Lashkar Is Most Potent Pakistan-based Terror Outfit: US Thinker

If the view of chief of an outstanding American think-tank is something to go by, banned terrorist outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) is the most potent Pakistan-based terror groups, said media reports.

Informing US lawmakers at a Congressional hearing on Wednesday, president of the New America Foundation Steve Coll said that unlike other Pakistan-based terrorist outfits, LeT has successfully recruited professionals and highly educated individuals from urban centres in Pakistan, said reports.

“Perhaps the most potent of these groups in the Pakistan-Afghan region is Lashkar-e-Toiba. It’s an India-focused group, but along with splinters like Jaish-e-Muhammad, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and various cells that spin off from those, they’ve been able to recruit very talented operatives from educated classes in urban centres.

“I think this makes them distinctive in comparison to the Afghan Taliban for example,” Coll said in his testimony before the House Armed Services Committee, said reports.

The hearing in which Coll made the statement was convened by the powerful House Armed Services Committee on the topic – ‘Al Qaeda in 2010: How should the US respond?’

Coll said that among LeT’s ranks were scores of volunteer doctors and post-graduate professionals, said reports.

“One of these sub-networks did find the time and space to reform and plot an attempt of the Mumbai type. It could create far more destructive effects than is typically available to these single operators in small groups that al-Qaeda has been organising,” he was quoted as saying.

“In my own judgement, I think Mumbai is actually the most serious warning in the succession of plots, along with the 2006 attempted planes bombing conspiracy in Britain, simply because of its scale and what it tells you about the geographical space and the time and unmolested time that the Mumbai organisers had to carry off a very creative and complicated attack,” Coll was quoted as saying.

Coll, who sees risk from the group though it may not necessarily directly target US homeland, said that that in a strategic or global sense, al-Qaeda seems to be in the process of defeating and isolating itself.

“Its political isolation in the Muslim world has set the stage for the US and allied governments with persistence and concentrated effort to finally destroy central al-Qaeda’s leadership along the Afghan- Pakistan border,” he was quoted as saying.

(Based on internet reports)

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