US: Pak failed to stop LeT, JeM funds, recruiting
US state department said on Friday Pakistan has “failed to significantly limit” Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad’s ability to raise money and recruit followers, and allowed candidates connected to their front organisations to contest elections.
In its annual country report on terrorism for 2018, the department noted Pakistan’s efforts in relations to the implementation of conditions laid down by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and said it failed to uniformly implement UN sanctions against groups like the LeT, which continued to raise funds.
Globally, the report said, Iran remained the “world’s worst state sponsor of terrorism”, adding that al Qaeda remained resilient and aimed to “re-establish itself as the vanguard of the global jihadist movement” in view of reverses suffered by the Islamic State in recent years. The US announced the killing of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in Syria last weekend.
The report cited LeT and JeM among groups that remained a threat in 2018 and said they “maintained the capability and intent to attack Indian and Afghan targets”. It mentioned the February attack by JeM operative on an Indian army camp at Sunjuwan in Jammu and Kashmir, killing seven.
Pakistan, their host country, continued to not act resolutely against them contrary to its assurances, which has been a longstanding US complaint. “The government failed to significantly limit” LeT and JeM from “raising money, recruiting, and training in Pakistan”.
And Pakistan allowed “candidates overtly affiliated with LeT front organisations to contest the July general elections”. The reference clearly was to the Muslim Milli League, an LeT front that fielded more than 250 candidates in the 2018 general elections.
The report noted Pakistan’s continued failure to shut down terror financing. “FATF noted that UN-listed entities, including LeT and its affiliates, were not effectively prohibited from raising funds in Pakistan, or being denied financial services. Although Pakistan’s laws technically comply with international AML/CFT standards, authorities failed to uniformly implement UN sanctions related to designated entities and individuals such as LeT and its affiliates, which continued to make use of economic resources and raise funds.”
The report disapproved of Pakistan’s support for terrorists targeting Afghanistan. “Although the Pakistani government voiced support for political reconciliation between the Afghan government and the Afghan Taliban, it did not restrict the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani Network from operating in Pakistan-based safe havens and threatening US and Afghan forces .”
Pakistan has since then pushed the Afghan Taliban to participate in US-led peace talks, which appear to have resumed in recent days.