Lashkar-e-Tayyeba (Army of the Pure)
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Lashkar-e-Tayyeba (Army of the Pure)

Lashkar is among the few terrorist organisations that has resorted to strikes in Indian territory outside J&K.

india Updated: Sep 27, 2002 20:39 IST

The Lashkar-e-Tayyeba or Army of the pure as it is known is among the most active and ruthless terrorist organisation operating in Jammu and Kashmir and elsewhere. A military wing of Markaz-ud-Dawa-wal-Irshad (MDI) an Islamic fundamentalist organisation of the Ahle-Hadith sect in Pakistan with headquarters based in Muridke, Pakistan, Lashkar-e-Tayyeba (LeT) was formed in 1990 in the Afghanistan from the mujahideens and and Islamic fundamentalists to fan their jehadi agenda.

Lashkar is among the few terrorist organisations that has resorted to strikes in Indian territory outside the state of Jammu and Kashmir during the last decade. The outfit is suspected of involvement in the December 13, 2001 attack on Indian Parliament in New Delhi and the attack on an army cantonment at the Red Fort in New Delhi on December 22, 2001. Its sole aim is to annex Kashmir from India and to dismember India into three Muslim states. The Markaz-ud-Dawa-wal-Irshad (MDI) is headed by Prof. Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, who is also the Amir of the LeT.

However, keeping in view the changing scenario, post September 11, 2001 and presure on terrorist outfits, the Markaz-ud-Dawa Wal Irshad and Lashker-e-Tayyeba (LeT) have formulated a new strategy to cope with the situation and estabilished a General Council of Let under the chairmanship of Maulana Abdul Wahid Kashmiri who belongs to Poonch in Jammu and Kashmir. This strategy is aimed to make the organisation have a local Kashmiri touch and evade the probing eyes of anti-terrorism forces including the US and UK. In view of the fact Zaki ur Rehman Lakhwi has been appointed the 'Supreme Commander' of LeT in J&K.

The Lashkar-e-Tayyeba (LeT) was first involved in the Mujahideen resistance against Soviet forces in Afghanistan in the 1980s and early 1990s. The ISI later assigned it various operations in J&K. The outfit follows a hard-line extremist Islamic ideology and is actively promoted by Pakistan’s ISI. LeT has also been active in Chechnya and other parts of Central Asia. It claims that it had assisted the Taliban militia and Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda terrorist network.

The LeT is led by its Amir, Prof. Hafiz Muhammad Saeed and the operational chief of the outfit is reported to be ‘commander’ Saifullah, a Pakistani mercenary. The outfit has also launched its 'suicide attacks' strategy whereby small groups (2-5 members) of fidayeen (suicide squads) storm a security force camp or base.

Majority of the massacres of unarmed Hindus and Sikhs between March 1997 and October 2001 have reportedly been carried out by the LeT. The outfit collects funds from the Pakistani community in the Middle East and United Kingdom, Islamic Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), and Pakistani and Kashmiri businessmen.

The LeT maintains ties to various religious/military groups around the world, ranging from the Philippines to the Middle East and Chechnya primarily through the MDI fraternal network. The LeT has also been part of the Bosnian campaign against the Serbs.

First Published: Sep 27, 2002 17:13 IST