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LeT undertakes major expansion in Afghanistan

Pakistan based militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), responsible for the 26/11 Mumbai carnage, has expanded its operations in Afghanistan, setting up new training camps with an aim to hit Afghan, international as well as Indian targets.

world Updated: Jun 16, 2010 15:00 IST

Pakistan based militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), responsible for the 26/11 Mumbai carnage, has expanded its operations in Afghanistan, setting up new training camps with an aim to hit Afghan, international as well as Indian targets.

The Let's expansion in Afghanistan has prompted suspicions in Washington and among NATO allies that it is part of Pakistan's game plan to have proxy forces at hand to shape
the outcome in Kabul after the American troops begin their withdrawal in July next year.

Pakistan has also continued to allow Afghan Taliban leaders and other militant groups fighting the US and NATO forces to base themselves in Pakistan. " The intent seems to
be retain ties to those who might one day return to power in Afghanistan or exercise influence there," New York Times reported.

"Its inroads in Afghanistan provide a fresh indication of its growing ambition to confront India even beyond Kashmir,for which Pakistan's military and intelligence services created the group as a proxy force decades ago," Times said.

The paper quoting a senior NATO intelligence official said," the LeT are now active in six to eight provinces in Afghanistan, a big leap from hardly any presence five years
ago."

NYT quoting intelligence officers and diplomats said that LeT is believed to have planned and executed three major attacks against Indians in recent months.

"It continues to track Indians in Afghanistan and is on the look out for more attacks against them," the paper said.

One indication of LeT's presence in Afghanistan came on April 8, when a joint US-Afghan Special Operation force killed nine militants and captured one after a firefight in Nangarhar province in Eastern Afghanistan.

All of them were Pakistanis and " a concentration of them were LeT," the Times said quoting a senior American military official.

The paper said LeT is believed to have orchestrated the Feb 26 car bombing and suicide attack on two guest houses in the heart of Kabul frequented by Indians. An attack on a shopping centre and a bank in downtown Kabul in January also suggested Lashkar influence.