Concerned that Pakistan based Lashkar-e-Taiba is expanding horizons, a top U.S. security official has said the terror group has acquired capabilities to launch a Mumbai-type terrorist strike in Europe and other parts of the world. He was testifying before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
Any fresh strike by the group in India or anywhere else would hurt U.S. national security interest and its counter-terrorism interests in the region, Michael Leiter, Director of the National Counter-terrorism Center told lawmakers.
“What we have not yet seen is a history of them doing so. We are certainly concerned by some indicators we see of them expanding their horizons beyond the region.
Certainly they have the capacity -- it’s a large organisation,” he said.
The U.S. intelligence chief's comments came as a powerful lawmaker took the Pak’s ISI to task for not handing over to India, those responsible for the Mumbai terrorist attacks.
India has identified LeT operations commander Zakiur Rahman Lakhvi along with others as the plotters of the Mumbai terror attacks in which 166 people were gunned down.
In his deposition Mr. Leiter said, “What they did in India could theoretically be launched elsewhere. But we have not yet seen those steps occur. I think the additional point that I would stress is they can still be a very destabilising factor in the region.”
“So even without striking in the U.S. or Europe, a further attack by Lashkar-e-Taiba in India would very much hurt our national security and our counterterrorism interests in Pakistan,” Mr. Leiter said in response to a question from U.S. lawmakers.