Lashkar-e-Taiba

December 3, 2008

It’s beginning to appear that the terrorist organization Lashkar-e-Taiba (Army of the Pure) was responsible for the attacks in Mumbai. Lashkar-e-Taiba’s goal is to end Indian rule over Kashmir. They’re responsible for a string of recent terror attacks, including the one against the Indian parliament, and have been banned in Pakistan since 2002 as the result of pressure from the United States.
The Pakistani military and intelligence service had used Lashkar-e-Taiba as a proxy in their struggle over India’s only Muslim-majority province, Kashmir.
According to the Washington Post, the Mumbai attackers received training in Pakistan from ex-officers of Pakistan’s military, but is is unclear whether the army itself played a role. Meanwhile, President Zardari of Pakistan has been making some improbable claims about the surviving attacker:

“‘We have not been given any tangible proof to say that he is definitely a Pakistani. I very much doubt that he’s a Pakistani,’ Mr. Zardari told CNN’s ‘Larry King Live,’ saying that his government would take action if India produced evidence to support the claim.”

One way or another, the US is going to have its hands full maintaining the peace in South Asia. Condi Rice and other top US officials are in the region trying to calm the situation. Increased tensions in South Asia would be bad in and of themselves, and would greatly complicate the US mission in Afghanistan. At the same time, the US has been conducting cross-border raids from Afghanistan into Pakistan, which has aroused strong resentment and anger in the country and is undermining the new government. The Pakistani army has been given orders to fire on US troops in the case of any more raids.

The US is urging Pakistani cooperation in the investigation into the attacks and full transparency. Meanwhile, there is a great deal of anger in India directed at Pakistan.

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