Sunday, December 6, 2009

Al-Qaida Helping LeT In Launching Attacks In India

Via (RTTNews) -

Defense Secretary Robert Gates says Pakistan-based Islamic terrorist outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), held respnsible by India for last November's attacks on Mumbai, is "no more local" but has links with Al-Qaida.

Testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he said Al-Qaida was supporting the LeT and was helping and providing assistance to the latter in launching terrorist attacks in India for provoking a war between India and Pakistan.

"Al-Qaida is supportive of Lashkar-e-Taiba.... Al-Qaida is providing them (LeT) with targeting information and helping them in their plotting in India, clearly with the idea of provoking a conflict between India and Pakistan that would de-stabilize Pakistan," said the Defense Secretary.

Al-Qaida is "taking advantage of the situation in the region to play a very de-stabilizing and dangerous role," he said.

These observations of Gates came even as Tahawwur Hussain Rana, a Canadian citizen of Pakistan origin and his co-accused, Pakistani-American David Headley alias Daood Gilani, arrested in Chicago, are believed to be having links with the LeT.

These allegations, if true, are significant for what they tell about the LeT's growing international reach, and its current strength. The group that once confined its terrorist aspirations to South Asia appears to be branching out to Europe and even North America.

An anti-terrorism court in Pakistan last month charged seven LeT operatives, including Zaki ur-Rehman Lakhvi, a Lashkar commander, with involvement in the attacks. The group's founder Hafiz Mohammed Saeed, who has considerable influence with the Pakistan army and the intellingecy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), was put under house arrest for some months before being released on the orders of a court.

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