With Al Qaeda on the ropes, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), with the help of its Pakistani backers, is now probably the most dangerous terror group in the world, according to a former CIA analyst. The November 2008 attack by ten LeT terrorists on multiple targets in Mumbai, India was the most significant and innovative terrorist attack since 9/11, Bruce Riedel, Senior Fellow Foreign Policy at Brookings Institution, a Washington based think tank, wrote in The Daily Beast.
The Mumbai attack, he wrote, marked the maturation of LeT from a Punjabi-based Pakistani terror group targeting India exclusively to a member of the global Islamic jihad targeting the enemies of al Qaeda: the Crusader West, Zionist Israel, and Hindu India.
The arrest of Sayeed Zabiuddin Ansari, alias Abu Jundal, one of the masterminds of the Mumbai attack, by India is a major breakthrough in the investigation of the deadliest terror attack in the world since 9/11, Riedel said.
"He is already confessing to his role and implicating Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) directorate directly in controlling the attack as it went down," he noted.
"If the press reports about Abu Jundal's accusations are confirmed then the ISI was involved directly in the decision to murder Americans," Riedel said.
The Saudi role in capturing Abu Jindal is also significant, he wrote noting Riyadh is Islamabad's closest ally and the ISI has very strong links with its Saudi counterparts.
If Saudi Arabia is now ready to act against LeT then the group will face some financial trouble as the Pakistani community in the Kingdom and the Gulf states has long been a major source of the LeT's finances, Riedel wrote.
However, LeT operates freely in Pakistan and has continuing connections with the Pakistani intelligence service and army, he said. LeT has a global presence, with cells throughout South Asia, the Persian Gulf, and into Europe, Australia and North America.
"With al Qaeda on the ropes, LeT, with the help of its Pakistani backers, is now probably the most dangerous terror group in the world," he concluded.