"Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) is against improving relations between India and Pakistan, and its leaders consistently speak out against (India) and the US, accusing both countries of trying to destabilise Pakistan," Nicholas Rasmussen, deputy director, National Counterterrorism Center, Office of the Director of National Intelligence, told lawmakers yesterday.
LeT has attacked Western interests in South Asia in pursuit of its regional objectives, as demonstrated by the targeting of hotels frequented by Westerners during the Mumbai attacks in 2008, Rasmussen said in his testimony before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing on "Cybersecurity, Terrorism and Beyond: Addressing Evolving Threats to the Homeland."
LeT has attacked Western interests in South Asia
LeT leaders almost certainly recognise that an attack on the US would result in intense international backlash against Pakistan and endanger the group's safe haven there, he said.
"However, LeT also provides training to Pakistani and Western militants, some of whom could plot terrorist attacks in the West without direction from LeT leadership," he said.
In his remarks, Rasmussen said Pakistani and Afghan militant groups including Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the Haqqani Network and LeT continue to pose a direct threat to US interests and its allies in the region, where these groups probably will remain focused.
"We continue to watch for indicators that any of these groups, networks, or individuals are actively pursuing or have decided to incorporate operations outside of South Asia as a strategy to achieve their objectives," he said.