94% LeT recruits view J-K as fighting front: US report Print
Written by PTI   
Friday, 05 April 2013 00:00

[From Indian Express]: Washington. A staggering 94 percent of fresh recruits of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) see Jammu and Kashmir as a "fighting front" and hail mostly from Pakistan's Punjab province from families having links with the powerful army and intelligence network, according to a US military report.


The report from the US Military Academy in West Point is result of a multi-year research effort conducted by a lead team of five eminent authors including C Christine Fair, Don Rassler and Anirban Ghosh, and is based on a study of over 900 biographies of the deceased LeT militants.

According to the report that runs into nearly 60 pages, the vast majority of LeT's fighters are recruited from Pakistan's Punjab province and are actually rather well educated compared with Pakistani males generally.

While LeT's recruitment is diversified across the north, central and southern parts of the Punjab, the highest concentration of militants have come (in order of frequency) from the districts of Gujranwala, Faisalabad, Lahore, Sheikhupura, Kasur, Sialkot, Bahawalnagar, Bahawalpur, Khanewal and Multan.
LeT training has historically occurred in Pakistan-administered Kashmir's capital Muzaffarabad and in Afghanistan. Together these two locations have accounted for 75 percent of LeT militant training over time, the report said.

"Ninety four percent of fighters list Indian Kashmir as a fighting front," the report said. Although less relevant, Afghanistan, Chechnya, Tajikistan and Bosnia are also identified in the biographies as other fronts.

"According to our data, the districts of Kupwara, Baramulla and Poonch in Indian Kashmir account for almost half of all LeT militant deaths since 1989. Kupwara, the district with the largest number of militants killed, appears to be becoming less important overall as a fighting area, with its share of deaths declining over time," it said.

The report added that the number and share of LeT deaths in Baramulla and Poonch have been increasing.
The report 'The Fighters of Lashkar-e-Taiba: Recruitment, Training, Deployment and Death' by the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point identified 12 different channels of LeT recruitment, the most common forms of which include recruitment via: a current LeT member (20 percent), a family member (20 percent), mosque or madrassa (17 percent), LeT speech or literature (12 percent) and friends (5 percent).

"Since 2000 there has been a strong upward trend in recruitment via family members and by 2004, this channel contributed to over 40 percent of LeT recruitment," it said.

Siblings and parents are central characters in the biographies and they play important roles in a fighter's entry into and journey through LeT, the report said. For example, siblings or other immediate family members were often the one to drop off a LeT recruit at a training camp or at the border.
The report said the mean age when a recruit joins LeT is 16.95 years, while the militants' mean age at the time of their death is 21 years. The mean number of years between a LeT militant's entry and death is 5.14 years.

"The most common level of nonreligious education attained by LeT fighters (44 percent of available data) before their entry into the group is matric (10th grade), indicating that on average the group's cadres had higher levels of secular education than other Pakistani males," the report said, adding they do not have high levels of formal religious education.

It declares "false" the Pakistani government's assertion that its citizens are not engaged in “acts of terrorism” in India or elsewhere; rather, is only providing diplomatic and moral support to the militants fighting in India.

"While few entertain these claims as credible, our database indicates that this claim is false. First, the vast majority of LeT fighters are Pakistani and most are Punjabi, not Kashmiri. It is noteworthy that there is considerable overlap among the districts that produce LeT militants and those that produce Pakistan army officers, a dynamic that raises a number of questions about potentially overlapping social networks between the army and LeT," the report said.

Notably the uncle of one militant was a Director at Pakistan's Atomic Energy Commission, while the father of another was the president of the Pakistan Muslim League's labor wing in Islamabad/Rawalpindi, it added.

Last Updated on Monday, 08 April 2013 21:22