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US takes up issue of LeT with Pak

world Updated: Mar 27, 2010 11:12 IST
PTI
US

The Obama Administration has strongly taken up with Pakistan the case of Lashkar-e-Taiba, which has emerged as a potent terrorist organisation in the country.

Though the contours of discussion on LeT in the dialogue is not being revealed, a top Obama Administration official has confirmed that US's concerns about Lashkar was raised during the recent 'Strategic Dialogue' in which Pakistani delegation was led by its Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi.

"In any conversation with Pakistan on terrorism issues, that does come up, yes," said Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs P J Crowley, in response to a question at his daily news briefing.

Among those present at the meeting were Pakistani Army Chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani and ISI Chief Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha.

It is understood that top Pak authorities, including Qureshi and Kayani, were asked to rein in and arrest Hafeez Saeed, the mastermind of 26/11 Mumbai attacks, by the US officials not only at the State Department but also at the White House, where they had a meeting with Gen (rtd) James Jones, the National Security Advisor.

The issue also came up for discussion when visiting Pakistani leaders were hosted for dinner by Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen on Wednesday night.

In the past few weeks, several US lawmakers, officials of the Obama Administration and think tanks have expressed concern over the dangerous growth of Lashkar-e-Taiba and its continued linkages with the ISI.

At a Congressional hearing yesterday, Admiral Robert Willard, Commander of the US Pacific Comma, expressed his grave concern over the "dangerously" expanding influence of LeT.

"Right now our concern is the movement of LeT, the terrorist group that emanates from Pakistan that was responsible for the Mumbai attacks in India, and specifically their positioning in Bangladesh and Nepal, the Maldives and Sri Lanka," Willard said.

At another Congressional hearing early this month, an eminent Pakistani scholar Shuja Nawaz said, "the former trainers and associates from the ISI perhaps now have an opportunity of independently working with the LeT."

Daniel Benjamin, Co-coordinator for counter-terrorism at the State Department told Senators at another Congressional hearing early this month said what probably keeps him awake most is LeT in South Asia, which was responsible for the Mumbai attack.