5 years, 9 months ago
In The Evolving Jihadist Scene in Pakistan we discussed the al Qaeda strategy of co-opting other insurgents in Pakistan, such as the LeT, to a broader war against the West with more globalist designs and intentions than mere questions over Kashmir. The AP recently added another contribution to our knowledge with a recent report on cross border operations.
As the spotlight of the Afghan war focuses on the south, insurgent activity is increasing in parts of the east, with Arab and other foreign fighters linked to al-Qaida infiltrating across the rugged mountains with the help of Pakistani militants, Afghan and U.S. officials say …
Gen. Mohammed Zaman Mahmoodzai, head of Afghanistan’s border security force, told The Associated Press that infiltration by al-Qaida-linked militants has been increasing in his area since March.
“One out of three are Arabs,” he said, coming mostly from Pakistan’s Bajaur and Mohmand tribal areas where the Pakistan military is battling Pakistani Taliban insurgents …
A NATO official said he thought Mahmooodzai’s estimate of Arab infiltration was high but acknowledged that activity by foreign fighters was running “a little more than average” in the east. He said most of them were believed to be Pakistanis, Chechens and Tajiks although it was difficult to determine their origins.
In some cases, militants enter the country through legal crossing points such as Torkham, 35 miles east of Jalalabad. Mahmoodzai said the infiltrators carry fake passports and visas provided by Lashkar-e-Taiba, a Pakistan-based group that India blames for the 2008 attacks in the Indian city of Mumbai that left 166 people dead.
“We know it is Lashkar-e-Taiba because we have sources inside the Afghan Taliban,” Mahmoodzai said. “They said the Arabs are coming here through Lashkar-e-Taiba.”
Last month, the NATO-led command announced the capture of two Taliban commanders it said were helping Lashkar-e-Taiba (LASH-kar-e-TOY-bah) members slip into Afghanistan. In reporting the second arrest, a NATO statement referred to a “recent influx” of Lashkar-e-Taiba members into the eastern province of Nangarhar.
The mixture of insurgent groups adds to the complexity of the war in the east, often fought in terrain much more rugged and challenging than in the north or south.
The Haqqani group was believed to have played a major role in the Dec. 30 suicide bombing at a CIA base in the eastern province of Khost that killed seven agency employees.A NATO official said that if al-Qaida is in Afghanistan, it’s probably in Kunar, the eastern Afghan province along the Pakistani border where Osama bin Laden maintained bases in the 1990s. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not supposed to release the information to the media.
“The government is there by day, but by night it is the Taliban who are in control,” said Malik Naseer, who is running for parliament in next month’s election from a district of Nangarhar. “Residents say there are some foreigners among them.”The Pakistani agency helped organize Lashkar-e-Taiba, or Army of the Pure, two decades ago to launch attacks in Indian-controlled Kashmir, the disputed mountain region that lies at the heart of the rivalry between the two nuclear-armed nations.
Lashkar-e-Taiba, which the U.S. military refers to as LeT, is believed to have played a role in the Feb. 26, 2010 car bombing and suicide attack on two guesthouses in Kabul frequented by Indians, and in the October 2008 car bombing at the gates of the Indian Embassy that killed more than 60 people …
“I’ve watched them since 2008 … move to the West, become more active in other countries and more active throughout the region and more engaged with other terrorist groups,” the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, told Pakistani reporters in Islamabad last month. “So there is an increased level of concern with respect to where LeT is and where it appears to be headed.”
Christine Fair, assistant professor at Georgetown University’s Center for Peace and Security Studies, says Lashkar-e-Taiba has been attacking coalition soldiers in Afghanistan since 2004. Fair said she has tracked Lashkar-e-Taiba operations in several eastern Afghan provinces, including Kunar, Baghlan, Nangarhar, Logar and Nuristan.
The NATO official speculated that Lashkar-e-Taiba is using Afghanistan to “get up their jihadi street credentials” among the militants’ support base.
We are watching the continuing evolution of the LeT from a home grown insurgency focused on Kashmir to one with internationalist intentions. In the battle to make international insurgents more locally oriented when they show up, versus making home grown insurgents more internationally oriented, the globalists are winning. Was there ever really any chance that it would have been any other way? Was there ever any doubt?