Archive for the ‘Lashkar’ Category

India terror group, Lashkar-e-Taiba, the new Al Qaeda?

December 21, 2008

U. S. intelligence was caught off-guard by Lashkar-e-Taiba‘s “highly sophisticated” Mumbai terror strikes last month, which top spies now consider the debut of a new “brand name” to rival Al Qaeda.

The Islamist group was formed with Pakistani government help decades ago, but U.S. officials admit underestimating Lashkar’s shift from waging a minor conflict in the Kashmir region to threatening Westerners and Jews.

By James Gordon Meek
New York Daily News
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“There is real concern over the fact LeT has raised its profile,” a U.S. counterterror official told the Daily News. “A lot of people are watching closely now to see if they’re plotting new attacks.”

The group is as mainstream in Pakistan as its ally Hamas is in the Palestinian territories.

Before the mayhem that began Nov. 26, no Lashkar camps in Pakistan’s tribal areas had been targeted during an intense CIA offensive in the fall, a senior intelligence official confirmed.

The agency has used unmanned drones to fire missiles at Taliban and Al Qaeda operatives directing the insurgency in Afghanistan. Lashkar cross-trains with the two terror groups.

But U.S. counterterror efforts are now getting beefed up, sources said.

“Assume that the intelligence community has new targets it previously hoped would be only distractions, of which LeT is one,” a third U.S. official told The News.

Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Lashkar – which once focused on the India-Pakistan fight over Kashmir – hit a “new threshold” of terror by killing Americans, Brits and Jews.

Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm., ... 
Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, seen, during a press conference at a
U.S base in Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, Dec. 20, 2008.
(AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)

“They specifically targeted a Jewish center that was off the main drag,” Mullen recently told reporters. “It raises this outfit to a much higher level than where it was before.”

Brooklyn Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his wife, Rivkah, were slain there, leaving their baby, Moshe, an orphan.

Many also were surprised by what one internal U.S. government document called “hit and run” tactics that killed scores of Indians and six Americans.

Mullen said the 10 thugs “in a highly sophisticated manner [held] at bay an entire city.”

They had been trained by military pros in small arms and close combat for a year near Kashmir – though evidence isn’t a slam dunk that Pakistani spies aided them, sources said. The killers used satellite GPS units and phones and Google Earth to plan and execute the attacks.

Ex-CIA analyst Michael Scheuer declared it “a superb operation.”

Americans and Jews now face greater danger from Lashkar overseas, officials said.

“There are a lot of tourists in South Asia, and there’s really not a lot we can do,” Scheuer said.

“The question,” said another intelligence official, “is whether Mumbai is a ‘one-off’ or if such operations could be sustained.”

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/us_world/2008/12/21/2008-12-21_india_terror_group_lashkaretaiba_the_new.html

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Indian PM wants normalized relations with Pakistan

December 14, 2008

India’s prime minister said Sunday he wants “normalized” relations with Pakistan amid rising tensions between the South Asian rivals following the Mumbai attacks that left more than 160 people dead.

Addressing an election rally in Indian Kashmir — a focal point of much of the tension between India and Pakistan — Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said he hopes relations between the neighbors can be “normalized,” but this cannot happen until “our neighbor stops allowing its territory to be used for acts of terrorism against India.”

Singh traveled to Khundru town in Kashmir after a breakfast meeting with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown in New Delhi. The two leaders discussed the attacks on Mumbai, which have been blamed on a Pakistani-based Kashmiri militant group, Lashkar-e-Taiba.

India has called on Pakistan to crack down on militant groups operating out of Pakistan.

By AIJAZ HUSSAIN, Associated Press Writer

Pakistan has carried out raids on a charity believed to be linked to Lashkar, but also urged India to provide further evidence.

Manmohan Singh
Manmohan Singh

India finds itself in the awkward position of having to investigate terrorist attacks hand-in-hand with its longtime nemesis. The two countries have fought three wars against each other since independence. Despite a peace process that began in 2004, tensions remain high.

Thousands of soldiers used barbed wire and metal barricades to seal off all approach roads to Khundru ahead of Singh’s visit.

The prime minister addressed the rally ahead of the sixth of seven rounds of voting in state elections. The elections for Kashmir’s state legislature started Nov. 17 and end Dec. 24. Voters cast their ballots in the fifth phase on Saturday as scattered clashes between protesters and government forces left one person dead.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081214/ap_
on_re_as/as_kashmir_elections

Mumbai attacks put spotlight on Lashkar-e-Taiba

December 5, 2008
The evidence pointing to the Pakistan-based group’s hand in the rampage in India raises the question of whether Pakistan’s elite spy agencies continue to nurture militant groups.
By Laura King
The Los Angeles Times
December 5, 2008

Pakistanis

Khalid Tanveer / Associated Press
Pakistanis protest in Multan against India and the U.S., which have alleged that there is a Pakistani link to the Mumbai attacks.

Reporting from Islamabad, Pakistan — Lashkar-e-Taiba, the self-styled “Army of the Pure,” has left its footprints in the snows of Kashmir, the back alleys of Lahore and Karachi, the harsh terrain along the Pakistan-Afghanistan frontier — and now, investigators say, in Mumbai, India, the scene of last week’s horrific rampage by gunmen.

The growing case against the Pakistan-based militant organization speaks directly to a doubt that has plagued U.S.-Pakistani relations since the two countries became allies after the Sept. 11 attacks: whether present or former officials in Pakistan’s powerful security establishment continue to nurture radical Islamic groups.

Read the rest:
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/
world/la-fg-lashkar5-2008dec05,0,1044129.story