Are U.S. government and law enforcement authorities sleeping as well? More on this story. “COMMENTARY-Lashkar-e-Toiba: Global Outreach,” by Shrideep Biswas for South Asia Intelligence Review/India Blooms News Service, May 30:
Lashkar-e-Toiba ranks right up there in the al-Qaida and related groups as terrorist organizations…(Janet Napolitano, US Secretary of Homeland Security, May 27, 2011)
The statement of the US Secretary of Homeland Security, acknowledging the scale of the threat from Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), comes in the wake of cumulative and overwhelming evidence that this terrorist formation has long outgrown its initial focus on Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) to emerge as a global terrorist threat, matching al Qaida in aspiration, resources and reach.
Napolitano’s comment was, however, far from the first acknowledgement of the LeT threat by the United States (US). Recently, on April 13, 2011, Admiral Robert Willard, Chief of the US military's Pacific Command Forces, told the Senate Armed Services Committee: “Unquestionably they [LeT] have spread their influence internationally and are no longer solely focused in South Asia and on India.” He added, further, that the US had evidence of LeT”s presence in Europe and the broader Asia-Pacific region. Willard’s words were almost echoed by former British foreign secretary David Miliband on April 29, 2011, when he cautioned, “If it's true that the LeT is developing global ambitions for its terrorism and its own capacity to do so, as well as regional ones (sic), we have to be even more insistent on the need to roll up that infrastructure.”
On March 12, 2010, US lawmakers had urged President Barack Obama to push Pakistan to crack down harder on the LeT. The House of Representatives Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia held a hearing to discuss LeT terrorism, during which Chairman Gary Ackerman accused the Pakistani military of supporting the banned outfit. […]
Indian authorities have long warned the world of the augmenting international threat of state-backed terrorist formations in Pakistan, prominently including the LeT. India’s then National Security Adviser M. K. Narayanan, for instance, warned, on August 11, 2006, “The Lashkar (LeT) today has emerged as a very major force. It has connectivity with west Asia, Europe… Actually there was a LeT module broken (sic) in Virginia and some people were picked up. It is as big as and omnipotent as al Qaeda in every sense of the term.” Again, on April 21, 2010, he reiterated, “The LeT has networks in 21 countries, including Australia, North America, Europe and Asia."
The South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP) database has long documented LeT”s global footprint to note:
LeT has an extensive network that run across Pakistan and India with established branches in Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom, Bangladesh and South East Asia.
LeT has a network of sleeper cells in the US and Australia, has trained terrorists from other countries, and has entered new theatres of 'jihad', such as Iraq.
LeT maintains ties with various religious/military groups around the world, ranging from the Philippines to the Middle East and Chechnya, primarily through the al Qaeda fraternal network.
LeT is part of the 'al Qaeda compact' and is a member of the "International Islamic Front for the struggle against the Jews and the Crusaders" established by Osama bin Laden on February 23, 1998.
LeT was part of the Bosnian campaign against the Serbs.
LeT has links with several international Islamist terrorist groups, including the Ikhwan-ul-Musalmeen [Muslim Brotherhood] of Egypt and other Arab groups….