Lashkar-e-Tayyiba / Lashkar-e-Toiba / Lashkar-i-taiba (LeT)
Army of Righteous / Army of the Pure
Army Of The Pure And Righteous
Al Mansooreen / Al Mansoorian
Jamaat-ud-Dawa / Idara Khidmat-e-Khalq (IKK)
Milli Muslim League
On 26 November 2008 about 10 to 15 heavily armed gunmen attacked different targets across India's business hub, killing and wounding hundreds of people. Nearly 200 people were killed in the attacks, including at least 18 foreigners. Officials expected the death toll to rise. On 29 November 2008 Indian officials brought a terrorist attack on the city of Mumbai to an end, killing the last militants inside a luxury hotel that was the final battleground of a terrorist siege. Shortly after the assault began, Indian media reports said a previously unknown group, called Deccan Mujahideen, had claimed responsibility. It is not clear if that claim is credible. India's foreign minister said there was evidence the attackers have links to Pakistan.
Pakistani police arrested Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, the founder of the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) armed group and head of its Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) humanitarian wing, intercepting him 17 July 2019 on his way to court in the central city of Gujranwala, Saeed was arrested by a group of counterterrorism department police at the Kamoke toll plaza, about 50km north of Pakistan's second city Lahore. The cases against him are all related to fundraising. He is charged with terrorism financing. Saeed has been arrested by authorities in Pakistan several times, but has routinely been freed by courts on appeal after authorities were unable to present compelling evidence to continue to hold him. On 15 July 2019, he had been granted pre-arrest bail by an anti-terrorism court in Lahore, where he had also been facing terrorism financing charges.
Lashkar-e-Tayyiba is the armed wing of the Pakistan-based religious organization, Markaz-ud-Dawa-wal-Irshad (MDI) - a Sunni anti-US missionary organization formed in the 1980s to oppose the Soviets in Afghanistan. LET arose in the early 1990s as the armed wing of the Markaz-ud Dawa-wal-Irshad. The LT is led by Abdul Wahid Kashmiri and is one of the three largest and best-trained groups fighting in Kashmir against India; it is not connected to a political party. Elements of LT and Jaish-e-Mohammed combined with other groups to mount attacks as "The Save Kashmir Movement."
The Lashkar-e-Taiba group is thought to contain numerous non Kashmiris - possibly members of the Taleban movement of Afghanistan - which are thought to be unwilling to be seen to make any concessions at all to India. The Muslim militant groups based in Pakistan threatened to kill Americans to avenge comrades killed in the August 1998 American cruise missile attacks on of Osama bin Laden's terrorist training camps in Afghanistan. Pakistani militants killed in the US attacks were members of Lakshar-e-Taiba and Hizb-ul-Mujahideen. A total of eight of their members died. In November 1998 Lakshar organized a religious gathering of 50,000 youths near Lahore, at which participants chanted slogans in support of bin Laden and vowed to avenge the US attack on his camps. Pakistani officials estimated the three-day gathering cost organizers about $1 million. It is unclear whether any of the funding came from bin Laden. The gathering was one expression of what the State Department has acknowledged to be "considerable public sympathy and overt support" for bin Laden in Pakistan. According to Indian officials, the Laskhar-e-Toiba and Shora-e-Jehad coordinate their operations with both the Babbar Khalsa International and the International Sikh Youth Federation [ISYF].
On 03 November 1999 Lakshar-e-Toiba launched a "suicide squad" assault on the center of Indian rule in Kashmir, attacking the army's 15th Corps Command, which oversees all military operations in Kashmir. At least seven Indian soldiers and two militants were killed in the attack, the first ever by Muslim militants on army headquarters. By all accounts the dramatic assault on army headquarters caught the garrison by surprise. It took garrison forces several hours to secure the area and several headquarters buildings were reported heavily damaged in the fighting. The attack was the latest in a series of assaults that Muslim militants carried out over the previous several months against Indian security installations in Kashmir.
The United States announced December 26, 2001 the addition of the LT to the US Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Asset Control's (OFAC) list-which includes organizations that are believed to support terrorist groups and have assets in US jurisdiction that can be frozen or controlled. LET was designated pursuant to U.S. Executive Order 13224 on December 20, 2001, and under UN Security Council Resolution 1267 on May 2, 2005. Secretary of State Colin Powell renewed the designation of Jaish e-Mohammed and Lashkar e-Tayyiba as Foreign Terrorist Organizations, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher announced in a 23 December 2003 statement. The renewal was made in consultation with Attorney General John Ashcroft and Treasury Secretary John Snow. This action enables the U.S. government to deny visas to representatives of these groups, prohibits anyone subject to U.S. jurisdiction from providing them with material support, and requires U.S. financial institutions to block assets held by either entity.
After the Secretary of State's designation of LET as a terrorist organization in 2001 and the Pakistani government's banning the group, LET renamed itself Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JUD) in order to evade sanctions. JUD established Idara Khidmat-e-Khalq (IKK) as a public welfare organization that it utilizes to collect funds and undertake other activities. The Department of State announced on 28 April 2008 the addition of the aliases Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JUD) and Idara Khidmat-e-Khalq (IKK) to the Specially Designated Global Terrorist Designation (SDGT) of Lashkhar-e-Tayyiba (LET). The April 27 action under Executive Order 13224 blocked all property, and interests in property, of JUD and IKK that are in the United States, or come within the United States, or the under the control of U.S. persons. The Secretary of State took this action in consultation with the Attorney General, the Secretary of the Treasury, and the Department of Homeland Security.
India has demanded that Pakistan prevent such terrorist groups from operating out of Pakistan or Pakistan-controlled territory. Since December 2001, Pakistan cracked down on Islamic extremists. They include leaders of Lashkar-e-Tayiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed, as well as members of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islami, a Muslim party with ties to the Taleban and Kashmiri terrorist groups. Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf pledged that Pakistan will not allow its territory to be used for terrorism. The group was banned and its assets were frozen by the Pakistani Government in January 2002. Jamaat-ud-Dawa, which is closely linked with banned militant group Lashkar-e-Toeba, and Al-Rasheed Trust are on Pakistan government's "watch list" but not officially banned.
A number of anti-Western terrorist groups (some of which are on the U.S. Government's list of foreign terrorist organizations) are believed to be active in India including, but not limited to, Islamic extremist groups such as Harakat ul-Mujahidin, Jaish-e-Mohammed, Lashkar-e Tayyiba, and Harkat-ul-Jihad-i- Islami. While historically the state of Jammu & Kashmir has been a focal point of terrorist activity, bomb blasts resulting in deaths and injuries have occurred in public places such as markets, as well as on public transportation such as trains and buses throughout India.
Lashkar-e-Tayyiba has conducted a number of operations against Indian troops and civilian targets in Kashmir since 1993. August 2, 2000 in Rajwas, India armed militants killed 30 persons and injured 47 others when they threw a grenade and then opened fire on a community kitchen, according to press reports. The Lashkar-e-Tayyiba claimed responsibility. The LT claimed responsibility for numerous attacks in 2001, including a January 2001 attack on Srinagar airport that killed five Indians along with six militants; an attack on a police station in Srinagar that killed at least eight officers and wounded several others; and an attack in April against Indian border security forces that left at least four dead.
On 13 December 2001, an armed group attacked India's parliament in New Delhi. The attack resulted in the death of nine security personnel and parliamentary staffers. India blamed the Lashkar-e-Tayiba and the Jaish e-Mohammed terrorist groups for the attack. LT is also suspected of involvement in the attack on May 14, 2002, on an Indian Army base in Kaluchak that left 36 dead. On 23 July 2003, in Katra, India, a bomb exploded near a Hindu temple, killing six persons and doing extensive damage to the temple, according to press reports. Lashkar-e-Tayyiba and the Students Islamic Movement of India were suspected. On 25 August 2003, in Mumbai, India, two bombs detonated explosions near the Mumba Devi temple and the Gateway of India Historical monument, killing 40 and wounding 120, according to press reports. The Mumbai police commissioner reportedly suspects Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, but no group claimed responsibility. LET is also suspected of involvement in attacks in New Delhi in October 2005, and in Bangalore in December 2005. The Indian Government has implicated the group in the 11 July 2006 attack on multiple Mumbai commuter trains.
Examples of recent major terror attacks include a coordinated series of bombings in market and temple areas of the tourist city of Jaipur, Rajasthan (May 2008), an attack on a government paramilitary facility in Uttar Pradesh (December 2007), coordinated bomb blasts at court facilities in three cities in Uttar Pradesh (November 2007), an explosives blast in a cinema hall in Punjab (November 2007), two explosions at a popular park and restaurant in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh (August 2007), an explosion at the main mosque in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh (May 2007), the detonation of explosive devices on a train northwest of Delhi (February 2007), simultaneous attacks on Mumbai commuter trains (July 2006), simultaneous attacks on a train station and places of worship in Varanasi (March 2006), and simultaneous attacks on several markets in New Delhi (October 2005).
Afghan investigators believe the suicide bomber who crashed an explosives-laden car into the Indian Embassy in Kabul in July 2008 was a Lashkar-e-Taiba operative. Hamza Shakoor, tentatively identified as a 22-year-old resident of Pakistan's Gujranwala district, is believed to have driven the white sports utility vehicle used to bomb the Indian mission. Over 100 kg of military-grade explosives were welded into the chassis of the SUV, leading to an explosion in which 54 people, including four Indian diplomats and guards, were killed.
LT and its leader Hafiz Saeed continue to spread ideology advocating armed jihad, as well as virulent rhetoric condemning the United States, India, Israel, and other perceived enemies. However, LT has yet to conduct an international terrorist attack outside India or Kashmir. Terrorist incidents causing fewer casualties occur on a frequent basis in India, including a few in which American citizens were injured. The motive for many of these attacks has not been clearly established, although it is believed that U.S. citizens and foreigners in general were not specifically targeted in these attacks.
On 14 April 2005 Ariel Cohen, Ph.D., Research Fellow, The Heritage Foundation, testified before the Subcommittee On International Terrorism And Nonproliferation of the Committee on International Relations of the House Of Representatives that "... there is more than a theoretical possibility for terrorists to buy a working warhead and deliver it to the U.S. in one of the millions of shipping containers that enter the country without examination by U.S. Customs. Terrorists may also smuggle such a weapon through a porous land or maritime border. In terms of executioners of such an attack, al-Qaeda, Hizballah, or Lashkar-e-Tayyiba may be the three organizations capable of technical expertise and possessing the motivation to undertake it.... Lashkar-e-Tayyiba... has links to al-Qaeda, technological sophistication and personnel, and international connections reaching into the U.S., which may propel them to attempt to acquire WMD capabilities..."
The actual size of the LT is unknown, but the group has several thousand members. Lashkar-e-Tayyiba has several hundred members in Azad Kashmir, Pakistan, and in India's southern Kashmir and Doda regions. Almost all LT cadres are non-Kashmiris mostly Pakistanis from madrassas across the country and Afghan veterans of the Afghan wars. It uses assault rifles, light and heavy machineguns, mortars, explosives, and rocket propelled grenades.
Lashkar-e-Tayyiba has been based in Muridke (near Lahore) and Muzaffarabad. The LT trains its militants in mobile training camps across Pakistan-administered Kashmir and had trained in Afghanistan until fall of 2001. The group maintains a number of facilities in Pakistan, including training camps, schools, and medical clinics.
Lashkar-e-Taiba was affiliated with the safe house in Faisalabad where Abu Zubeida, a senior deputy to Osama bin Laden, and his top aides were arrested in March 2002, suggesting that some LT members may assist al-Qa'ida.
The group also recruits internationally, as evidenced by the indictment of eleven LT terrorists in Virginia in 2003. On 19 July 2006 A federal grand jury in Atlanta returned a superseding indictment charging Syed Haris Ahmed and Ehsanul Islam Sadequee with conspiring to provide and providing material support to terrorists and to a designated foreign terrorist organization. As compared to the initial indictment filed on March 23, 2006, the superseding indictment added SADEQUEE as a defendant and added three additional counts related to material support of terrorism and a foreign terrorist organization, as well as detailed allegations of the acts underlying the charges. The indictment charged both AHMED and SADEQUEE with four counts: a conspiracy and a substantive charge related to material support of terrorists involved in violent jihad activity in the United States and foreign nations; and a conspiracy and substantive charge related to material support of a designated foreign terrorist organization, the Pakistan-based group Lashkar-e Tayyiba.
Lashkar-e-Tayyiba collects donations from the Pakistani community in the Persian Gulf and United Kingdom, Islamic NGOs, and Pakistani and Kashmiri businessmen. The LT also maintains a website (under the name of its parent organization Jamaat ud-Daawa), through which it solicits funds and provides information on the group's activities. The amount of LT funding is unknown. The LT maintains ties to religious/military groups around the world, ranging from the Philippines to the Middle East and Chechnya through the MDI fraternal network. In anticipation of asset seizures by the Pakistani Government, the LT withdrew funds from bank accounts and invested in legal businesses, such as commodity trading, real estate, and production of consumer goods.
LT coordinates its charitable activities through its front organization, Jamaat-ud-Dawa, which spearheaded humanitarian relief to the victims of the October 2005 earthquake in Kashmir. Acknowledging that hardline religious groups, including Jamaat-ud-Dawa, were doing a "good job" in quake-hit areas of Pakistan and PoK, President Pervez Musharraf has, nevertheless, said he would make sure that they did not draw people towards extremism or militancy while carrying out relief work. Defending his handling of one of the worst natural disasters in Pakistan's history, Musharraf said his government had "done a good, if not a very good job."
On May 27, 2008 the U.S. Department of the Treasury designated four individuals that hold leadership positions in Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LET), a Pakistan-based terrorist group with links to Usama bin Ladin and the al Qaida network. "LET is a dangerous al Qaida affiliate that has demonstrated its willingness to murder innocent civilians," said Stuart Levey, Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence (TFI). "LET's transnational nature makes it crucial for governments worldwide to do all they can to stifle LET's fundraising and operations."
Muhammad Saeed is LET's overall leader and chief and plays a key role in LET's operational and fundraising activities worldwide. Saeed oversaw the management of a terrorist training camp in Pakistan in 2006, including funding of the camp, which prepared militants to fight against Coalition forces in Afghanistan. Saeed, in 2005, determined where graduates of an LET camp in Pakistan should be sent to fight, and personally organized the infiltration of LET militants into Iraq during a trip to Saudi Arabia. That same year, Saeed arranged for an LET operative to be sent to Europe as LET's European fundraising coordinator.
Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi is LET's chief of operations. In this capacity, Lakhvi has directed LET military operations, including in Chechnya, Bosnia, Iraq, and Southeast Asia. Lakhvi instructed LET associates in 2006 to train operatives for suicide bombings. Prior to that, Lakhvi instructed LET operatives to conduct attacks in well-populated areas. Lakhvi, in 2004, sent operatives and funds to attack U.S. forces in Iraq. Lakhvi also directed an LET operative to travel to Iraq in 2003 to assess the jihad situation there. In past years, Lakhvi has also played an important role in LET fundraising activities, reportedly receiving al Qaida-affiliated donations on behalf of LET.
Haji Muhammad Ashraf is LET's chief of finance, a position he has held since at least 2003. Ashraf traveled to the Middle East in 2003 and 2004, where he personally collected donations on behalf of LET. Ashraf assisted Saudi Arabia-based LET leadership in 2003 with expanding its organization and increasing its fundraising activities.
Mahmoud Mohammad Ahmed Bahaziq, a Saudi national, is an LET financier and is credited with being the main financier behind the establishment of the LET and its activities in the 1980s and 1990s. He has also served as the leader of LET in Saudi Arabia. In 2003, Bahaziq coordinated LET's fundraising activities with Saudi nongovernmental organizations and Saudi businessmen, and encouraged LET operatives to continue and accelerate fundraising and organizing activities. As of mid-2005, Bahaziq played a key role in LET's propaganda and media operations.
In the "Annual Threat Assessment of the Intelligence Community for the Senate Armed Services Committee 27 February 2008" , J. Michael McConnell, Director of National Intelligence, stated that "The IC assesses that Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LT) and other Kashmir-focused groups will continue attack planning and execution in India. Shia and Hindu religious observances are possible targets, as are transportation networks and government buildings. We judge Kashmir-focused groups will continue to support the attacks in Afghanistan, and operatives trained by the groups will continue to feature in al-Qa'ida transnational attack planning."
Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, chief of the Islamic party Jamaat ud Dawa (JD), spoke during a protest rally in Karachi September 7, 2008, condemning atrocities in Indian-controlled Kashmir. Hundreds of Jamaat ud Dawa activists held the rally to express solidarity with Indian Kashmiri Muslims.
Head of Jama't-ud-Da'wah's Department of Political Affairs, Hafiz Abd-ur-Rahman Makki, said on 28 November 2008 that the real issue faced by the world today is that of the unjust war perpetuated against Islam and the Muslim world by the enemies of Islam and Muslims. He urged the country's rulers to stand up to foreign pressure and conspiracies, and to give a befitting response to the propaganda disseminated by America and its allies. In his khutbah (sermon) during Salat-ul-Jumuah (Friday Prayers) at Jamia Masjid al-Qadsia, Hafiz Abd-ur-Rahman Makki said, those poor oppressed Muslims who fight in defense of their honor and rights are not terrorists, but in fact, the real terrorists are those who commit atrocities and carry out missile attacks against Muslims in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kashmir, and other areas. No one has the right to call a person a terrorist if he takes up arms in his defense after being subjected to terror and oppression, he said. Hafiz Abd-ur-Rahman Makki said America, Israel, India, and other false and fallacious powers of the world want to eradicate Islam and Muslims from the face of the earth. He said it does not matter whether it is the republicans, or democrats, NATO, or the UNO, each and every one of them is equally an enemy on Islam and Muslims.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|