Washington: Lashkar-e-Taiba is a threat to stability in South Asia, a top US counter terrorism official has said urging Pakistan to take stronger steps against the outfit responsible for the Mumbai carnage.
“I have not seen any decrease in Lashkar-e Taiba strength. It continues to be a matter of great concern to us, and I’ve spoken on many occasions about the threat to stability in South Asia that Lashkar-e Taiba poses,” the Ambassador at Large and Coordinator for Counter-terrorism, Daniel Benjamin, told reporters here at a news conference yesterday.
“We’ve urged Pakistan to take more action against Lashkar-e Taiba. We’d certainly like to see more progress on that trial regarding the atrocities in Mumbai. It remains a major concern on the terrorist landscape, without a doubt,” Benjamin said in response to a question after the release of the Country Report on Terrorism 2011.
The report has identified LeT as one who has planned to derail any peace efforts between India and Pakistan. ”Sporadic violence in Kashmir and attempted infiltrations from Pakistani territory across the Line of Control (the
border along Jammu and Kashmir) also remained serious concerns for the Indian government. The trade talks with Pakistan provided hope for reduced
tensions between the two countries, but terrorist opponents of better Indian-Pakistan relations, such as the LeT, have long planned to derail any progress by launching new attacks,” the report said.
Briefing reporters on the Congressionally mandated annual report, Benjamin said 2011 was an extremely significant year in counter-terrorism.
“Besides the death of Osama bin Laden and a number of other key al-Qaeda operatives, we saw millions of citizens throughout the Middle East advance peaceful public demands for change without any reference to al-Qaida’s incendiary world view,” he said.
“This upended the group’s longstanding claim that change in this region would only come through violence. The report among other things notes the continued weakening of the al-Qaeda core in Pakistan. It also demonstrates that the al-Qaeda affiliates, while also suffering losses, increased their overall operational ability,” he said.
“I would not say that we are less safe now than we were several years ago, because the al-Qaeda core was the most capable part of the organization by quite a lot, and was capable, obviously, of carrying out catastrophic attacks on a scale that none of the affiliates have been able to match,” Benjamin stressed.