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Friday, August 13, 2010

ISI-backed LeT establishing junction in Bangladesh to launch attacks on India

Photo: Lashkar-e-Taiba training camps location bordering disputed Kashmir international border

THE ARREST of three Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) operatives from a madrassa in Chittagong, one of Bangladesh's largest cities, in November last year, has underlined the expanding reach of the Pakistan based militant group, and security analysts believe that militants are now trying to establish their base in the country to launch attacks on India that could inflame regional troubles.

The LeT, which carried out the deadly November 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, is believed to be working swiftly to prepare a base for itself in Bangladesh from where it can target India easily.

The Bangladesh government has been trying hard to check the spread of the extremist group, but the country's internal political squabbling is making the task difficult.

"Unfortunately, Bangladesh has become the junction point of people who are interested in militancy. It is not likely to be eradicated very soon. The two major political parties have never been able to come to a common approach to the problem," The Christian Science Monitor quoted a former army official and a security analyst Syed Muhammed Ibrahim, as saying.

US military experts and Western military officials have also raised concerns over the LeT's expanding movement.

"Right now our concern is the movement of Lashkar-e-Taiba, and specifically their positioning in Bangladesh and Nepal, the Maldives, and Sri Lanka," Admiral Robert Willard, head of the US Navy's Pacific Command, had told a recent Senate hearing.

"What LeT has been able to do is lay a very solid foundation in Bangladesh. They're playing for the longer game. They're building up the infrastructure, building up the support networks," said John Harris, a terrorism expert at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore.

The greater cause of worry, as underlined by the official who led the last November raids on the Chittagong madrassa, is the arrested extremists' claim of getting assistance from the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI).

"They explained that the ISI helped them with the preparation of their passports. They were taken to Pakistan for training. They are all here to organize attacks against India," the official, who requested anonymity, said. (Asian News International)

First published in Sify, August 8, 2010

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