LeT may use Taliban training camps for terror, says book

Banned outfit may get ISI help to reclaim locations in Afghanistan

LeT may use Taliban training camps for terror, says book

In an attempt to enlarge its global footprint, Pakistan-based banned terror outfit Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) is trying to occupy some of the Taliban training camps in Afghanistan, the proxy assets the Pakistani spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) is suspected will turn to after the withdrawal of US forces in December, reveals a new book. 

The book has been brought out by the Institute for Defence Studies & Analysis (IDSA).India also fears that “Afghan-isation” without foreign forces can be inimical to its strategic interest, owing to Pakistan exploiting non-state actors for diplomatic advantages. 

There are reports that the LeT will reclaim some of the Taliban training camps in Kunar and Paktia after the withdrawal of the International Security Assistance Force in December 2014, and, “The possibility of ISI helping LeT in occupying these training camps in Afghanistan remains high,” write authors Surinder K Sharma and Anshuman Behera in “Militant Groups in South Asia”. 

One of the deadliest terrorist outfits' renewed bid to gain hold in Afghanistan has compounded suspicions that the LeT and others will divert their attention towards India and, in particular, Kashmir, says the book in its chapter titled “Lashkar-e-Toiba”.

The Lashkar had both training and operating bases in Kunar, Paktia and Nooristan during and after the Afghan jihad, where it worked closely with Mujahideen leaders. Later, in 2006, says the book, the ISI had helped the group set up training camps in Dir and Upper Dir districts in the erstwhile North-West Frontier Province for training new cadres for the Taliban.

Interestingly, the authors also talk about the internal simmering within the terror outfit. The book sees last May's killing of LeT head Hafiz Saeed’s chief security officer Khalid Bashir in Lahore as an outcome of the power struggle in the militant organisation. It has “put a question mark on the terrorist group’s internal dynamics”. 

“There have been reports about dissent in the group over Saeed’s decision to lie low after the November 2008 Mumbai attacks and divert the group’s focus on charity and religious activities. The young cadres and leaders were unhappy about the senior leadership's 'abandonment' of Kashmir,” points out lead author Sharma, who has served with the NTRO and the Cabinet Secretariat.

The book, the second from the stable of the IDSA since the last attempt made in 2003 on jihadis in Kashmir, deals with 40 individual militant outfits operating in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan, describing their organisation structure, potential to strike, armoury and financing.

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