US puts Pak-based LeT under watch

Lalit K Jha

Washington, Feb 10 (PTI) Pakistan-basedLashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) is increasing its operational role, atop US official has warned saying Washington is now "focused"on the militant outfit behind the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

The group, which has trained individuals involved interror attacks, could pose a threat to the US and Europe,Michael Leiter, Director of National Counter terrorism Centre,told the Congress in a deposition.

"In Pakistan, we remain focused on Lashkar-e-Taiba,the group behind the 2008 Mumbai attacks, which remains athreat to a variety of interests in South Asia," he said.

Though LeT had so far not carried out attacks in theWest, it could pose a threat to the US and Europe, in additionto destabilising South Asia more broadly, the official toldthe Congress.

In his testimony, he said LeT''s previous attacks inKashmir and India have had a destabilising effect on theregion, increasing tension and brinkmanship between New Delhiand Islamabad.

LeT, which has a well documented relationship withISI, has been involved in some of the major terrorist attacksin India, including the Mumbai terrorist attack, the attack onthe Indian Parliament and Akshardham Temple.

"We are concerned that it is increasing itsoperational role in attacks against coalition forces inAfghanistan," he said.

Besides LeT, the top US official said the US is alsofocused on other groups like al-Qaeda, Taliban,Tehreek-e-Taliban and Haqqani network.

The US official said al-Qaida and its allies inPakistan still pose a threat despite degradation suffered fromextensive and sustained counter terrorism operations over thepast several years and accelerated over the past two years.

"al-Qaida, we believe, in Pakistan is at one of itsweakest points in the past decade, and it is continuouslybeing forced to react to a reduced safe haven and personnellosses, but it remains a very determined enemy," he said. PTILKJ PMS AKD

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