Pakistani spy agency strengthened Lashkar-e-Taiba: US intelligence officials

December 8th, 2008 - 2:24 pm ICT by IANS  

New York, Dec 8 (IANS) Militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), the main suspect in the Mumbai terrorist attack, built up its strength with the help of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), The New York Times said Monday quoting unnamed US intelligence and counterterrorism officials.In a front page report, The New York Times said though top US intelligence officials have not found, so far, a direct ISI link to the Mumbai attack, but this Pakistani spy agency did share intelligence with the LeT.

ISI also provided material and financial support to the LeT, whom both the US and Indian intelligence agencies say is responsible for the Mumbai terror outrage.

The leading US daily said the American intelligence and counter-terrorism officials are having a re-look at the capabilities of the LeT in view of the Mumbai attack.

“People are having to go back and re-look at all the connections,” an unnamed American counterterrorism official was quoted as saying by the paper.

Another US official was quoting as saying that Zarrar Shah, a communication specialist, is the terrorist outfit’s liaison with ISI. “He’s a central character in this plot,” the official said.

The newspaper said, even as Pakistan had banned Lashkar-e-Taiba in 2002, the terrorist outfit has maintained close relationship with ISI.

“American spy agencies have documented regular meetings between the ISI and Lashkar operatives, in which the two organisations have shared intelligence about Indian operations in Kashmir,” the newspaper said.

“It goes beyond information sharing to include some funding and training,” an American official, who follows the group closely, was quoted as saying. “These are not rogue ISI elements. What’s going on is done in a fairly disciplined way,” he added.

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