LeT responsible for 26/11: UK report

LeT responsible for 26/11: UK report

A report by the powerful Foreign Affairs Committee quoted a former CIA chief as saying that Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Toiba, blamed by India for attacks on its soil including on Mumbai, has reached a "merge point" with al-Qaeda.

"It was from the tribal areas in Pakistan that the bomb plots in London, Madrid, Bali, Islamabad and later Germany and Denmark were planned," the report on "Global Security: Afghanistan and Pakistan" headed by lawmaker Mike Gapes said.

It said: "The LeT group, which was responsible for the November 2008 Mumbai attacks which targeted Westerns, in particular US and UK nationals, also operates from these tribal areas. The former head of the CIA, Michael Hayden, claimed earlier this year that LeT had reached a 'merge point' with al Qaeda."

The report also said that a section within the Pakistani Army and the intelligence agency ISI still feels that "India, rather than the Islamic terrorists," were the main threat to it.

"We welcome the increasing recognition at senior levels within the Pakistani military of the need for a recalibrated approach to militancy but we remain concerned that this may not necessarily be replicated elsewhere within the army and ISI," the report said.

It welcomed Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari's remarks that he regarded terrorism not India as the real threat to his country. However it raised doubts over "whether the underlying fundamentals of Pakistani security policy have changed sufficiently to realise the goals of long-term security and stability in Afghanistan."

The report on Afghanistan and Pakistan published on Sunday commended the Zardari government for having taken some important steps to counter insurgency at a considerable cost in terms of military lives lost.

Lord Mark Malloch-Brown, who recently quit as minister of state for foreign affairs, concurred with the view.

He said: "We are convinced that the ISI is on board institutionally, and that the leaderships of both the army and the ISI are supportive of the president and his strategy, which is reflected through the meetings that we have had with the Chief of Army Staff General Kayani."

The report also raised "deep concern" over the safety of nuclear technology in Pakistan and on the claims of "possible collusion" between the ISI and the al Qaeda.

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