Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) is increasing its operational role, a top U.S. official has warned saying Washington is now “focused” on the militant outfit behind the 2008 Mumbai attacks.
The group, which has trained individuals involved in terror attacks, could pose a threat to the U.S. and Europe, Michael Leiter, Director of National Counter terrorism Centre, told the Congress in a deposition.
“In Pakistan, we remain focused on Lashkar-e-Taiba, the group behind the 2008 Mumbai attacks, which remains a threat to a variety of interests in South Asia,” he said.
Though LeT had so far not carried out attacks in the West, it could pose a threat to the U.S. and Europe, in addition to destabilising South Asia more broadly, he said.
In his testimony, he said LeT's previous attacks in Kashmir and India have had a destabilising effect on the region, increasing tension and brinkmanship between New Delhi and Islamabad.
Ties with ISI
LeT, which has a well documented relationship with ISI, has been involved in some of the major terrorist attacks in India, including the Mumbai terrorist attack, the attack on the Indian Parliament and Akshardham Temple.
“We are concerned that it is increasing its operational role in attacks against coalition forces in Afghanistan,” he said.
Besides LeT, the top U.S. official said the U.S. is also focused on other groups like Al-Qaeda, Taliban, Tehreek-e-Taliban and Haqqani network.
The U.S. official said Al-Qaeda and its allies in Pakistan still pose a threat despite degradation suffered from extensive and sustained counter terrorism operations over the past several years and accelerated over the past two years.
“Al-Qaeda, we believe, in Pakistan is at one of its weakest points in the past decade, and it is continuously being forced to react to a reduced safe haven and personnel losses, but it remains a very determined enemy,” he said. — PTI