Packer Collegiate Institute/Inquiry
Lashkar -e- Taiba (“Army of the Pure”)
We are a group dedicated to the protection of the people of Pakistan, Kashmir and across the Islamic world according to the word of the Koran. We are strongly opposed to the unlawful and wrong occupation of the Kashmir province by India. Additionally, we as an organization flatly refuse to accept American interventionism and the West’s corrupting of our young people with material goods We accomplish our mission to protect and serve our Muslim people against these and other foreign threats by two methods: we provide aid, education, disaster relief and various resources across Pakistan as well as guidance to help our people honor Allah through both prayer and action. The other component of our mission is as a highly organized and dedicated militia of the people with which we fight our natural Hindi and Christian enemies who rob us of our land, kill our children and threaten our future.
Our 7 most important and interests are as follows:
1) To ensure the pre-eminence of Islam as a way of life in the Middle East and southern Asia
2) To protect and defend our people, especially the powerless
3) Avenging Muslims who have fallen at the hand of non-Muslims
4) Inciting fear and panic in our enemies
5) The liberation of Kashmir and other Muslim territories under non-Muslim occupation
6) Self-preservation of our cause
7) Converting, educating and training new servants of Allah
Our ultimate goal is to recreate the Great Islamic Caliphate in which Non-Muslims would be treated as inferior citizens and forced to pay a protective tax in order to live or trade in our boundaries, spanning as far west as Spain all the way to India.
Background of Lashkar-e-Taiba
“The Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba has been accused of plotting attacks in India and in the West, including the three-day assault on Mumbai in November 2008…
The group has its roots in the Markaz ad-Dawat wal Irshad (MDI), an organization created in the mid 1980s to support the jihad against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan and to provide Islamic charity and spiritual guidance.
The organization then split into two wings:
-- Lashkar-e-Taiba is its military wing. Founded in 1990, it began operations in Indian Kashmir in 1993.
Jamaat ud-Dawa is its humanitarian wing. It provides extensive education, healthcare and disaster relief.
Their religious ideology is Ahl-e-Hadith, a Salafist school akin to the Wahabbism of al Qaeda, which seeks a return to the "purer" practices of early Muslims.
They are based in Punjab province and in Pakistani Kashmir and Jamaat ud-Dawa runs a large educational complex at Muridke near Lahore.
OPERATIONS IN THE WEST
It has support and funding in the Pakistani diaspora, often in the form of donations for its charitable work. Analysts say it could exploit this network for attacks on the West.
Among operations linked to Lashkar-e-Taiba were:
-- The Virginia Jihad Network broken up by U.S. authorities and accused of training for holy war in 2000-2001 and providing support to Lashkar-e-Taiba.
-- French police formally investigated Ghulam Mustafa Rama, a British-Pakistani living in Paris, for allegedly helping "shoe-bomber" Richard Reid in December 2001. Police failed to prove the case against him, but he was convicted and jailed for recruiting for Lashkar-e-Taiba.
-- Frenchman Willy Brigitte was convicted of involvement in planning attacks in Australia after spending 2-1/2 months in a Lashkar-e-Taiba training camp in 2001/2002.
-- One of London underground suicide bombers in 2005 had briefly visited Lashkar's Muridke headquarters, though police found no evidence of the group's involvement in the attack.
-- Two men were arrested in Chicago in October 2009, accused of plotting attacks in Denmark, according to U.S. authorities.
TRAINING AND SUPPORT FOR WESTERNERS
Counter-terrorism experts say Lashkar-e-Taiba poses a risk to the West in four ways:
-- Through directly ordering and planning attacks
-- By lending its network to other groups, including al Qaeda, to conduct attacks. This indirect support is seen as more likely than direct involvement
-- By providing military training and indoctrination to westerners who travel to Pakistan and then return home to stage attacks. This is a particular concern in Britain, where a large part of the Pakistani diaspora is from Pakistani Kashmir.
-- By acting as a gateway for potential recruits travelling to Pakistan either to fight in Afghanistan or to join al Qaeda, who may find Lashkar an easier first point of contact.
OPERATIONS IN INDIA
The Lashkar-e-Taiba's main focus is on Kashmir and India. Among its operations, alleged or claimed, are the following:
-- Recruiting and training men to fight India in Kashmir, where a separatist revolt erupted in 1989. One of Lashkar's hallmarks is "fedayeen" operations where men are willing to fight to the death, but are not suicide bombers.
-- An attack on the historic Red Fort in New Delhi in 2000, and on the airport in the Kashmiri capital Srinagar in 2001.
-- An attack on the Indian parliament in December 2001 which nearly led to war with Pakistan. India blamed Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Jaish-e-Mohammad, another Pakistan-based militant group.
-- A three-day assault on Mumbai in November 2008 which killed at least 166 people. Pakistan has arrested five men, including Lashkar's operational commander, Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, accused of involvement in the attack, but rejected Indian demands that its leader Hafez Saeed be arrested.
-- Lashkar is believed to have built a network of sleeper cells in India, working with the Indian Mujahideen and capitalising on the anger of some Indians Muslims about perceived injustices by the Hindu majority.
A spate of bombings in India in recent years have been attributed both directly to Lashkar-e-Taiba and to "home-grown" terrorism by disaffected Muslims, though the majority of Indian Muslims have condemned them.
The group has not been heavily involved in the Taliban-led campaign against western forces in Afghanistan, but is believed to operate in Kunar and Nuristan in the east of the country.
It has close links with Islamist militants based in Pakistan's tribal areas bordering Afghanistan, but retains its own distinct and independent identity and ideology.
It is officially banned in Pakistan but unofficially tolerated, analysts say. It is seen as close to the army and its Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency. It is the only group not believed to have launched attacks inside Pakistan itself.
Analysts ascribe Pakistan's reluctance to act more forcefully against the group to various factors:
-- It would create a new enemy at a time when the army is already fighting the Pakistani Taliban in South Waziristan and facing a wave of reprisal attacks in its cities
-- Lashkar-e-Taiba cadres are seen as a kind of civil defence force to be used in the event of war with India
-- The Jamaat ud-Dawa enjoys wide popular support for its humanitarian work
-- Many Pakistanis support the revolt in Indian Kashmir where they see their fellow Muslims as victims of Indian oppression. India blames Pakistan for stoking the violence”( MacDonald).
MacDonald, Myra. "FACTBOX-Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba." Reuters. Thomson
Reuters, 20 Nov. 2009. Web. 27 Feb. 2010. article/idUSLK431769>.
Religion and Identity
At the very core of LeT’s religious identity is their belief in Ahl-e-Hadith, a Salafist school akin to the Wahabbism of al Qaeda, which seeks a return to the "purer" practices of early Muslims (unlike the Taliban and other militant groups).(Reuters).
Tom Heneghan reiterates the goals of LET laid out in an article entitled Why Are We Waging Jihad
Very similar to goals iterated in the opening of the paper
All of the goals laid out are conditional on the peoples acceptance of a Muslim way of life
Although their aims are to help those who are weak, they mean to oppress non-Muslim, thus making them weak
These goals are to establish a Muslim union in which all non-Muslims are considered inferior and are treated as such
From news reports of LET activity it is abundantly clear that they are using their goals as a means of pushing forward into a new era of Muslim liberation and that they have no restraints on what they are willing to do in order to ascertain this main goal
LET’s logo has an AK-47 rifle perched on top of the Quran
“Quran symbolizes the centrality of Islam to LeT’s ideology”
Blue background: for “Allah’s mercy”
Sun: “wisdom and virtue”
Across the top is a verse from the Quran: “and fight them on until there is no more tumult or oppression, and there prevails justice and faith in Allah”
This phrase can be seen as justification for LET’s actions in their liberation movement – as a direct order
The rifle also seems to promote this idea
The bottom is the “group’s original name: Markaz al-Dawa wal al-Arshad” which means “the Centre for Preaching and Guidance”
Dissimilarly from the quote on top this title is more about cultivating and education
It is possible that the group feels that they combine both the idea of action and education
Although the fact that the group’s name has changed could be indicative of its straying from this insinuated ideology
After being recruited by LET young men attend train camps not only to learn to use weapons but also for religion (madrassas)
A madrassa is an Islamic religious school. Many of the Taliban were educated in Saudi-financed madrassas in Pakistan that teach Wahhabism, a particularly austere and rigid form of Islam which is rooted in Saudi Arabia
Fanatical religious leaders speak to them
Citations of sources used:
Heneghan, Tom. "Lashkar-e-Taiba's goals." Reuters. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Feb. 2010.
Siddique, Qandeel. "What is Lashkar-e-Taiba?" Forsvarets foskningsinstitutt:
Norwegian Defence Research Establishment. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Feb. 2010.
Qandeels_foredrag_1_118041a.pdf>. From a seminar presentation at NUPI
that Siddique gave in December 2008
Most of attacks preformed are in India
Reside in Punjab province in Pakistan
Also have educational complex at Muridke near Lahore
Wage war in the Kashmir region as well
Water pollution from raw sewage, industrial wastes, and agricultural runoff; limited natural fresh water resources; most people don’t have access to potable water; deforestation; soil erosion; desertification
-Around 60% of Pakistans land is considered unsuitable for agriculture
Largely nutrient deficient or desert land
-A lot of land across Pakistan is used for grazing cattle
mostly hot, dry desert; temperate in northwest; arctic in north
there earthquakes and flooding from heavy rains in the Indus river
LeT based near rivers, which supply nutrients
Centered in an area which is relatively good for farming, and grazing which makes up a large part of the Pakistani exports
Pakistan also relys largely on cotton exports.
Agriculture constitutes 48% of Pakistans GDP (Country Studies)
Lashkar-e-Taiba is based in two cities
According to the lone survivor of the terrorists attacks, LET is based in Muridke
Intel says this is simply where pupils are trained and all training occurs off site
Rights and Responsibilties
Lashkar e Taiba has some of the same ideals that the Taliban has regarding women rules. The Taliban restrict women to wear brightly colored clothes, and constantly try to reinforce the obscurity of women in that environment. Women are also not allowed to appear on public radio or anything of that sort, and are beaten if they break any of these rules and are publically humiliated. There are severe punishments when women disobey to rules. Women get lashed, stoned, or imprisoned. In some cases the punishment goes as far as cutting off an appendage or execution. In this hostile setting, men are put high above the women. With these common rules, women also have been restricted from integrating into a workplace setting. Countless schools have been shut down from the Taliban’s refusal to accept women’s education. Girls above the age above the age of 8 are not permitted to go to school. Also, since there are few women doctors and men are not allowed to touch the women’s body, many women fall victim to illness that needs to be treated. All persons are seen to live under the rules of their religion, which they take very seriously. Daily life is focused around this idea, and staying faithful to Islam.
From a source, a reported 42% of the population of Afghanistan is living under the poverty line. From what we can gather, the Lashkar e Taiba does nothing to try and change this. Many people have fallen victim to being taken from their homes and replaced other places where it is hard to make a good living. Also, since women do not hold a high social standing and cannot support the home by themselves it is hard to be financially secure. Health care is very limited and extremely hard to come by for women. Important medical instruments are hard to obtain which makes the community of doctors even smaller. It is hard for people to be able to pay for medical assistance because such a staggering amount of people are living in poverty.
The idea of “free press” in this setting is almost nonexistent. Failure to conform to the ideas and rules of the Lashkar e Taiba can result in exile or even a violent response. The Laskhar e Taiba and other terrorist groups are trying to establish their foundations within their government and in the citizens of their community. The more they reach out, the more they can dominate. The Laskhar e Taiba pushed its ideas through their website, http://www.jamatuddawa.org/, and their monthly journal. They are also always on the look out to recruit new soldiers to help fight for their idea of a utopian environment.
Position on Security
Civil Military Relations
Violence has decreased since peace process launched in Jan. 2004
Number of violent incidents in 2008 fell by 40% to 700
Peace process frozen after Mumbai attacks, talks Feb 25th 2010
Several thousand members are in the Kashmir Region
Most members are Pakistanis from madrassas across Pakistan/Afghanistan
Uses assault rifles, light + heavy machineguns, mortars, explosives, RPGs
In 2002 LeT was added to the US foreign terrorist organization list forced Pakistani president to ban LeT in Pakistan
Pakistani authorities reluctant to move against LeT
Civilians support LeT because of Jamaat-ud-Dawa’s humanitarian work they resent NATO + US troops
Dress in enemy uniforms
Gives training to its recruits (http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries/india/states/jandk/terroristoutfits/lashkaretoiba.htm)
During the 1990s, experts say LeT received instruction and funding from Pakistan's intelligence agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), in exchange for a pledge to target Hindus in Jammu and Kashmir and to train Muslim extremists on Indian soil.
LeT has connections with other groups, such as Al Qaeda, who are involved with illicit trade, however there is no intelligence readily available that suggest that LeT has specific connection to any illicit trade
There is also no knowledge of LeT having any involvement with drugs, however a significant portion of the world’s heroin is currently produced in Pakistan.
Position on Kashmir
Lashkar-e-Taiba advocates the overthrow of Indian power in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, the portion of Kashmir that is occupied by India. This victory would be a step towards the total overthrow of India and the creation of an Islamic state, around and including Pakistan, in South Asia. Free Kashmir will be part of this state. Our victory will be won through attacks against various targets in India, Kashmir and elsewhere. Until then there will be no peace. There will be fear of nuclear war between India and Pakistan. But afterwards there will be peace and stability forever.
The Lashkar-e-Taiba counts as its enemies the enemies of Islam: India, Israel and the United States. Our inspiration and our goal are religious: most Kashmiris are Muslims and must be ruled by Muslims. This is what the Kashmiris need and want! The infidel Hindus must be overthrown! Our ally is the Islamic state of Pakistan, where our organization was founded in the early 1990's and where we grew in strength. On the other hand, we are Pakistan's allies and helpers. After partition, Pakistan fought three wars to try to win Jammu and Kashmir, but they did not succeed. Then we appeared. For years we have kept the Indians in Kashmir on the run. But since 2002 we have been outlawed in Pakistan itself, so now we must operate under the radar, pretending to be something other than what we are..
When it is said that Lashkar-e-Taiba is supported by the Pakistani army and the Pakistani intelligence service (ISI), we will deny any connection.
When it is said that Lashkar-e-Taiba attacked the Indian parliament in New Delhi in December 2001, we will deny this.
When it is said that Lashkar-e-Taiba bombed computer trains in Mumbai in July 2006, we will say this is not true. It was another group, the Bajrang Dal!
When it is said that Lashkar-e-Taiba was behind the great attack in Mumbai in November 2008, we will deny any involvement.
When it is said that Lashkar-e-Taiba is the same as the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (Society for Preaching), we say “No Lashkar-e-Taiba man is in Jamaat-ud-Dawa . . .”. We will say that the Jamaat-ud-Dawa, which did such excellent work to aid the victims of the 2005 Kashmir earthquake, is a separate group from ours, yet we will use their name for many of our dealings.
When it is said that we are planning international attacks, for example that we have recently been helping to plan an attack at Jyllands-Posten in Denmark, a newspaper that insulted our religion, we will reply “All our members are local Kashmiri Muslims and we have no network in America, or any other place. We are only fighting Indian security forces in Kashmir.”
When we are said to cooperate with other groups that fight for Kashmiri independence, such as the HUM and the JEM, we will deny this.
When it is said that we work with al-Qaeda, we will give no comment!
When we are said to be a terrorist group, part of the Kashmir jihad, we will claim to be committed to peace, a peaceful resolution of the situation. After many years of violence, Kashmir is quieter than usual. While fanning up small incidents, we will lie low, waiting for our opportunity.
Fives Issues We Would Like Addressed at the Conference
The shift in Pakistan’s internal policy towards the Taliban and similar groups
The border dispute in Kashmir
Determining the real interests of ISI
What does the CIA’s intervention in Pakistan mean for politics in the region? Should Afghanistan and Pakistan be scared that the United States intends to create another weak government in Afghanistan it can exploit as has been policy for so long?
How does the possibility of a nuclear Iran change the politics of the region? Is the acquisition of a nuclear weapon from either Iran or Pakistan by a terrorist group a possibility and, if so, what would it mean for the rest of the region?