In addition to expatriate donors such as Tahawwur Rana, charity funneled through its Jamaat-ud-Dawa front group, private donors from rich Arabs in the Gulf, zakat collections in Kashmiri mosques, and hawala, the terrorist organization Lashkar-e-Taiba (meaning Army of the Pure) relies on state sponsorship from the Pakistan’s ISI spy service.
The Encyclopedia of Modern Worldwide Extremists and Extremist Groups says that LeT “was founded in 1987 with funding provided by Saudi Islamist Osama bin laden. Both financial and material support for the Lashkar-e-Taiba has also come from the Pakistan security forces Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).”
In his book Obama’s War, investigative journalist Bob Woodward says LeT “was created and continues to be supported by the Pakistani ISI.”
Asia Times provided these details last year about LeT’s financing:
…LeT runs a number of training centers in Khyber Pakhtunkhwah province, Sindh, Balochistan, Punjab and Pakistan-administered Kashmir. The objective is to have an office and a center in every district of Pakistan. LeT spends about US$330 on each trainee for its Daura-e-Aam (basic) course and about $1,700 per trainee in the advanced three-month course, with running costs in excess of $5 million a year.
The army and the ISI make contributions at training camps, with Pakistan’s Herald Magazine reporting in June 2006 that ISI payoffs have reached as much as $50,000-60,000 every month. The other key source of LeT money is Islamic charities across the world, particularly those based in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) . Inside Pakistan, LeT acts primarily as a Dawa group promoting a radical interpretation of Islam, much on the lines of its Wahhabi patrons in the Gulf.
These links brings LeT an enormous amount of petro-dollars through donations to madrassas and mosques in Punjab. In 2008, the US estimated these funds at over $100 million a year. Some Pakistani business houses in Punjab also support the group by giving money and food…
If the estimate is accurate that Lashkar-e-Taiba receives over $100 million a year, that would place LeT it in the top tier of the best financed terrorist organizations in the world above al-Shabaab and closing in on Hamas.
LeT’s stated objective is:
[U]niting 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.
All previous Money Jihad coverage of LeT can be found here.