'LeT threat to regional and global security next to Al-Qaeda'

28 January 2009
The Hindustan Times
Lalit K Jha

Washington: Lashkar-e-Toiba, the Pakistan-based terrorist outfit responsible for the attacks on Indian Parliament and in Mumbai, poses a grave regional and global security threat next to al-Qaeda, a top US strategic expert said on Wednesday. LeT today is not only active in India, Pakistan and the region, it also has developed a global reach and it should not be a surprise if the terrorist outfit strikes in other parts of the world as well, said Ashley Tellis, a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International peace. It becomes very important for the US to ensure that not only the perpetrators of the Mumbai attack are brought to justice, but also the entire organization and its infrastructure is eliminated as well, he said. 'The Obama Administration, should, using both carrots and sticks, induce Pakistan to comprehensively eliminate the LeT,' said Tellis. He was testifying before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs – the second such hearing in less than a month. 'Dealing with this emerging LeT threat will require a mixture of unilateral actions an international cooperation,' he said. The Obama Administration should keep Pakistan's feet to the fire to ensure that Islamabad makes good on its promises, he said, adding that the experience of various Pakistani detentions demonstrates that terrorists, even when in custody, can mount very effective cross-border operations with the aid of collaborations still at large. 'But Washington should also demand more of Islamabad: Precisely because LeT threatens to become a significant global terrorist threat, the United States should insist that Islamabad should roll up and eliminate the entire LeT infrastructure that currently exists in Pakistan,' Tellis said. Such an action not only hold the best promise of arresting the current Indo-Pakistani relations, but it also remains the only guarantee of decisively eliminating LeT as a serious potential threat to US homeland, he said. 'Given the ISI's long history of support for LeT, the Pakistani state will require all the assistance it can get if it is tom genuinely eradicate the diverse infrastructure of terrorism maintained by LeT's current front organizations, the Jamat-ud-Dawa,' he said. 'The US should not stint in providing Pakistan with this aid, if Islamabad is judged to be serious about confronting LeT and other terrorists groups,' he said, adding that Washington should no longer compromise on its objectives.