Washington: Pakistan is home to at least 12 groups that have been designated as ‘foreign terrorist organisations’, five of them Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed, according to a recent Congressional report on terrorism. Like India focused.
The independent Congressional Research Service (CRS) report said that US officials have identified Pakistan as a base of operations or targets for several armed and non-governmental extremist groups, some of which have existed since the 1980s.
The report, released by the bipartisan research wing of the US Congress on the eve of the historic Quad summit here last week, said these groups operating in Pakistan can be broadly classified into five types – globally oriented, Afghanistan oriented , India and Kashmir-oriented, domestically oriented, and communal (anti-Shia).
Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) was formed in Pakistan in the late 1980s and was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) in 2001.
?LET was responsible for the major 2008 attacks in Mumbai, India, as well as several other high-profile attacks, ?? CRS said.
Jaish-e-Mohammed (JEM) was founded in 2000 by Kashmiri terrorist leader Masood Azhar and was designated as an FTO in 2001.
Along with the LeT, it was responsible for the 2001 attack on the Indian Parliament as well as other attacks.
Harkat-ul Jihad Islami (HUJI) was formed in 1980 to fight Soviet forces in Afghanistan and was designated as an FTO in 2010.
After 1989, it redirected its efforts towards India, although it supplied fighters to the Afghan Taliban.
??With an unknown force, HUJI today works in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh and India, and demands the merger of Kashmir with Pakistan, ?? The report said HUM was designated as an FTO in 1997 and operates primarily from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and some Pakistani cities.
Finally in 1989 Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) was formed ?? Reportedly designated as a terrorist wing of Pakistan’s largest Islamic political party and as an FTO in 2017.
It is one of the largest and oldest terrorist groups operating in Jammu and Kashmir.
Other terrorist groups operating from Pakistan also include Al Qaeda, the CRS said, adding that it operates mainly in the former Federally Administered Tribal Areas and megacities of Karachi, as well as Afghanistan.
It has been led by Ayman al-Zawahiri since 2011 and reportedly has supportive ties with several groups inside the country.
According to the US State Department’s Country Reports on Terrorism 2019, Pakistan continues to serve as a safe haven for certain regionally focused terrorist groups, the CRS said. and have allowed groups targeting Afghanistan as well as groups targeting India to operate from its territory??.
The department also noted ??slight steps?? Taken by the Government of Pakistan to combat and stop the financing of terrorism?? Some India-focused terrorist groups following the terrorist attack in Jammu and Kashmir in early 2019.
However, it was assessed that Islamabad is yet to take decisive action against India and Afghanistan-focused militants. And that ?? progress is incomplete on the most difficult aspects of the 2015 National Action Plan to Combat Terrorism ?? especially its pledge to eliminate all terrorist organizations without delay and discrimination ??.
??On the topic of terrorist safe haven?? The department concluded that the government and military of Pakistan acted inconsistently with regard to terrorist safe havens throughout the country.
The authorities did not take sufficient action to prevent certain terrorist groups and individuals from operating openly in the country.
Other terrorist groups within Pakistan are Al Qaeda in the Indian subcontinent (AQIS), Islamic State-Khorasan Province (ISKP or IS-K); Afghan Taliban, Haqqani Network, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), Jundallah (aka Jaish al-Adl), Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP), and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LEJ) ).
The CRS report is not an official report of the US Congress.
Independent experts prepare these reports from time to time for US lawmakers to make informed decisions.