More on an industrial giant in what has become Pakistan’s #1 export: jihad. “Lashkar-e-Taiba Served as Gateway for Western Converts Turning to Jihad,” by Susan Schmidt and Siobhan Gorman for the Wall Street Journal, December 4:
Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Pakistani group suspected in the Mumbai attacks, has a history of documented links to al Qaeda and has trained many of the militants who have landed in U.S. and British jails since 9/11.
The group is of particular concern to intelligence officials and terrorism experts because it has become a major gateway to jihad for some disaffected people in the West, including converts to Islam.
Lashkar has been enmeshed in Pakistan’s long struggle with India over the disputed territory of Kashmir, but it has also been a training hub for militant Islamic fighters who joined conflicts in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Kosovo and Chechnya. The group has received funding from donors in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, including from an al Qaeda financier, according to U.S. government testimony and Central Intelligence Agency records.
Westerners who have passed through Lashkar-e-Taiba’s training camps include Australian al Qaeda operative David Hicks, convicted “shoe bomber” Richard Reid and Dhiren Barot, the mastermind of a failed gas-cylinder bombing plot in London who prepared detailed blueprints for al Qaeda of buildings in New York’s financial district, according to information that emerged in legal proceedings. Mr. Barot, a British subject and a Hindu who converted to Islam, trained with Lashkar, then became an instructor at a mujahideen camp in Afghanistan and joined al Qaeda.
High-ranking al Qaeda operative Abu Zubayda was captured in late 2002 in a Lashkar safe house in Faisalabad, Pakistan. Al Qaeda recruits from Lashkar were among those killed when the U.S. carried out missile strikes against training camps in Afghanistan in the wake of the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. […]