[Lashkar-e-Taiba at Center of anti-Taliban Lashkars.]
The main reason that the LeT is aiding the army to fight against the Taliban could be the ideological differences between the two organisations. It is also a chance for LeT to set up ground level bodies and gain some control in the province.
Lashkar-e-Taiba chief Hafiz Sayeed, has ordered his commanders to move to the North Western Frontier Province (NWFP). The local tribesmen seem to be wary of the Pakistani Army’s presence in the area, which has helped build up support for the Taliban. Hence, the elders in the area have invited the LeT commanders to take over the fight and campaign from the army.
Small armies or groups are being formed in villages as a defence mechanism against the Taliban to stop the organisation from gaining more power over the NWFP. Interestingly, these groups, comprising of villagers are also called Lashkars. They are trained in arms but refrain from suicide bombings that the LeT is known for.
These lashkars are being organised in areas like Dir and Buner in the NWFP. Khall has the largest group of Lashkars, amounting to 10,000 local people. The main reason that the LeT is aiding the army to fight against the Taliban could be the ideological differences between the two organisations. It is also a chance for LeT to set up ground level bodies and gain some control in the province.
However, the intervention of LeT may not be a very good sign for India. LeT is known as a terrorist organisation and has been banned in many states like India, Russia, UK, US and Australia. Pakistan has also officially denounced LeT. The body has also come under the radar for many terrorists activities in India. Lashkar men have been accused of heightening tensions between India and Pakistan.
The main objective behind LeT’s formation was Kashmir Jihad. It has done everything possible to make things difficult for India, from guerrilla warfare to suicide bombings. India has alleged that Lashkar men have infiltrated the border many a times, to train Kashmiri youth to fight for Jihad.
Hence the amount of control that the organisation would gain in NWFP province is unsettling for India. With the support given to local tribesmen, it is likely that the locals in the area might slowly fall to Jihadist ideology and become new warriors in the fight against India.
The organisation is known for recruiting and training men and women to fight with modern arms and tactics. Once the Taliban is flushed out, their attention will once again turn to India. NWFP has witnessed anarchy for ages. Its economy, education and employment rates are abysmal. Hence it is easy for the LeT men to indoctrinate the youth from here into their outfit. The growing popularity of the organisation among the local men is dangerous for India.
In spite of banning the organisation in international forums, the fact that Pakistani military is taking the support of LeT chiefs in another matter of concern. Pakistan needs to learn lessons from the past. The Mujahideen and the Taliban were once formed and trained by Pakistan to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan. Now the Taliban are set to take over in many of its regions. If today, the Pakistan army helps the LeT men to breed in their soil, it wouldn’t be long before another conflict erupts between the state and LeT.