Pakistani militant group ‘more dangerous than al-Qaeda’: ex-CIA official

Bruce RiedelBy JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
A former senior official of the United States Central Intelligence Agency has argued that al-Qaeda is no longer the most powerful group in the global Islamist insurgency. Writing in The Daily Beast earlier this month, Bruce Riedel, who served in the CIA for nearly 30 years prior to his retirement in 2006, warned that Lashkar e-Taiba is now “the most dangerous terror group in the world”. In his editorial, the former CIA analyst, who is now a professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, said that LeT operates freely inside Pakistan and continues to have strong operational connections with the Pakistani armed forces and the country’s intelligence establishment. Since its founding in 1990, LeT’s traditional political aspiration has been to end Indian rule over the predominantly Muslim state of Jammu and Kashmir, and then integrate the latter with Pakistan. But the group’s aims appeared to expand significantly in November of 2008, when it sent ten heavily armed operatives to Mumbai on speedboats. Once they landed in India’s most populous city, the LeT operatives proceeded to strike nearly a dozen tourist-related targets in well-calculated suicide missions. By the end of the four-day terrorist spree, 166 people —including six Americans and many other Western tourists— had been killed. Riedel views the 2008 Mumbai strike as “the most significant and innovative terrorist attack since 9/11”, and says that it marked LeT’s maturation “from a Punjabi-based Pakistani terror group targeting India exclusively” to an outfit with a global outlook, “targeting the enemies of al Qaeda: the Crusader West, Zionist Israel, and Hindu India”. Today, nearly four years after the Mumbai attacks, LeT maintains a global presence, with active cells throughout the Middle East and Asia, and funding operations in North America, Australia and Europe, claims Riedel. Additionally, LeT does not appear to feel threatened by Washington. The former CIA analyst mentions the example of Hafeez Saeed, LeT’s current leader and one of its three historic co-founders. Saeed is currently wanted by the US Department of State in return for a US$ 10 million reward. But, says Riedel, Saeed appears regularly on Pakistani national television and routinely addresses street rallies “organized with the help of the [Inter-Services Intelligence]”, Pakistan’s powerful intelligence agency. A yearlong investigation published last year by the ProPublica think tank concluded that US government agencies failed to heed “repeated warnings over seven years”, which might have helped prevent the Mumbai attacks.

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3 Responses to Pakistani militant group ‘more dangerous than al-Qaeda’: ex-CIA official

  1. atma says:

    this may be dumb but, thanks to the anonymity of the internet, i get to say it. isnt the israel/palestine situation a lot like the kashmir/india/pak situation? both are land claimed by 2 people, and 1 of the 2 has assumed control and is trying to hold it while the other fights back. its not very surprising that the LeT guy isnt seen as a terrorist in pak just as a mossad guy who plans attacks in iran isnt seen as a terrorist in israel. its not the same, but i think it has similarities.

  2. Habnix says:

    Die US-Regierung gefährlicher als al-Qaeda?

  3. mohammad ibrahim says:

    i can say that the written paragragh in very much right, and is on the bases of experience .but to you people am saying why pakistani involves in this fight, most of the persons will say due to islamic country. am strictly denies from this it has some facter others ..may i say it to you plz…….

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