Amid Indian fears that Pakistan-based terrorist groups were seeking to deepen their network in Nepal, US secret cables reveal that the banned LeT blamed for the 2008 Mumbai attacks was dangerously expanding its sleeper cells in this country.
According to a secret US State Department cable released by whistle-blower website WikiLeaks, the Pakistan-based terror outfit Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) was expanding its network in Nepal along with rest of South Asia.
Even as India and Nepal have open borders, New Delhi has been concerned that international terrorist networks, particularly those supported by the Pakistani spy agency ISI, were using the porous border to push arms, narcotics and counterfeit currency.
The network of Shafiq Khafa – a LeT leader – is "striving to stand up two teams in southern India that rely on the support of LeT members based in India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and Nepal", claimed the diplomatic cable dated June 19, 2009.
The secret US State Department noting is based on various intelligence inputs received by it, the source of which is not mentioned in the cable.
India's intelligence agencies have ofter expressed concern that the LeT was establishing a stronghold in Nepal's southern plains bordering India.
According to the cable, LeT had planned to assassinate Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi by using base in Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
Although specific details of planned LeT attacks remain unknown, late-May 2009 intelligence indicates that Khafa's cells were engaged in surveillance activities of potential targets, likely in southern India.
The United States, which has charged the Wikileaks of indulging in a criminal act by stealing and releasing these cables, has neither confirmed nor denied the authenticity of these documents.
Out of a total of 250,000 documents being released by the whistle-blower website, some 2,600 are related to Nepal, according to reports here.
Last week, US Ambassador to Nepal Scot Delisi slammed the disclosure of information that was intended to be confidential.
"We will continue to work to strengthen our partnership with Nepal and make progress on the issues that are important for our two countries," he said in a statement issued by the US Embassy in Nepal.