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Appendix F – Statement of Reasons – Lashkar-e-Tayyiba

Also known as: al Mansooreen; al Mansoorian; Army of Medina;

Army of the Pure; Army of the Pure and Righteous; Army of the Righteous; Falah‑e‑Insaniyat Foundation; Idara Khidmat-e-Khalq; Jama'at al-Dawa; Jama'at‑i‑Dawat; Jamaati-ud-Dawa; Jamaat ud-Daawa; Jama'at-ud-Da'awa;

Jama'at-ud-Da'awah; Jamaat-ud-Dawa; Jama’at ul-Da’awa;

Jamaat-ul-Dawa; Jamaat ul-Dawah; Jamaiat-ud- Dawa; JuD; JUD;

Lashkar-e-Taiba; Lashkar-e-Tayyaba; Lashkar-e-Toiba; Lashkar-i-Tayyaba; Lashkar‑i-Toiba; Lashkar-Tayyiba; LeT; LT; Paasban-e-Ahle-Hadis;

Paasban-e-Kashmir; Paasban-i-Ahle- Hadith; Party of the Calling;

Party of Preachers; Pasban-e-Ahle-Hadith; Pasban-e-Kashmir;

Soldiers of the Pure; and Tehreek-e-Tahafuz Qibla Awal.

The following information is based on publicly available details about Lashkar‑e‑Tayyiba (LeT).  To the Australian Government’s knowledge, these details are accurate and reliable and have been corroborated by classified information. 

Basis for listing a terrorist organisation

Division 102 of the Criminal Code provides that for an organisation to be listed as a terrorist organisation, the Attorney-General must be satisfied on reasonable grounds that the organisation:

(a)    is directly or indirectly engaged in, preparing, planning, or assisting in or fostering the doing of a terrorist act (whether or not a terrorist act has occurred or will occur); or

(b)   advocates the doing of a terrorist act (whether or not a terrorist act has occurred or will occur).

Details of the organisation

Objectives

LeT is a Sunni Islamic extremist organisation based in Pakistan that uses violence in pursuit of its stated objective of uniting Indian administered Kashmir (IAK) with Pakistan under a radical interpretation of Islamic law. LeT’s broader objectives include to establish an Islamic Caliphate across the Indian subcontinent, and to reclaim all ‘occupied Muslim lands’ in southern Spain and the Balkans. To this end, LeT intends to pursue the ‘liberation’, not only of Muslim-majority Kashmir, but of all India’s Muslim population, even in areas where they do not form a majority. LeT has declared that democracy is antithetical to Islamic law and that LeT’s jihad requires it to work toward turning Pakistan itself into a purely Islamic state.

LeT was formed circa 1989as the military wing of the Pakistan-based Islamist fundamentalist movement Markaz al-Dawa wal Irshad (MDI – meaning Centre for Religious Learning and Propagation) and also known as the Jamaat al-Daawa). Originally formed to wage militant jihad against the occupation of Afghanistan by the Soviet Union, LeT shifted its focus to the insurgency in IAKin the 1990s, after Soviet troops withdrew from Afghanistan.

In 2002, LeT was banned by the Pakistani government but the group continues to operate in Pakistan under the alias Jamaat ud-Dawa (JuD). Ostensibly created as a charitable organisation by LeT founder Hafiz Muhammad Saeed immediately prior to LeT being banned, JuD functions as a front organisation for LeT in order to mask its activities and to continue to solicit funds.  The United Nations (UN) Security Council listed JuD as an LeT alias on 10 December 2008.

While IAK and broader Indian interests remain LeT’s primary focus, there is always a potential for splinter groups to emerge who want to re-focus their activities and bring them more into line with al-Qa’ida’s ‘global jihad’ against the US and Israel and their allies. However, LeT’s primary objective remains the ‘liberation’ of Muslims in IAK.

Leadership

The recognised leader of LeT, Hafiz Muhammad Saeed was arrested in February 2006 for leading violent protests in response to a Danish newspaper publishing cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad. Many Muslims worldwide considered the cartoons blasphemous.

He was arrested again in August 2006 in the wake of British police disrupting a plot by British citizens to detonate explosives on multiple airplanes mid-flight en route from London to the United States. He has since been detained and subsequently released by Pakistani authorities on several occasions.

On 10 December 2008, the United Nations (UN) Security Council 1267 Committee approved the addition of Hafiz Muhammad Saeed to its consolidated list of individuals and entities subject to assets freeze, travel bans and arms embargo measures. Also in December 2008, the then US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, identified Saeed as responsible for the November 2008 attacks in Mumbai which killed more than 170 people. Rice sought Pakistan’s support to apprehend Saeed in relation to his and LeT’s links to the attack.  Saeed was detained again, under house arrest, but was released in June 2009 as the Lahore High Court ruled his detention unconstitutional.  Saeed is still considered LeT’s leader.

In April 2012, the US State Department announced a US$10 million reward for the capture or information leading to the arrest and conviction of Saeed. As of October 2011, LeT chief of operations Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi continues to communicate with LeT members and co‑ordinate LeT activities despite being detained in Central Jail Rawalpindi (commonly known as Adiala Jail) for his leading role in the 2008 Mumbai attacks. Lakhvi was arrested along with several other LeT members on 7 December 2009 and is yet to stand trial. Lakhvi’s orders from the jail have included directing LeT fighters to step up violence in the Kashmir Valley.

Membership

LeT’s estimated strength is reported to include several hundred trained militants. The majority of LeT’s membership consists of jihadists from Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Recruitment and funding

LeT receives funding from donors in the Middle East, mainly Saudi Arabia, and through charitable donations collected from sympathisers in Pakistan, Kashmir, the United Kingdom and Persian Gulf states.

Terrorist activity of the organisation

Directly or indirectly engaged in the doing of terrorist acts

LeT is one of the most active of the Pakistan-based Kashmir-focused militant groups. LeT has directly engaged in, prepared and planned numerous terrorist attacks, including bombings, assassinations and kidnappings against Indian security forces (military and police), government assets, transport and civilians in the disputed territory as well as in India.

Indian and Pakistani initiatives to resolve the Kashmir situation have led to an overall reduction in the level of infiltration and insurgent activity since 2002. However, LeT continues to engage militarily with Indian security forces on a regular basis. Several attacks in IAK have been attributed to the group by Indian authorities, including the massacre of over thirty Hindus in two separate attacks in the Doda and Udhampur districts on 1 May 2006. The attacks occurred two days prior to peace talks between the Indian government and Kashmiri separatist groups, and were condemned by India as an attempt by LeT to sabotage the Kashmir peace process. At least 19 LeT insurgents and ten Indian soldiers died during running clashes in Kupwara district in March-April 2009.  Smaller scale engagements occur on a regular basis, primarily targeting Indian security forces, but also directed against non‑Muslim civilians.

LeT is also widely held to have directly engaged in a number of significant attacks in India in recent years.  In November 2008, LeT members killed more than 170 people, including two Australians, in an attack on the Indian financial hub, Mumbai.  Other attacks include the 11 July 2006 serial bombings on trains in Mumbai and the 29 October 2005 serial explosions at marketplaces in New Delhi, which together killed more than 260 people. While two little‑known groups claimed responsibility for the Mumbai and New Delhi attacks, subsequent investigations have led Indian authorities to conclude LeT was behind both attacks.

Significant attacks for which responsibility has been claimed by or reliably attributed to the LeT include:

  • October 2011: An LeT militant killed a policeman in Srinagar. Police arrested the gunman, who claimed during his interrogation that LeT had revived plans to assassinate police officers;
  • January 2011: Suspected LeT militants kidnapped two girls from their home and then killed them in Sopore, IAK;
  • August 2010: An Indian soldier and three suspected LeT militants were killed in a two-day gun battle in IAK;
  • April 2009: LeT claimed responsibility for a bomb which killed five people and wounded eight others in Poonch, IAK;
  • November 2008: LeT members conducted an attack on the Indian financial hub, Mumbai. More than 170 people were killed in this attack, including two Australians. The attack was aimed at important infrastructure and public places. The attackers used sophisticated insertion techniques and conducted their coordinated attack with small arms and explosives;
  • September 2008: A number of LeT militants crossed into India and engaged Indian border forces along the Line of Control in the Poonch district. Several militants and border troopers were killed;
  • February 2007: Attack on a Central Reserve Police Forces (CRPF) patrol party, which killed two CRPF officers;
  • July 2006: Serial bombings on trains in Mumbai, which killed more than 200 people;
  • June 2006: Joint responsibility with Hizb-ul-Mujahideen for the kidnap and killing of seven Nepalese civilians and one Indian civilian in Kulgam, IAK;
  • May 2006: Attack on a Youth Congress rally at Sher-e-Kashmir Park in Srinagar, which killed three political activists and two police officers;
  • May 2006: Killing of 34 Hindu civilians in Doda and Udhampur districts, IAK;
  • November 2005: Car bomb attack near the main entrance of the IAK Bank Corporate Headquarters in Srinagar, which killed four civilians and injured 72 others;  and
  • October 2005: Coordinated bomb attacks at marketplaces and on a bus in New Delhi, which killed over 60 people.

Directly or indirectly preparing and/or planning terrorist acts

LeT operates a number of camps in Pakistan which provide both religious instruction and military style guerrilla training and support. Since proscribing LeT as a terrorist organisation in 2002, the Pakistani authorities have acted to close some LeT and JuD camps.  A number of LeT training facilities are now smaller in scale, with some being mobile, and are focused on preparing jihadists for low-intensity, hit-and- run type operations, in which the attackers are not expected to survive.

In February 2012, Indian authorities arrested three men - two in South Delhi and one in Jharkhand - for their role in planning attacks against targets in the Chandni Chowk market in New Delhi and in Srinagar, IAK.  According to Indian authorities, a genuine and imminent LeT operation was disrupted. The plan was to use explosives and incendiary components to start a fire and inflict maximum casualties. 

Directly or indirectly assisting in or fostering the doing of terrorist acts

LeT is known to have trained foreigners to conduct terrorist operations. British citizens trained by LeT include Richard Reid, who tried to blow up a trans-Atlantic flight in 2001, and Dhiren Barot, who was convicted in 2006 of planning a bombing in London. Investigations indicate one of the British-born suicide bombers responsible for the 7 July 2005 attacks in London, Shehzad Tanweer, may have received training at a LeT camp in Pakistan. LeT is also suspected of providing some funding and logistical support to the disrupted British trans‑Atlantic plane bombing plot in August 2006 using JuD as a cover. 

Several individuals with links to LeT have been arrested in Australia, the US, and Canada since 2003 for allegedly planning terrorist activities. In March 2007, a French court convicted a French national, Willie Brigitte, for planning terrorist attacks in Australia in 2003 in conjunction with suspected LeT chief for external operations, Sajid Mir. Brigitte’s Australian associate, Faheem Khalid Lodhi, was also convicted of planning acts of terrorism by a New South Wales Supreme Court jury in June 2006; in June 2008, Lodhi lost an appeal to the High Court of Australia to have his case overturned.

In 2009, Sajid Mir worked with now-detained US extremist David Headley on an aborted plot to attack a newspaper office in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Australian citizen David Hicks has admitted to attending an LeT training camp in Kashmir in and around 2000.  Aside from facilitating training, it is not clear whether LeT sanctioned the terrorist activities of any of these foreign-born individuals.

Advocating the doing of terrorist acts

In October 2006, LeT issued a fatwa asking the Muslim community to kill Pope Benedict XVI, in response to a speech delivered by the Pope on 12 September 2006.

In December 2011, Hafiz Saeed vowed that the jihad to oust Indian forces from Kashmir would continue.

Conclusion

On the basis of the above information, ASIO assesses LeT continues to directly and/or indirectly engage in, prepare, plan, assist, advocate or foster the doing of terrorist acts involving threats to life and serious property damage. This assessment is corroborated by information provided by reliable and credible intelligence sources.

In the course of pursuing its objectives, LeT is known to have committed or threatened action:

  • that causes, or could cause, serious damage to property, the death of persons or endanger a person’s life; and
  • with the intention of advancing LeT’s political, religious or ideological causes; and
  • with the intention of intimidating the public and sections of the public.

Other relevant information

LeT maintains links to the Afghan Taliban and several Pakistani Islamist extremist groups, including the Kashmir-focused terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammed and the Sunni sectarian group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi. LeT is reported to have been involved with militant Islamists in other places where conflict involving Muslims have arisen, including Bosnia, Chechnya, Kosovo and Afghanistan. In 2004, several LeT operatives were captured by British forces in Iraq.

LeT is not engaged in any peace or mediation process.

LeT is listed in the UN 1267 Committee’s consolidated list and as a proscribed terrorist organisation by the governments of Canada, the United Kingdom, the United States, Pakistan and India.

 

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