Lashkar’s Jehad

Published: February 22, 2012 - 15:27 Updated: February 23, 2012 - 16:02

<p><b>After the Mumbai carnage, the LeT is spreading its wings</b></p><p><b>Sadiq Naqvi Delhi <br /></b><b><br /></b><strong><span style="color: #ff0000; font-size: small;">Book: Storming the World Stage: The Story of Lashkar-e-Taiba</span></strong></p><p><strong><span style="color: #ff0000; font-size: small;">Author: Stephen Tankel</span></strong></p><p><strong><span style="color: #ff0000; font-size: small;">Publisher: Hachette India&nbsp;</span></strong></p><p><strong><span style="color: #ff0000; font-size: small;">Pages: 352</span></strong></p><p><strong><span style="color: #ff0000; font-size: small;">Price: 550</span></strong></p><p><strong><span style="color: #ff0000; font-size: small;">Year: &nbsp;2011</span></strong></p><p><b><i>Storming the World</i></b><i> </i><i>Stage</i> is a fascinating story of a blood lust ridden terror outfit which has spanned its influence in the whole of South Asia. An important constituent of the Salafist movement, which shuns the centuries old Sufi traditions and calls for a puritan form of Islam, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) has been at the forefront implementing its agenda in the region, mainly through <i>jehad</i>, but also veiled behind some charity work.&nbsp;</p><p>Its roots go back to 1982, when Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, the alleged mastermind of the 26/11 Mumbai carnage, had gone to the hotbed of insurgency, Paktita, in Afghanistan, to wage a war against the Soviets. Then he was fighting alongside the Deobandis, and believed that they were not waging the war in accordance with the <i>Sharia</i>. Lashkar, during the course of its two-decade-old operations, has been an antagonist of the Deobandi militant outfits, despite fighting alongside them in some instances. In 1986, Lashkar’s parent organisation, Markaz-al-Dawa-wal-Irshad (MDI), was formed to organise the Ahl-e-Hadith Pakistani ‘Mujahideens’ fighting in Afghanistan. Most Pakistanis follow the Barelvi school which is more plural and tolerant. Lashkar was formed in 1990 mainly as a militant outfit with MDI now limiting itself to charity. After sanctions, MDI was renamed as Jamat-ud-Dawa.&nbsp;</p><p>Stephen Tankel, in this well-researched and authoritative work, argues that there is an imminent duality in Lashkar’s way of operations. And that it operates on two fronts. One, as a missionary and militant outfit, and second, as a proxy in the hands of its ISI handlers promoting Pakistani interests in the region, mainly against India, and as a Pan-Islamist group dedicated to eliminating ‘infidels’.&nbsp;</p><p>LeT draws most of its operatives from the lower middle class, mainly the youth who can easily be brainwashed in the <i>madrasa</i>s where religious education laced with anti-India hatred is imparted to them. With its coffers in good shape, the militants are reportedly paid up to 5,000 euros a year. The funds come from private donors, the Wahabbis in the Gulf, and from the ISI.&nbsp;</p><p>LeT has become relatively independent and one of the most trusted proxies operating in Kashmir. Riding on the sentiment for <i>azadi</i>, its operatives mingle with the local populace, launching attacks on the Indian security apparatus. There are instances when LeT militants forced themselves on the locals, sometimes even raping women inside homes, as the book documents.&nbsp;</p><p>Lashkar operates with a contradiction of sorts. Its operatives are deeply involved in Kashmiri separatism; they are also fighting to secure the Federally Administered Tribal Area (FATA), where Pashtun nationalists are fighting for a separate land. In the post-9/11 set-up, Tankel says, Lashkar remained one of the most deadly weapons in Pervez Musharraf’s arsenal due to its capabilities to launch attacks on India. However, with the war in Afghanistan at its peak, it was becoming difficult for the Lashkar to ignore global <i>jehad</i>. In 2006, it entered the Afghan theatre of war. It’s intimacy with the Pakistani military establishment has put it at loggerheads with the other Deobandi outfits like the Pakistani Taliban.</p><blockquote><p><span style="color: #808080; font-size: large;"><span style="color: #999999;"><span style="color: #808080;">Lashkar operates on two fronts. One, as missionary and militant outfit and second, as a proxy in the hands of its ISI handlers promoting Pakistani interests in the region, mainly against India, and as a Pan-Islamist group dedicated to eliminating 'infidels</span>'</span>&nbsp;</span></p></blockquote><p>The 2008 attack on Mumbai, Tankel argues, was an attempt to maintain the hold of the LeT as the main actor in the current <i>jehadi</i> milieu. It was also meant to keep it aloof from the attacks on Pakistan by indigenous, fundamentalist outfits. It is argued that the Mumbai attack had little effect on Lashkar’s structures and capabilities, with the <br /> Pakistani leadership refraining from taking any serious action against them, despite consistent diplomatic offensive by India.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p>

<p>After the Mumbai carnage, the LeT is spreading its wings<br />Sadiq Naqvi Delhi</p>

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