Dec 27, 2008

World - Lashkar's all-new intellectual terrorist

NEW DELHI: As India pushes Pakistan to take action against the Lashkar-e-Taiba, the profile of the Lashkar jihadis has undergone a change with
economic deprivation and local grievances no longer the root causes for joining the terror group that is behind the Mumbai terror attacks.

Instead Lashkar’s new recruits, who reportedly hold degrees in business administration and computer science, are bound by the pull of the global brotherhood and the ideology of jihad. It is further believed that the successful call of the global jihad has also helped the Lashkar recruit from the Pakistani diaspora from different parts of Europe.

“There is evidence that the recruits are younger. Both the Lashkar and the Jaish-e-Mohammed are getting recruits from the Pakistan diaspora,’’ said security analyst B Raman.

A Kashmir-based LeT commander Abu Aqasa told a US daily that LeT jihadis also consist of young men with master’s degrees in business administration and bachelor’s degrees in computer science. “We have doctors and engineers and computer specialists working for us,” he was quoted as saying. “These people don’t necessarily fight wars with us. They mainly help us spread our message in cities and villages and also help us in our dispensaries, hospitals and other charitable works.’’

Abu Aqasa was further quoted as saying that the organisation uses educated people and especially those with good communications skills to recruit supporters in religious congregations. The report further said that a new recruit is inducted into the organisation and is then sent for further training.

This busts the theory that local grievances and extreme poverty are the root causes for young men joining terror groups. In fact, the group behind the foiled Glasgow terror plot was also another instance of the new jihadi. A group of five doctors, who were from different countries but united by the common jihadi ideology, plotted and planned the Glasgow airport attack that was ultimately foiled.

Going back to the Lashkar, security experts further believe that Lashkar is attracting recruits as it has embraced the call for global jihad and is no longer a Kashmir centric terror group. `This is a predominantly Punjabi group whose global mission is jihad. It is a myth that this is a Kashmiri separatist group,’’ said Brahma Chellaney, a professor of strategic studies at the Centre for Policy Research. He further said that recruitment in the al-Qaeda and the Lashkar included recruits from rich families.

The Lashkar is known to have increased its presence in Pakistan with the help of the ISI which has continued to provide state patronage to the group. This includes providing protection and sharing intelligence with the terror organisation. The government believes that LeT carried out the Mumbai terror attacks with the help of the Pakistani military.

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