US expert advocates destruction of Lashkar-e-Taiba

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Describing Pakistan based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) as the most dangerous terrorist group operating in South Asia after Al Qaeda, a US expert has advocated its destruction by the US with or without Pakistan’s help.

“Though India and Kashmir have been LeT’s primary area of operations so far, the group has an unsettling presence internationally,” Ashley J. Tellis, Senior Associate South Asia Programme at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a Washington think tank, wrote.

“Though India’s proximity to Pakistan has resulted in New Delhi absorbing most of the blows unleashed by LeT, the carnage in Mumbai demonstrates that the terrorism facing India is not simply a problem for New Delhi alone,” he wrote.

“An attack could even reach US soil,” warned Tellis, who specialises in international security, defence, and Asian strategic issues and was intimately involved in the negotiations associated with the US-India civil nuclear agreement.

“The only reasonable objective for the United States is the permanent evisceration of LeT and other vicious South Asian terrorist groups-with Pakistani cooperation if possible, but without it if necessary,” he wrote.

Though the international community first began taking notice of LeT after the Nov 2008, Mumbai terror attacks, Tellis noted the group was established in 1987 at a time when Pakistan was in the throes of Islamic ferment, Tellis noted.

“Then, LeT had access to a steady supply of volunteers, funding, and-most

important of all-concerted state support,” he said

“Long bolstered by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate, this Wahhabi group promotes the vision of a universal Islamic caliphate through tableegh and jihad-preaching and armed struggle,” Tellis wrote.

“It is clear that after Al Qaeda, LeT is the most dangerous terrorist group operating in South Asia” because of “its loyalty to Pakistan and willingness to protect its patron state against domestic opponents,” he said.

“LeT is a formidable and highly adaptable adversary with a genuinely global reach and the ability to grow roots and sustain operations in countries far removed from its primary theatre of activity in South Asia,” he warned.

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