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Time says LeT gaining ground in Afghanistan.

CONFIRMING India's fears of Lashkar- e- Tayyeba's ( LeT) expanding network in Afghanistan, Time magazine has claimed that the proscribed terror group has established its presence in five provinces in the landlocked country. The report claims the LeT is using deadlier tools and strategy.

The article, ' Pakistani Insurgent Group Expands in Afghanistan', appears in the September 10 issue. It claimed that the " LeT has expanded from a small presence in Kunar province to multiple cells in at least five provinces, actively collaborating with everyone from the Afghan Taliban to the Haqqani network". This is certainly a setback for India considering that Afghan intelligence agencies had blamed the LeT for the February 26 attack on Indian diplomats and medicos. " The LeT's presence in Afghanistan has coincided with mounting Pakistani concern that India's influence in Kabul represents an Indian strategy of encirclement," wrote Jason Motlagh in his article.

Endorsing the views expressed by Time , sources in New Delhi said the LeT was working in unison with the Taliban. " We have been expressing concern on this. It is understood that the ISI, in collusion with the Taliban, has worked out a strategy of encouraging the LeT to expand its presence in Afghanistan. The strategy is to target development and socioeconomic projects run by India.

The LeT's anathema towards India helped to give this strategy a shape," an official said.

Motlagh wrote: " Afghan and US officials agree that the LeT's role is likely to escalate as Western forces begin to withdraw and Pakistan tries to strengthen its influence. What's more, some contend the LeT's threat should not be measured in numbers.

Given that its training programme was developed by the Pakistani army, its operatives are still considered among the most capable at small- unit tactics and explosives, making them ideally suited to the lowintensity Afghan conflict." The article in Time came after back- to- back visits to Delhi by Afghanistan's foreign minister Zalmay Rassoul and national security adviser Rangin Dadfar Spanta. New Delhi at the meetings had flagged its concerns on intelligence reports of plans to target Indian assets there.

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Date:Sep 15, 2010
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