Pakistan is a state where those who push the bounds of what is acceptable to the military and Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate, including jihadists, politicians, journalists, and activists, end up missing or are found murdered. Pakistan has weathered nearly two decades of international condemnation over Saeed and Lashkar-e-Taiba, yet he and his terrorist entities have not only survived, but thrived.
If history is any guide, Laskahr-e-Taiba leader Hafiz Saeed and his cadre will dodge the charges and continue to provide support to a wide range of terrorist groups, including al Qaeda and the Afghan Taliban.
According to a recently released report by a UN Security Council monitoring team, the Taliban is the “primary partner for all foreign terrorist groups operating in Afghanistan,” including al Qaeda. The only exception is the Islamic State, which opposes the Taliban.
An 18-year-old man from North Texas has pleaded guilty to charges that he conspired to actively recruit for the Pakistani-backed terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), according to a release from the Department of Justice last week.
If the past is any guide, the efforts are merely eyewash to placate Western governments in the wake of major terror attacks emanating from Pakistani soil. Pakistan has claimed it has shut down JuD offices and detained its top leaders in the past, only to allow the offices to reopen and the leaders free months later.
Khan’s claim that “our [Pakistani] soil is not used for carrying out terrorist attacks in other countries” is remarkably similar, if not identical to the Afghan Taliban’s false assurances that it won’t allow its territory to be used by terror groups.
The US Treasury and State Departments designated three members of Lashkar-e-Tayyiba as terrorists today. One of them was captured in Iraq in 2004 and held for a decade before he was transferred to Pakistan and released. Another has raised funds to send to Syria.
The designations are the latest in a series of moves by the Trump administration to pressure Pakistan to tackle terrorist groups that openly operate inside the country with the approval and support of both the military and government.