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Lashkar trying to be the new al Qaeda: Experts

Pakistan-based terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) is spreading fast by taking in former Pakistani soldiers as recruits and may make a bid to replace the al Qaeda at the forefront of global jihad, especially after the killing of its leader Osama bin Laden, US experts have warned.

world Updated: May 05, 2011 00:21 IST

Pakistan-based terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) is spreading fast by taking in former Pakistani soldiers as recruits and may make a bid to replace the al Qaeda at the forefront of global jihad, especially after the killing of its leader Osama bin Laden, US experts have warned.

However, they also said that these plans are unlikely "to succeed".

Making a testimony before the US Congress' homeland security committee, security experts told lawmakers that the LeT was trying to expand its focus by joining the fight against American forces in Afghanistan, launching terror attacks against India, and participating in global jihad and non-violent activism in Pakistan.

Stephen Tankel, from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a Washington think tank, told the lawmakers that the LeT had not been able to shake off its regional dynamics, but may plot a larger international role after Bin Laden's death.

Observing that the group had not given up its "obsession" with Kashmir, Tankel said the Kashmir conflict remained static and it may be difficult for the LeT to regenerate insurgency there.

And while the LeT will not disappear from the Kashmir scene, US security experts said, "A return to its glory days on that front is unlikely".

The experts told the lawmakers that despite repeated calls by the US - and India - on Pakistan to take action against the group responsible for the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, "LeT's position remains relatively secure in Pakistan".

Tankel attributed this to the fact that Pakistan was facing a serious insurgency and the LeT remains one of the few militant outfit whose policy is to refrain from launching attacks against the state.

He said the US needs to continue to signal to the Pakistan army and the ISI the severe repercussions that would result were LeT or elements within it to be involved in an attack on the homeland or American interests abroad.

The US must also continue to signal the need for Pakistan to restrain LeT from launching another major terrorist attack against India.