This is a teaser post for a larger one I am working on about this group.
Wajahidu Fee Sabilallah: Wage a holy war in the name of God Almighty. This is Hafiz Saeed favorite verse from the Koran (Mir, 2008).
Laskar –e-Taiba, Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, Party of the Pure (LeT) is a Sunni Muslim group that is waging jihad in central Asia. This group is fighting against India for Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) and also to return to Muslim rule all parts of India that once fell under Islamic rule (SATP Staff, 2010). LeT, members have been encountered globally Iraq, Chechnya, Afghanistan, U.S., and other parts of central Asia. The LeT was added to the list of foreign terrorist organizations (FTO) on December, 26 2001 and has also been banned in Great Britain, is on the U.N. Terrorist lists, and has been banned in Pakistan. LeT is an ally of al-Qaeda, the Taliban and is part of the global jihadist network. The LeT has proved itself as a ruthless and prolific attacker of not only Indian by international targets. During the 2008 Mumbai, Indian attacks the terrorists killed 28 non Indian civilians.
Headquarters and Leadership:
The leadership of the LeT and their main headquarters are well known both to the public and intelligence services world wide. The LeT and its parent organization Jumat-ud-Dawa are led by Hafiz Mohammad Saeed. The JUD was founded in 1990 and acts as a humanitarian organization offering social services and religious instruction in Wahabi (Saudi Arabian) Sunni Islam (SATP Staff, 2010). This is the same type of umbrella organization that groups like Hezbollah and Hamas use to ensure a base of recruits and support for their militant arms. The groups current headquarter is near Lahore, Pakistan.
The current leaders of the LeT and JUD is the, afore mentioned Hafiz Mohammad Saeed who acts as the Emir for both groups. Saeed is an Islamic scholar who preaches that war against the unbelievers is the ultimate duty of all Muslims. Zakir-ur- Rehman Lakhvi who serves as the groups chief or military operations, Haji Muhammed Ashraf LeT’s chief of finance, and Mahmoud Mohammad Ahmed Bahaziq who is a LeT financer and is credited with being the main financier behind the establishment of the LeT and its activities in the 1980s and 90. Bahaziq is a Saudi national and conducts his activities from there. All of these men have been designated on the U.S. Department of Treasury’s designated terrorist list and have had any assets in the U.S. or it jurisdiction frozen (Treasury Targets LET Leadership, 2008).
Pakistan’s Inter-Services-Intelligence agency (ISI) is a known supporter of the LeT during its creation and even after the banning of the group by Pakistan. The jihad waged and supported by the ISI serves a strategic purpose in tying down Indian military and security assets that could be facing Pakistan across the line of control that separates the two countries. The ISI also helped create and is still supporting the Taliban now fighting U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan. Pakistani control or influence in Afghanistan gives Pakistan the strategic depth it thinks it needs against India (Coll, 2004). After the 2008 Mumbai, India attack Pakistan arrested LeT’s leader Hafiz Saeed but he was released in June of 2009. This shows further that Pakistan has no intention of trying to stop LeT or JUD activities. Funding for the group comes from a variety of sources donations from Pakistani, and Muslim Kashmiries, the Persian Gulf, and it is reported from the ISI as well (SATP Staff, 2010).
This is just a partial list of the attacks carried that the LeT has claimed or has been accused of.
August, 2000 Rajwas, India armed militants (terrorists) killed 30 persons at a community kitchen.
January, 2001 Srinagar Airport, India terrorist killed five civilians another attack killed eight security officers
December, 2001 New Delhi the attacks kill 12, India blames Let and Jaish-e-Mohammed
May, 2002 and Indian army bases is bombed killed 36.
August, 2003 Mumbai, India two bombings killing 40 (Global Security Staff, 2008)
August, 2008 the LeT is suspected in the suicide bombing of the Indian embassy in Kabul Afghanistan. The Afghan, Indian, and U.S. Governments also blame the Pakistani government in having a hand in the attack based on intercepted communication between the ISI and the attackers (Mazzetti & Schmitt, 2008). The attack killed 54 people.
November, 2008 Mumbai, India the Indian Government blames the LeT for the well coordinated attacks against a train station, hotels, security officers, and a Jewish center that resulted in over 160 deaths. Pictures of the attackers show welled armed terrorists carrying out coordinated attacks throughout the city. It has been learned that the terrorists were giving nearly real time intelligence from their handlers in Pakistan via cell phone. Hamid Gul the former head of the ISI is suspected as being one of the handlers of the Mumbai attackers (Roggio, 2009). While not a direct link the former head of Pakistan’s main intelligence agency participating in terrorist attacks would at least indicate tacit support from the Pakistani State.
While this review of the LeT is not about Pakistan’s role in terrorism it should be noted that when groups like the LeT or the Taliban are mentioned the ISI is not far behind. Also Pakistan’s refusal to take substantial action against the LeT or JuD following the evidence obtained after and during the 2008 Mumbai attacks would indicate further State of support or at least acceptance of such attacks made against Pakistan’s main enemy, India.
In this interview with the Emir of the LeT Hafiz Saeed makes his world view and what he thinks the obligations of all Muslims is to fight jihad (jehad) in the name of Allah. However throughout the interview Saeed denies any allegation to ties of terrorism and tries to refute any Pakistani involvement in the Mumbai attacks. Meanwhile he and his organization preach the jihad in the name of Allah is a Muslim’s sacred duty.
Mohammed Ajmal Amir Qasab the only Mumbai attacker that was captured is sentenced to death in an Indian court. This article also points out that only after a great deal of evidence was accumulated did Pakistan acknowledge that Qasab was a Pakistani citizen that the attacks were in part planned in Pakistan.
This is the dossier of evidence showing LeT’s involvement in the Mumbai attacks.
Coll, S. (2004). Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001 . New York: Penguin Books.
Global Security Staff. (2008). Lashkar-e-Tayyiba / Lashkar-e-Toiba / Lashkar-i-taiba (LeT). Retrieved May 19, 2010, from Global Security.org: http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/para/lt.htm
Mazzetti, M., & Schmitt, E. (2008, August 1st). Pakistanis Aided Attack in Kabul, U.S. Officials Say . Retrieved May 19, 2010, from The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/01/world/asia/01pstan.html?_r=1
Mir, A. (2008, December 6). Interview with Prof Hafiz Mohammad Saeed. Retrieved May 19, 2010, from Middle East Transparen: http://www.middleeasttransparent.com/spip.php?article4957&lang=en&id_forum=11759
Roggio, B. (2009, January 7). Mumbai Attackers Cheer After Ordering Murders Over the Phon. Retrieved May 19, 2010, from The Long War Journal: http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2009/01/mumbai_handlers_in_p.php
SATP Staff. (2010, May). Laskar-e-Toiba: Army of the Pure. Retrieved May 19, 2010, from South Asian Terrorism Portal: http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries/india/states/jandk/terrorist_outfits/lashkar_e_toiba.htm
Treasury Targets LET Leadership. (2008, May 27). Retrieved May 19, 2010, from US Department of Treasury: http://www.ustreas.gov/press/releases/hp996.htm