US now focused on LeT as it ‘could pose a threat’

By Arun Kumar, IANS,

Washington : The United States has “focused” its attention on Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), the Pakistan-based terror outfit behind the Mumbai terror attacks, as it “could pose a threat” to the US and Europe, according to a senior US official.

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“In Pakistan, we remain focused on Lashkar-e-Taiba, the group behind the 2008 Mumbai attacks, which remains a threat to a variety of interests in South Asia,” Michael Leiter, Director of National Counter terrorism Centre told a House panel Tuesday.

“And although LeT has not yet conducted attacks in the West, it does have individuals who have been trained, who have been involved in attacks, and it could pose a threat to the homeland and Europe, in addition to destabilising South Asia more broadly,” he said.

LeT’s previous attacks in Kashmir and India have had a destabilising effect on the region, increasing tension and brinkmanship between New Delhi and Islamabad, he said deposing before the House Homeland Security Committee.

LeT, which has a well documented relationship with ISI, has been involved in some of the major terrorist attacks in India, including on the Indian Parliament and Akshardham Temple.

The United States, Leiter said, was “concerned that it (LeT) is increasing its operational role in attacks against coalition forces in Afghanistan.”

Thus in Pakistan, the US was now also focused on LeT besides Al Qaeda, Taliban, Tehrek-e-Taliban Pakistan, and the Haqqani network.

Al Qaeda remains “a very determined enemy in Pakistan” despite losses suffered from extensive and sustained counter terrorism operations over the last several years and accelerated over the last two years, Leiter said.

“Al Qaeda, we believe, in Pakistan is at one of its weakest points in the past decade, and it is continuously being forced to react to a reduced safe haven and personnel losses, but it remains a very determined enemy,” he said.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at [email protected])