Said one analyst: “The fact that they haven’t struck out against the West proves to me in itself that they are still being controlled by the ISI.” Not that the control of the ISI should make anyone sleep better at night. First, there is the plainly disturbing notion of a jihadist group essentially owned and operated by Pakistani intelligence. They have proven themselves dangerous even when supposedly “under control” — see also: Mumbai.
Even then, all it takes is one loose cannon putting the desire to wage jihad now over any semblance of a policy of strategic restraint at the ISI. More on this story. “Pakistani militant group a global terror threat,” by Kathy Gannon for the Associated Press, April 2 (thanks to JCB):
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Created by Pakistan to wage a proxy war against India, the Lashkar-e-Taiba terror group has moved its jihad onto the global stage and could match al-Qaida in strength and organization, according to officials, experts and group members.
Blamed for the 2008 Mumbai massacre, Lashkar-e-Taiba has developed its own distinct networks worldwide, found global funding sources and established links with groups that refused to hook up with al-Qaida, fearing Osama bin Laden’s group would hijack their causes, say analysts who have followed the organization.
According to interviews with analysts, intelligence officials and anti-terrorism investigators on three continents, the group also known as LeT could be poised to expand its reach beyond South Asia.
U.S. court documents and an internal Indian government dossier on the Mumbai massacre acquired by The Associated Press show that Lashkar-e-Taiba (pronounced LAHSH-kar eh TAY-eh-ba) operatives have turned up in Australia, Europe, East Asia and the United States.
They have plotted to blow up sites in Australia, recruited from existing terrorist groups in European capitals and have become the greatest source of inspiration for radicalized Muslims living in the West, say intelligence officials in the United Kingdom and France.
Juan Carlos Zarate, a top counterterrorism official in the administration of President George W. Bush, said his “fundamental concern is that LeT could not (only) serve as the flashpoint for a broader South Asia conflagration but could also evolve into an alternate international jihadi platform for global terrorism.”
Lashkar-e-Taiba, which means Army of the Pure, belongs to the Salafist movement, an ultra-conservative branch of Islam similar to the Wahabi sect, the main Islamic branch in Saudi Arabia from which al-Qaida partly emerged. The organizations operate separately but have been known to help each other when their paths intersect.
Former and current members interviewed by the AP denied the organization has ambitions beyond India and fighting to reunite the disputed territory of Kashmir.
If LeT does have aspirations of becoming a global terrorism force, whether it acts upon them may depend on whether it is willing to strain its relationship with Pakistan. Despite being officially banned, it operates with relative freedom there “” even doing charity work using government money.
Last month its leader, Hafiz Saeed, addressed a rally of thousands demanding the hanging of CIA contractor Raymond Davis, who had been arrested for killing two Pakistanis. Davis was released after blood money was paid to the family in accordance with Pakistani law.
Under Islamic law. Pakistan didn’t make that up.
Details of how several LeT members plotted mayhem and murder from nondescript locations in the United States and their hideouts in Pakistan were outlined in a 35-page plea agreement struck by David Coleman Headley, a Pakistani American who aided in the Mumbai assault.
In those meetings they gave detailed instructions on how to deliver, place and detonate explosives, according to the Illinois District U.S. court document obtained by the AP. They plotted the Mumbai attack that killed 166 people and discussed blowing up the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten to protest publication of offensive cartoons depicting Islam’s Prophet Muhammad, the document said…..
At least the report said “Islam’s Prophet Muhammad,” honorific capitalization notwithstanding. And apparently the AP finds or takes for granted that its readers will find the Motoons “offensive.”