Lashkar-e-Taiba

Lashkar-e-Taiba
لشکر طیبہ
Flag of Lashkar-e-Taiba.svg
Flag of Lashkar-e-taiba
IdeologyAhl al-Hadith (Salafi)[1]
Political positionFar-right[2][3]
Motive(s)Integration of Jammu and Kashmir with Pakistan after ending Indian rule in the state & propagation of pan-Islamism in South Asia[4]
LeaderHafiz Muhammad Saeed
HeadquartersMuridke in Punjab, Pakistan
Area of operationsPakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh[4]
Size500 (Afghanistan)[5][6]
100 (Pakistan-administrated Kashmir)
AlliesState allies

Non-State allies

Opponent(s)State opponents

Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT, Urdu: لشکر طیبہ[ˈləʃkər eː ˈt̪ɛːjbaː]; literally Army of the Good, translated as Army of the Righteous, or Army of the Pure and alternatively spelled as Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, Lashkar-e-Toiba; Lashkar-i-Taiba; Lashkar-i-Tayyeba)[7][8][9] is one of the largest and most active Islamist militant organisations in South Asia,[10] operating mainly from Pakistan.[11] It was founded in 1987 by Hafiz Saeed, Abdullah Azzam and Zafar Iqbal[12][13][14][15] with funding from Osama bin Laden.[16][17] Its headquarters are in Muridke, near Lahore in Punjab province of Pakistan,[8] and the group operates several training camps in Pakistan-administered Kashmir.[18]

Lashkar-e-Taiba has been accused by India of attacking military and civilian targets in India, most notably the 2001 Indian Parliament attack, the 2008 Mumbai attacks and the 2019 Pulwama attack on Armed Forces.[19] Its stated objective is to introduce an Islamic state in South Asia and to "liberate" Muslims residing in Indian Kashmir.[20][21] The organization is banned as a terrorist organization by India,[22] the United States,[23] the United Kingdom,[24] the European Union,[25] Russia, Australia,[26] and the United Nations (under the UNSC Resolution 1267 Al-Qaeda Sanctions List).[27] Though formally banned by Pakistan,[28][29] the general view of India and the Western countries, including of experts such as former French investigating magistrate Jean-Louis Bruguière and New America Foundation president Steve Coll, is that Pakistan's main intelligence agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), continues to give LeT help and protection.[30][31]

Whilst LeT remains banned in Pakistan, the political arm of the group, Jamat ud Dawah (JuD) has remained un-banned for spans of time.[28][29][32] As of February 2019, it is deemed as a proscribed organisation per an order of the Interior Ministry.[33]

Objectives

While the primary area of operations of LeT's militant activities is the Kashmir Valley, their professed goal is not limited to challenging India's sovereignty over Jammu and Kashmir.

LeT sees the issue of Kashmir as part of a wider global struggle.[34] The group has adopted maximalist agenda of global jihad though its operations have so far been limited to Kashmir. The group justifies its ideology on verse 2:216 of the Quran. Extrapolating from this verse, the group asserts that military jihad is a religious obligation of all Muslims and defines the many circumstances under which it must be carried out. In a pamphlet entitled "Why Are We Waging Jihad?", the group states that all of India along with many other countries were once ruled by Muslims and were Muslim lands, which is their duty to take it back from the non-Muslims. It declared United States, India, and Israel as "existential enemies of Islam".[35][36] LeT believes that jihad is the duty of all Muslims and must be waged until eight objectives are met: ending persecution against Muslims, establishing Islam as the dominant way of life in the world, forcing disbelievers to pay jizya (a tax on non-Muslims), fighting for the weak and feeble against oppressors, exacting revenge for killed Muslims, punishing enemies for violating oaths and treaties, defending all Muslim states, and recapturing occupied Muslim territory. The group construes lands once ruled by Muslims as Muslim lands and considers it as their duty to get them back. It embraces a pan-Islamist rationale for military action.[37][35]

Although it views Pakistan's ruling powers as hypocrites, it doesn't support revolutionary jihad at home because the struggle in Pakistan "is not a struggle between Islam and disbelief". The pamphlet "Why do we do Jihad?" states, "If we declare war against those who have professed Faith, we cannot do war with those who haven’t." The group instead seeks reform through dawa. It aims to bring Pakistanis to LeT's interpretation of Ahl-e-Hadith Islam and thus, transforming the society in which they live.[37]

LeT's leaders have argued that Indian-administered Kashmir was the closest occupied land, and observed that the ratio of occupying forces to the population there was one of the highest in the world, meaning this was among the most substantial occupations of Muslim land. Thus, LeT cadres could volunteer to fight on other fronts but were obligated to fight in Indian-administered Kashmir.[37]

The group was also said to be motivated by the 1992 demolition of the Babri Mosque by Hindu nationalists, for attacks directed against India.[38]

In the wake of the November 2008 Mumbai attacks, investigations of computer and email accounts revealed a list of 320 locations worldwide deemed as possible targets for attack. Analysts believed that the list was a statement of intent rather than a list of locations where LeT cells had been established and were ready to strike.[39]

In January 2009, LeT publicly declared that it would pursue a peaceful resolution in the Kashmir issue and that it did not have global jihadist aims, but the group is still believed to be active in several other spheres of anti-Indian terrorism.[40] The disclosures of Abu Jundal, who was extradited to India by the Saudi Arabian government, however, revealed that LeT is planning to revive militancy in Jammu and Kashmir and conduct major terror strikes in India.

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