Posts Tagged ‘Lashkar-e-Taiba’

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Islamic charity funded Mumbai terror attacks

July 11, 2014

Many of us will long remember the images of smoke billowing up from the Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai on Nov. 26, 2008, as a result of the wider operation that would become known in India as the 26/11 terrorist attacks that left 160 dead.

It has been presumed since then that hawala, the traditional Islamic money transfer system, was involved in the financing of the attack, which Money Jihad also believed helped the perpetrators. However, it is now beginning to appear, based on accounts from India’s Intelligence Bureau, that the Islamic charity known as Jamaat-ud-Dawa and its imams were actually behind the equivalent of $200,000 in payments, and that the money was transferred in small increments outside of the hawala system.

Rediff.com reports (h/t Geuzen):

‘JuD used charity money to fund Mumbai 26/11 attacks’

An Intelligence Bureau dossier has revealed that an amount of around Rs 1,17,37,820 was spent to carry out the Mumbai 26/11 terror attack by Pakistan sponsored Lashkar-e-Tayiba. The dossier is significant considering the recent ban on the Jamaat-ud-Dawa — Lashkar’s financial wing — imposed by the United States of America.

The JuD has been raising funds under the garb of charity and diverting it for terror activities particularly against India. The IB dossier details the manner in which the JuD raised funds for the 26/11 attack and diverted it to the Lashkar coffers.

The JuD has 50,000 members and each one is assigned a specific task of raising money under the pretext of charity, says the dossier. Until the year 2002, the Lashkar enjoyed the open backing of the Pakistan government. But after they chose to be more discreet, the JuD was floated to channelise funds.

The IB has said that its dossier was prepared based on statements made by Pakistani-American Lashkar-e-Tayiba terrorist David Headley and intelligence collected from various sources. The dossier states the expenditure for the 26/11 Mumbai attacks were divided into four parts.

The money spent on the ten terrorists, including the pay off to their families and their training, was around 130,000 US dollars. The Lashkar spent 25,000 US dollars on weapons and 500 dollars for the VOIP accounts through which communication was maintained through the operation.

Headley had said that he received an amount of 40,000 US dollars from the Lashkar to carry out surveillance and other expenditure during his visits to India.

The dossier also states that funding for the JuD comes from sympathisers based out of Saudi Arabia. People who subscribe to the Wahabi school of thought contribute the most. Till date many donors contribute money for the Lashkar’s fight in Kashmir.

JuD members travel across the world to collect funds. When planning for the 26/11 attacks commenced a core team was constituted to collect funds. The Lashkar ensured that majority of the funds were collected through donations and every JuD office had a box that read charity on it. While 60 per cent of the funds came from Pakistanis settled in Saudi Arabia and Britain the rest was collected through open donations in Pakistan, the dossier states. It was around this time that the Islamic Society in the Gulf was revived and contributions began to pour in.

Since 2002, the Lashkar has devised several methods to raise funds but according to the Intelligence Bureau, JuD has been most effective in fund collection. What worked in JuD’s favour was that it was considered a legitimate outfit and none of the money was accounted by the international community as it was considered to be a charity organisation.

The JuD not only collected funds for charity and diverted it to the Lashkar, but also helped the outfit legitimise the money collected by extortion, counterfeiting, smuggling and animal skin trade.

The JuD has also set up hospitals, fish farms and a carpet business. The outfit made it compulsory for every agriculturist in Pakistan to contribute 10 per cent of their annual earnings to charity, known as ushr.

But for the Lashkar, its biggest source of income is from the drug trade. While on one hand the Inter-Services Intelligence collects money from Dawood Ibrahim, who is the leader of this trade, the Lashkar has its own set of men who undertake the same business. The Lashkar alone smuggles out 5000 tons of opium every year, which approximately accounts to 2.5 billion dollars. This money is equally shared with the Al-Qaeda and the Taliban, which aides Lashkar operatives smuggle opium out of Afghanistan where it is produced.

The dossier also states that most of the money is sent to different parts of the world where the Lashkar operatives are present. It is also distributed among Al-Qaeda members present in Syria, Iraq, US and other countries. A significant amount is also sent to Jammu and Kashmir. At least 2 banks in the Valley are directly under the control of the Lashkar, which means they do not rely on the hawala network.

Money sent to different parts of the world is often carried by JuD preachers. Until now these persons were not checked, as the JuD was considered to be a legitimate organisation…

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Lashkar-e-Taiba raises money in plain sight

October 29, 2013

McClatchy reports that Pakistan has stopped enforcing the international ban against the terrorist organization Lashkar-e-Taiba.  (We must have missed when the government actually did enforce the ban.)  The prediction that LeT and its charitable front group, Jamaat-ud-Dawa, would use the recent Eid holiday to raise money from selling animals and trading hides has been borne out.

The fundraising activities seem strong in residential areas near Islamabad which are populated by government employees.  Fancy that.

Pakistani group banned after Mumbai attack found operating openly

Published: October 17, 2013

By Tom Hussain — McClatchy Foreign Staff

ISLAMABAD — Pakistan’s government appears to have relaxed its enforcement of a 5-year-old United Nations ban on the Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist organization, which incurred the sanctions because of its militants’ alleged involvement in the November 2008 rampage in Mumbai, India, that killed 166 people.

Two of Lashkar’s front organizations openly raised money this week as the Muslim festival of Eid al Adha got underway. No authorities made any effort to stop them – not a surprise, perhaps, because the groups have been known to work with the government when natural disaster strikes.

But the Pakistani military’s Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate has kept a tight leash on Lashkar-e-Taiba, which the U.S. has labeled a terrorist organization, since Pakistan told the United Nations it would enforce a ban on the group and its affiliates after the Mumbai assault. The attack destroyed the significant progress the two countries had made in settling the feud that had led to two wars and four localized conflicts since the nations were created when Britain ended its colonial rule in 1947.

Lashkar’s public resurgence follows the end in August of a decade-long cease-fire between Pakistani and Indian forces along the disputed border of the mountainous Kashmir state. Since then, Lashkar and other Pakistani militant groups with a history of terrorist activity in India have made a rapid comeback.

It wasn’t difficult for McClatchy to find them in Islamabad, the Pakistani capital, on Wednesday, the first day of Eid al Adha, which commemorates the biblical tale of Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son upon God’s command. Abraham’s hand was stayed by the angel Gabriel at the last moment and he was instructed to sacrifice a ram instead. Muslims who can afford to now mark the celebration with the slaughter of a ram or sheep.

Lashkar’s black-and-white striped flag was clearly displayed on banners flying just 200 yards outside the residential suburb of Korang Town. Emblazoned across the banners were the addresses and phone numbers of mosques affiliated with Lashkar’s Jama’at-ud-Da’wah proselytizing sister organization. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Terror charity poised to net $5m this Eid

October 16, 2013

A hundred thousand hides sold at fifty dollars a head should yield $5 million for Jamaat ud-Dawa, a front charity for the Pakistani jihadist organization Lashkar-e-Taiba.  Pakistan’s authorities have long known that militants profit from illegal leather sales (see here and here), but the government still lacks effective mechanisms (or perhaps genuine willingness) to curtail it.

From The Guardian yesterday, with a hat tip to Shreekant:

Eid animal slaughter funds Pakistan terror groups

Hides from 6m animals sacrificed during Eid sold by front organisations for militant groups

Jon Boone in Islamabad

Tuesday 15 October 2013

Huge numbers of goats, cows and even camels will be slaughtered in Pakistani on Wednesday homes to mark the Islamic holy day of Eid al-Adha.

The sacrificial offering of around 6m animals will allow families to fulfil a religious duty, guarantee some much appreciated meat handouts to the poor and provide nearly half of the annual requirement of the country’s leather industry.

It will also generate an extraordinary cash windfall for some of Pakistan’s most dangerous militant groups.

Thinly disguised front organisations have been gearing up to compete against each other and legitimate charities to collect as many animal skins as possible, which can then be sold on for cash.

“For us it is second only to Ramadan for our income,” says an official from the Falah-e-Insaniyat Foundation (FIF).

FIF is the charitable wing of Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), itself the reincarnation of one of south Asia’s most dangerous militant groups, the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), a banned organisation dedicated to fighting jihad against India.

JuD has successfully fought off legal bans although many believe it remains deeply involved in militancy.

The US government has offered $10m (£6m) for information leading to the arrest of Hafiz Saeed, the group’s leader accused by some US officials of masterminding and overseeing the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks.

Saeed moves around the country freely. On Monday, he held a press conference outside a mosque in an affluent district of Islamabad.

Surrounded by piles of food, toys and other goods that he said would be given to victims of last month’s earthquake in Baluchistan, he appealed for people to give their animal hides to JuD.

“Whatever funds we get from hides of animals we will use in Baluchistan to rebuild houses and help the people,” he said to a bank of almost 20 television cameras.

The organisation hopes to collect 100,000 hides from around the country this year. A cow hide can fetch up to $50.

Also available to buy are JuD livestock which the organisation provides and slaughters on behalf of individuals or groups who want to pool resources to share the cost.

Such initiatives have helped the organisation take market share from other charities, including the Edhi Foundation, a much-respected social welfare group.

“It’s hard to complete because they have more manpower from all their religious seminaries,” said Mohammad Rashid from the Edhi Foundation in Islamabad. “They send all their students out to the streets, to volunteer.”

Because JuD is not officially a banned organisation nothing will or can be done to stop it collecting hides.

There are fears that very little will be done to stop illegal groups from collecting hides either, particularly as many of them operate under false names.

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Revealed: Pakistan shelters terror finance mogul

September 1, 2013

Dawood Ibrahim, the international gangster and bankroller of terrorism, has been given sanctuary by Pakistan’s spy agency, the ISI, in exchange for his commitment to spend 30 percent of his income on jihadist operations.

This confession comes from Abdul Karim Tunda, a detained Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist and Dawood associate.  Tunda also disclosed three of Dawood’s addresses in Pakistan—two in Karachi and one in Islamabad, showing that Pakistan has provided cover for Dawood in the same manner that it did for Osama bin Laden.

Watch it all from India’s “Headlines Today”:

Pakistan is happy to take foreign aid money from the U.S. at the same time it accepts a share of underworld revenues to wage jihad in Kashmir and Afghanistan.  Time to withhold the foreign aid, no?

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Punjab province gives grant to terror camp

June 28, 2013

The government of Pakistan’s Punjab province has approved a line item in its budget to give 61 million rupees (approx. 600,000 U.S. dollars) to a terrorist base camp known as Markaz-e-Taiba in Muridkey (h/t msjri).

The Markaz-e-Taiba center falls nominally under the control of the Punjabi government, but is actually an encampment for Jamaat-ud-Dawa, which is itself a front charity for the terrorist organization Lashkar-e-Taiba.

What’s so shocking is that this can occur in broad daylight.  Punjab isn’t even trying to hide it.  This is the point to which Pakistan’s “cooperation” in the war against terrorism has deteriorated.  If the U.S. and its allies are still unwilling to designate Pakistan as a state sponsor of terrorism, could it at least consider designating Punjab as a provincial sponsor?

From PTI via the Times of India:

Pak’s Punjab govt allocates millions of rupees for Hafiz Saeed’s Jamaat-ud-Dawa

PTI Jun 18, 2013

LAHORE: Pakistan’s Punjab province government has allocated over Rs 61 million in its budget for fiscal 2013-14 for the largest centre of the Jamaat-ud-Dawa, the parent body of banned terror group LeT that carried out the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

Besides a grant-in-aid of over Rs 61 million for the JuD’s centre known as ‘Markaz-e-Taiba’, the provincial government has allocated Rs 350 million for setting up a “Knowledge Park” at the centre and other development initiatives.

Details of the allocations were presented in budget documents tabled in the Punjab assembly on Monday by the PML-N government led by chief minister Shahbaz Sharif.

One document stated: “Grant-in-aid to chief administrator Muridkey Markaz (is) Rs 61.35 million”. The JuD’s centre is located at Muridkay on the outskirts of Lahore.

In his budget speech in the assembly, finance minister Mujtaba Shujaur Rehman announced that the provincial government “intends to establish a Knowledge Park in Muridkey”.

He said the government had allocated Rs 350 million for the park and several other initiatives in Punjab.

Shortly after the UN Security Council designated the JuD a front for the LeT in the wake of the Mumbai attacks, the Punjab government took over the centre in Muridkey.

At that time too, Punjab was ruled by the PML-N. Since then, the government has allocated money in its annual budget for the administration of the centre in Muridkey.

In 2009-10, the government provided more than Rs 82 million for the administration of JuD facilities.

In fiscal 2010-11, chief minister Sharif, using his discretionary powers, allocated two separate grants for JuD facilities.

The government granted Rs 79.77 million for six organisations at Markaz-e-Taiba and a special grant-in-aid of Rs 3 million for the JuD’s Al-Dawa School System in several districts of Punjab.

Officials have said in the past that the allocations were needed to continue “welfare services” provided by the JuD’s schools, dispensaries and hospitals across the province of 90 million.

In the past, the Punjab government defended its decision of allocating money to the JuD by saying the grants had been awarded for the administrator of the Markaz-e-Toiba.

There is no formal ban on the JuD and its chief, Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, lives freely in Lahore despite a 10-million dollar bounty offered for him by the US.

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Lashkar-e-Taiba’s upper income recruits

May 30, 2013

Pakistani militants

Far from being impoverished orphans, the young men recruited by Pakistani terrorist organization Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) tend to be among “the best and brightest” of Pakistani society, according to a study released last month by the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point based on biographies of 917 LeT members.

The findings severely undercut British Prime Minister David Cameroon’s position that Western development aid to Pakistan improves education and reduces poverty which in turn prevents extremism.

The foreign aid is not preventing terrorist recruitment, some of the aid is stolen by Pakistani elites, and some of the aid is given to terrorist groups through Pakistan’s ISI spy service.  There is no longer any justifiable reason to continue transferring taxpayer money from the West to Pakistan.

From ProPublica:

Terror Group Recruits From Pakistan’s ‘Best and Brightest’

by Sebastian Rotella
ProPublica, April 4, 2013

Imagine a terrorist group that recruits tens of thousands of young men from the same neighborhoods and social networks as the Pakistani military. A group whose well-educated recruits defy the idea that poverty and ignorance breed extremism. A group whose fighters include relatives of a politician, a senior Army officer and a director of Pakistan’s Atomic Energy Commission.

That is the disconcerting reality of Lashkar-e-Taiba, one of the world’s most dangerous militant organizations, according to a study released today by the Combating Terrorism Center at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y. The report helps explain why Pakistan has resisted international pressure to crack down on Lashkar after it killed 166 people in Mumbai — six U.S. citizens included — and came close to sparking conflict between nuclear-armed Pakistan and India.

The findings, which draw on 917 biographies of Lashkar fighters killed in combat, illuminate “Lashkar’s integration into Pakistani society, how embedded they are,” said co-author Don Rassler, the director of a research program at the center that studies primary source materials. “They have become an institution.”

The three-day slaughter in 2008 drew global attention because it targeted Westerners as well as Indians and implicated Pakistan’s spy agency. The Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI) continues to protect the masterminds, according to Western and Indian counterterror officials. U.S. prosecutors indicted an ISI major in the deaths of the Americans: He allegedly provided funds, training and direction and served as the handler of David Coleman Headley, an U.S. reconnaissance operative now serving 35 years in a federal prison.

The 56-page West Point report is titled “The Fighters of Lashkar-e-Taiba: Recruitment, Training, Deployment and Death.” Though it refrains from policy suggestions, there are implications for U.S. counterterror strategy. Lashkar’s popularity and clout defy conventional approaches to fighting extremism, said co-author Christine Fair, a Pakistan expert at Georgetown University.

“When you have an organization that enjoys such a degree of open support, there are no options for U.S. policy other than counterintelligence, law enforcement and counter-terrorism targeting,” Fair said in an interview.

Lashkar was founded in 1989 by Hafiz Saeed, its spiritual chief today, and other ideologues. The ISI deployed Lashkar as a proxy force against India, especially in the disputed Kashmir region. Although banned by Pakistan in 2002, the group still functions unmolested, the ISI provides funds, military training and arms, and ISI officers serve as handlers for Lashkar chiefs, according to Western and Indian investigations. The U.S. officially declared Laskhar a terror group in 2001.

The West Point researchers said they used “massive amounts of material that the group produces about itself” to analyze the trajectories of Lashkar fighters who were killed between 1989 and 2008. The researchers translated from Urdu the 917 biographies that appeared in four extremist publications, including one written by mothers of fallen militants.

Recruits often become holy warriors with the help of their families, which admire Lashkar’s military exploits in India and Afghanistan and its nationalism and social service activities at home, the study says. Unlike other terrorist groups, Lashkar does not attack the Pakistani state.

The group’s vast training camps have churned out fighters at an alarming rate. The study gives an estimate of between 100,000 and 300,000 total trainees. By comparison, a U.S. counterterror official told ProPublica he has seen figures as high as 200,000, though he put the number in the tens of thousands.

Most recruits examined in the study joined at about age 17 and died at about 21, generally in India or Afghanistan. Their backgrounds contradict “a lingering belief in the policy community that Islamist terrorists are the product of low or no education or are produced in Pakistan’s madrassas,” the report says.

In fact, the fighters had higher levels of secular education compared to the generally low average for Pakistani men, the report says. Relatively few studied at religious schools known as madrasas. They joined Lashkar — which spews anti-Western, anti-Semitic and anti-Indian rhetoric — because they wanted more meaningful lives, admired its anticorruption image and felt an obligation to help fellow Muslims, the study says.

“These are some of Pakistan’s best and brightest and they are not being used in the labor market, they are being deployed in the militant market,” Fair said. “It’s a myth that poverty and madrasas create terrorism, and that we can buy our way out of it with U.S. aid.”

Lashkar’s publications downplay its longtime links to the security forces, the authors said. But connections emerge nonetheless. Lashkar recruits aggressively in the districts of the Punjab region that produce the bulk of Pakistan’s officer corps — “a dynamic that raises a number of questions about potentially overlapping social networks between the army and (Lashkar),” the report says.

“It looks like based on what we have as if there’s a considerable degree of overlap,” Fair said. “The military and Lashkar are competing for guys with the same skill set.”

At least 18 fallen fighters had immediate family members who served in Pakistan’s armed forces. Although most recruits were working or lower middle-class, some “had connections to elite Pakistani institutions and Pakistani religious leaders and politicians.” The study cites Abdul Qasim Muhammad Asghar, son of the president of the Pakistan Muslim Leagueʹs labor wing in Islamabad and Rawalpindi…

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Terror budgets illustrated

April 29, 2013

The Taliban, Hezbollah, FARC, al-Shabaab, Lashkar-e-Taiba, and Hamas are the best funded terrorist groups worldwide.  Published estimates of their budgets vary by source.  The dots in the graph below reflect the highest and lowest estimates reflected in millions of U.S. dollars for each group:

Low-high chart displaying estimated annual revenues of jihadist groups and the FARC

This chart is an update to Money Jihad’s earlier post here.  The only significant change is the inclusion of Lashkar-e-Taiba, for which revenue estimates now range from $5 million to $100 million annually.  Al-Shabaab has faced revenue setbacks in the past year, but revised figures are not yet available.

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