Tayiba, with the help of Pakistan's spy agency Inter Services Intelligence, has expanded its anti-India operations into Afghanistan and set up training camps, adding new volatility to the relationship between New Delhi and Islamabad.

The LeT is believed to have planned or executed three major attacks against Indian government employees and private workers in Afghanistan in recent months, officials said. Pakistan maintains that it no longer supports or assists the LeT, responsible for the ghastly November 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, but its expanded activities in Afghanistan, particularly against Indian targets, prompt suspicions that it has become one of Pakistan's proxies to counteract India's influence in the war ravaged country, The New York Times reports. "Our concern is that there are still players involved that are trying to use Afghanistan's ground as a place for a proxy war," said Shaida Abdali, Afghanistan's deputy national security adviser. "It is being carried out by certain state actors to fight their opponents," Abdali added.

Experts are of the view that now the LeT presents

more of a threat in Afghanistan than even the Al Qaeda does. There were a few Lashkar cells in Afghanistan three or four years ago, but they were not focused on Indian targets and, until recently, their presence seemed to be diminishing, the paper said. Pakistani analysts, in a recent testimony to the US Congress, described the LeT as a terror group 'having ambitions well beyond India.' "They are active now in six or eight provinces. They are currently most interested in Indian targets here, but they can readily trade attacks on international targets for money or influence or an alliance with other groups," a senior NATO intelligence official, who spoke on conditions of anonymity said.

Afghan Interior Minister Hanif Atmar, who recently resigned following an altercation with President Hamid Karzai, also confirmed that the attackers, who targeted Indians during the deadly car bombing and suicide attack on two guesthouses in the heart of Kabul in February this year were "not Afghans."

"They were not Afghans," Atmar said. "What we know for sure is that it was planned, financed, organized, and that people trained for it, outside Afghanistan," he added. "Over the past six months more than four attacks in Kabul had suicide bombers with telephones that we recovered with active numbers that were from Pakistan," Atmar said.

Source: ANI