Expressing great concern over continued threat posed by Lashkar-e-Taiba to stability in South Asia, the United States has asked Pakistan to take more action against the terrorist group responsible for the November 2008 Mumbai attacks.
“We’ve urged Pakistan to take more action against Lashkar-e-Taiba,” Daniel Benjamin, Coordinator for Counterterrorism told reporters Tuesday in a special briefing on the State Department’s annual terrorism report.
“We’d certainly like to see more progress on that trial regarding the atrocities in Mumbai,” he said noting that LeT “remains a major concern on the terrorist landscape, without a doubt.”
Benjamin said he had not seen any decrease in LeT strength and “the threat to stability in South Asia that it poses.”
The State Department report itself also warned that “terrorist opponents of better Indian-Pakistan relations, such as the LeT, have long planned to derail any progress by launching new attacks.”
Sporadic violence in Kashmir and attempted infiltrations from Pakistani territory across the Line of Control also remained serious concerns for the Indian government, it said.
The report also noted that India has increased its counterterrorism capacity building efforts and cooperation with the international community, including the US.
While the number of deaths attributable to terrorist violence was lower than in 2010, the loss of over 1,000 lives “still made India one of the world’s most terrorism-afflicted countries and one of the most persistently targeted countries by transnational terrorist groups such as LeT.”
Terrorist strikes during 2011 in Mumbai and Delhi, as well as Maoist/Naxalite violence in other parts of the country, further underscored the fact that India is a target for terrorist attacks, the report said.
The overview of terrorism and terrorist groups around the world found that Osama bin Laden’s death last year in a US raid on his hideout in Abbotabad, Pakistan, coupled with the killing of top Al Qaeda operatives in Pakistan, “puts the network on a path of decline that will be difficult to reverse.”
The report says the June death of Iyas Kashmiri and the August killing of Atiya Abdul Rahman, Al Qaeda’s second-in-command after bin Laden’s death, are among the top blows dealt to the organization in Pakistan.
But it warns that “despite blows in western Pakistan, Al Qaeda, its affiliates, and its adherents remain adaptable.”