LeT responsible for attack at Indian consulate in Herat: US
There is credible evidence that Pakistan-based terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) was responsible for the terror attack on the Indian consulate in Afghanistan’s Herat province: US
Washington: There is credible evidence that Pakistan-based terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) was responsible for the terror attack on the Indian consulate in Afghanistan’s Herat province, the US has said.
“Based on credible information, the US Government has assessed that LeT was responsible for the attack in Herat on May 23rd, 2014. This is the attack on the Indian consulate (in Herat)”, State Department spokesperson Marie Harf said yesterday while announcing additional sanctions against LeT affiliates and leaders.
However, given the sensitive nature of the information, she refused to divulge details about the credible information, based on which LeT was held responsible for the attack on Indian Consulate in Herat.
Coming three days before the swearing-in ceremony of Narendra Modi as Prime Minister of India, it was apparently part LeT’s effort to derail his SAARC initiative.
Modi had invited the heads of the states of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) nations including Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for his swearing-in ceremony in New Delhi on May 26.
“We make our assessments based on a wide range of all-source information. In this case we believe, based on this information, it’s credible. We look at number of different sources that we gather on our own. We have assessed that LeT did perpetrate this attack,” Harf said.
On the eve of the swearing-in ceremony, Afghan President Hamid Karzai had told an Indian news channel that LeT was responsible for the terrorist attack and so did Indian Security agencies.
The Indian consulate in Herat was attacked on May 23 by four heavily-armed gunmen, who were subsequently killed in an encounter as India attributed the pre-dawn strike to terror elements “beyond the borders” of the war-torn country.
The US yesterday re-designated LeT as a terrorist organisation and added several of its frontal organizations to the list, including Jamaat-ud-Dawa, Al-Anfal Trust, Tehrik-e-Hurmat-e-Rasool, and Tehrik-e-Tahafuz Qibla Awwal.
“The designations help us cut off support and funding to LeT so they can’t undertake future attacks. Also, cooperation between the US and India has already led to several Mumbai terrorists – including David Headley, being brought to justice,” she said.
“So to date, the Department of Justice and FBI have provided extensive assistance to the Government of India in their investigations into the Mumbai attacks, including access to interview David Headley and substantial additional evidentiary evidence as well,” she added.
President Barack Obama and everyone have been very clear that the US will continue working to bring other perpetrators of this attack to justice, Harf said.
US also slapped sanctions against two LeT leaders Nazir Ahmad Chaudhry (Ahmad) and Muhammad Hussein Gill by designating them as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGTs) yesterday.
Ahmad has been an LeT senior leader since the early 2000s and has served as its vice-president, member of the group’s central leadership, and as close aide of its overall leader Muhammad Saeed.
Ahmad directed the group’s public relations department for at least ten years and, as of 2012, was the head of LeT’s information wing.
Ahmad has also been a key strategist for the group and has been involved in LeT operational finance matters. Gill is a senior LeT shura member and was an LeT founder.
He has been an accountant for LeT for more than ten years and more specifically, has served as its chief financial officer and headed its accounts department for several years.
He also has served in LeT’s revenue wing and has maintained its expense records.
Since its inception LeT has been focused on carrying out major terrorist attacks inside India.
LeT claimed responsibility for the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks that killed at least 166 people.
In 2011, LeT was responsible for multiple terror attacks, mostly in Jammu and Kashmir, and in 2012, LeT also claimed responsibility for an attack against an Indian army convoy in Kashmir that killed one civilian and injured two others, the State Department said.
LeT was designated as a terrorist organisation in December 2001.
Since the original designation, LeT has repeatedly changed its name in an effort to avoid sanctions.
More specifically, LeT created Jamaat-ud-Dawa as a front organisation, claiming that the group was an “organization for the preaching of Islam, politics, and social work”, the State Department said.
Al-Anfal Trust, Tehrik-e-Hurmat-e-Rasool (‘Movement for Defending the Honor of God’), and Tehrik-e-Tahafuz Qibla Awwal (‘Movement for Safeguarding the First Center of Prayer’) are also LeT front organisations, since at least 2011, LeT has used Al-Anfal Trust to procure goods from the Persian Gulf, it said.