01 December 2008

Indian Police Blame Laskhar-e-Taiba, Pak-Indian Tensions Getting Ugly

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

As the smoke clears from the abominable atrocities committed in Mumbai, speculation of how nations respond and whodunnit abound throughout the international media. Jules Crittenden has a pretty good round-up of what's being said, and, unsurprisingly, India's leadership is enraged. It's no secret that nuclear-armed Pakistan and India are not the greatest of friends, and reportedly the thugs responsible came from a terrorist group in Pakistan. From the Daily Mail:
One police officer said: ‘That, thankfully, never happened because we managed to stop them.’ Police insist that Kasab confessed to being a member of the Pakistani terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba, which has denied involvement in the carnage, and claimed he and the others were trained in the Muslim country.
Long War Journal has a pretty good synopsis of the Lashkar-e-Taiba:
Indian and US intelligence officials believe the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba was behind the attacks. The capture of Kasab, along with signals intelligence, and a satellite phone and GPS recovered by police indicate the group was behind the attack.

The Indian Mujahideen -- a front group for the Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Harkat ul Jihad al Islami, and the Students Islamic Movement of India -- claimed responsibility for the attack. The Indian Mujahideen has been behind several mass-casualty terror attacks in India over the past two years.

Lashkar-e-Taiba has an extensive network in southern and Southeast Asia. A senior US military intelligence official described the group as "al Qaeda junior," as it has vast resources, an extensive network, and is able to carry out complex attacks throughout its area of operations. "If by some stroke of luck al Qaeda collapsed, LeT (Lashkar-e-Taiba) could step in and essentially take its place."

The relationship between al Qaeda and Lashkar-e-Taiba is complex, the official noted. "While Lashkar-e-Taiba is definitely subordinate to al Qaeda in many ways, it runs its own network and has its own command structure. The groups often train in each others' camps, and fight side by side in Afghanistan."
If this terrorist attack in Mumbai was backed by Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence, like the suicide bombing on the Indian Embassy in Kabul, the hostility between the nations will only get worse. There's also reports that Pakistani troops are being pulled from the northwestern tribal areas to be garrisoned along the Indian border. Pakistan's new democratic government deserves international support, but they have to be held accountable for allowing terrorism to fester inside their borders. A tough tightrope to walk for a nation like the U.S. A successful Indian entrepreneur writes in the WSJ that this is Obama's first international challenge. The stakes are incredibly high and the consequences for failed policy are enormous. I hope our next president doesn't let us down, because solutions to Pakistan's terrorist problem are not easy to come by.

From the mind of Barack Obama "I picked the wrong week to quit smoking!"