LeT can't replace al Qaeda: expert
Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden's death has badly weakened the terrorust group and deprived Islamic extremists.
Washington: While Pakistani terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), blamed for the Mumbai terror attacks, is unlikely to replace Al Qaeda at the forefront of global jihad, it has the capability to threaten the US, a counter-terrorism expert says.
Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden's death has badly weakened the terrorust group and deprived Islamic extremists of their most visible leader, but even with his death LeT is unlikely to take its place, Stephen Tankel told the House Homeland Security Committee on Tuesday.
"Lashkar-e-Taiba is one of Pakistan's oldest and most powerful militant groups," said Tankel, a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a Washington think tank.
However, "dismantling LeT must be a gradual process in order to avoid provoking a major backlash that could destabilise Pakistan or cause the group's transnational operatives to be unleashed," he said.
Asking Washington to deliver a clear message to Pakistan, Tankel said the United States should continue to signal to Pakistan the severe repercussions that would result if LeT or elements within it were involved in an attack against American interests at home or abroad.
The United States should push Pakistan to provide intelligence regarding LeT's international networks and begin taking steps to dismantle LeT's training apparatus in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, he said.
Washington should also push for a programme to disarm, demobilise, and reintegrate militants, he said suggesting the US should partner with a third country, possibly Saudi Arabia, to spur Pakistan's launch of a formal programme to reintegrate LeT fighters back into society.
Such a programme could then be used to deactivate militants from LeT as well as other extremist organizations within Pakistan, Tankel said.
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