Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), an “extremely capable” terror group with a sophisticated regional network, continues to plan its operations from within Pakistan, a U.S. government report has said, warning that militant safe havens inside that country pose greatest threat to American national security.

“Despite international condemnation for its November 2008 attacks in Mumbai, LeT continues to plan regional operations from within Pakistan. LeT is an extremely capable terrorist organisation with a sophisticated regional network,” the Government Accountability Office (GAO) said in its 51-page report yesterday.

“It (LeT) continues to view American interests as legitimate targets. While the Government of Pakistan has banned LeT, it needs to take further action against this group and its front organisations, which find safe haven within Pakistan,” it said.

Despite increased efforts by Pakistani security forces, al-Qaeda terrorists, Afghan militants, foreign insurgents and Pakistani militants continue to find safe haven in portions of Pakistan’s Federally administered Tribal Areas (FATA), NWFP or Khyber—Pakhtoonkhwa province and Balochistan, it said.

In the report titled ‘Combating Terrorism: U.S. Government Should Improve Its Reporting on Terrorist Safe Havens’, the GAO said al-Qaeda and other groups such as the Haqqani network used the FATA to launch attacks in Afghanistan, plan operations worldwide, train, recruit and disseminate propaganda.

The Pakistani Taliban — under the umbrella moniker Tehrik-e-Taliban or TTP — also used the FATA to plan attacks against the civilian and military targets across Pakistan, it said.

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