A THREAT TO U.S. SECURITY
Professor Jesse Webster
Richard Heubach 4314751
Since the September 11th terrorist attacks on the United States, the U.S. government has taken considerable steps to ensure a similar attack cannot happen again. In guarding its citizens against the threat of terrorism from abroad and within, a prominent question of concern should be, ‘which organization could have the means and capabilities to pose a serious threat to the U.S’ current and future homeland security posture’? The organization would undoubtedly have to be well equipped, funded, have tactical and technical training, access to weapons, and an extreme ideology. Amongst the dozens of terror groups that aim to upset the interests of the U.S, there is one that stands out and meets the above criteria, the Lashkar-e-Taiba.
The Laskkar-e-Taiba, henceforth regarded to as the LeT, has a very strong foundation and extremely organized structure. The LeT can be traced back to 1985 as a small group called Jamaat-ud-Pawa; this group was dedicated to promoting an Ahl-e-Hadith version of Islam (Tankel 2011, 2). One year later, in 1986, Jamaat-ud-Pawa merged with an anti-Soviet jihadist group and continued to grow until 1990, where in the Kunar Province of Afghanistan, the LeT was officially formed (Tankel 2011, 3).
The founding members of the LeT are Hafez Saeed, Abdullah Azzam - who was bin Laden’s first mentor, and Zafar Iqbal (Tankel 2011, 3). The LeT was supported and trained in its early years by members of Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence Directorate (ISI), and has a very organized, military style chain of command (Tankel 2011, 4). Saeed, the Supreme Commander, is the head of the organization. Reporting to Saeed is a Deputy Supreme Commander and the Chief of Operations Commander. The Chief of Operations also oversees the Outfit Spokesman and the International Media Officer (SATP 2001). Next in the chain of command are two division commanders, the North Division and Central Division. Reporting to them is the Deputy Supreme Commander, who oversees three Area Deputy Commanders; the three areas consist of Bandipora, Lolab, and Sogam. Next are three area division commanders who oversee the areas of Baramulla, Handwara, and Budgam (SATP 2001). It should also be known that Saeed’s son, Talha, is the overseer of operations at the primary base camp, while Saeed’s son in law is the overseer of the Lahore office (SATP 2001). Considering the complexity and organization of the LeT’s structure, it is reasonable to conclude the group is well maintained and has some degree of discipline based on a military style template.
The complex and large command structure of the LeT is proportional to the organization’s area of operation. The LeT’s primary headquarters is located in Muridke, near Lahore, in the Punjab Province of Pakistan (SATP 2001). The headquarters itself is over
200 acres and houses a seminary, hospital, market, residential area for ‘scholars’, a fish farm, and vast agricultural tracts (SATP 2001). The LeT hosts several training camps, a majority of which are located in Pakistan administered Kashmir; the headquarters in Muridke serves as a training ground for the organization’s ideological instruction (SATP 2001). Within several tribal areas of Pakistan, the LeT conducts the Daura Khaas, a weaponry and advanced combat skills training course (Swami 2008). It is also important to note that throughout the region, the LeT operates sixteen Islamic Institutions, 135 secondary schools, an ambulance service, mobile clinics, and blood banks (SATP 2001). The LeT provides both its militants and religious scholars with rigorous training courses. Militants are subjected to a two month course in the instruction and use of the AK series assault rifle, large machine guns, various hand guns, rocket launchers, and hand grenades (SATP 2001).