Al Qaeda facilitators operate openly in Pakistan

Published: May 12, 2011
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WikiLeaks files implicate Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and the Tablighi Jamaat

WikiLeaks files implicate Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and the Tablighi Jamaat

KARACHI: As US investigators scour the material found at Osama bin Laden’s Abbottabad residence, groups that facilitated al Qaeda after 9/11 operate openly in Pakistan.

Key among these are Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and the Tablighi Jamaat. A narrative of complicity emerges in the files of Guantanamo Bay detainees released by WikiLeaks, which also implicates the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

After the fall of Kandahar in 2001, senior al Qaeda member Abu Zubaydah enlisted LeT to help al Qaeda operatives escape from Afghanistan to Pakistan. LeT provided safe houses and trained operatives in Peshawar and Muzaffarabad and facilitated their travel to Afghanistan to fight.

In 2002, three suspected al Qaeda members were arrested from a safe house in Lahore run by a LeT member, who helped al Qaeda members and their families move to Lahore. However, Pakistani authorities released the LeT member and transferred the three men to US custody.

It is highly unlikely that Pakistan’s security apparatus was unaware of LeT’s involvement. Detainees also implicated the ISI, though several files note that the ISI officers were ‘subversive’ or ‘rogue’. A detainee who trained with LeT said that, “intelligence personnel allowed fighters to travel to India where they conducted terror attacks such as bombings, kidnapping or killing Kashmiri people. The targets were chosen by the Pakistani Army”.

LeT also reportedly provided Wafa Humanitarian Organisation’s Afghanistan director Abdullah alMatrafi with an escort to obtain a visa and exit paperwork to leave Pakistan. He was arrested by the police at the Lahore airport. In 2002, a burqa-clad group of fighters trained by LeT was arrested while en route to Afghanistan via Parachinar.

In 2003, Abu Zubaydah was captured in Faisalabad after security forces raided two safe houses run by LeT.

One file notes that eight operatives associated with LeT left Karachi after Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl’s murder in 2002, believing that they would be jeopardised.

Another example of alleged Qaeda-LeT links is in the file of Saudi detainee Jabir Hasan Mohammad alQahtani, who was affiliated with the Wafa organisation. In 2001, he was captured in Kabul with 16 $100 bills. An analyst noted in alQahtani’s assessment: “There were individuals passing out $100 notes to al Qaeda fighters fleeing Afghanistan for Pakistan. This may have been a part of the help that LeT provided al Qaeda members fleeing Afghanistan and Pakistan.”

According to analyst and author Ayesha Siddiqa, “LeT is just one group. There are so many other organisations helping the al Qaeda network, and they still have multiple sources of funding. What we really need is a policy to tackle this, because al Qaeda is just one component.”

On the other hand, the Tablighi Jamaat is based in Raiwind, also home to the Sharif family of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, and holds annual conventions under security and patronage. However, the Tablighi Jamaat provided a cover story for scores of fighters transiting through Pakistan on their way to Afghanistan. Affiliation with the Tablighi Jamaat was believed to be an al Qaeda cover story and several detainees mentioned that they were recruited by Jamaat members.

One detainee’s file, citing a US Naval Criminal Investigative Service Special Analytical Report, says that the Tablighi Jamaat was linked to the July 11, 2006 attacks in Mumbai.  However, its role in al Qaeda or militancy has never been fully explored in Pakistan, even when Lashkar-e-Jhangvi leader Riaz Basra evaded arrest by taking shelter in the Jamaat’s annual congregation in November 2000.

Inside WikiLeaks’ Guantanamo files

JuD is described in the Guantanamo files as Jamaatud Dawa Quran, an “Islamic extremist group with ties to Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate and the Saudi Red Crescent Society”.

The LeT is defined as the armed wing of the Markazud Dawa wal Irshad, which was banned by the Pakistani government in 2002 and subsequently changed its name to Jamaatud Dawa.

In 2005, the ISI ordered the cessation of attacks in Kashmir and cut the operational funds to the LeT and other Kashmir-focused terrorist groups, but the LeT continues to conduct and support attacks outside of Kashmir including Afghanistan.

The Tablighi Jamaat is defined as a proselytising organisation, which has been supporting Islamic terrorist groups in south and Southeast Asia under the cover of conducting religious activities.

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Reader Comments (15)

  • BruteForce
    May 12, 2011 - 8:22PM

    A very sad read. Pakistan is toying with the wrong people.Recommend

  • Abdulaziz Khattak
    May 12, 2011 - 8:25PM

    How can you be so blind so as to believe what the Americans say? What prove do you have the Tablighi Jamaat (TJ) supports Al Qaeda or any militant org for that matter?
    To start with, the TJ isn’t even a political force or a party. It is just a missionary org that has been preaching for nearly 80 years now.
    Do you even know what the group’s (it can’t be even called a party) objectives are.
    Now if any member affiliated to the TJ goes and joins the militants, what fault is that of the group?
    Please analyse things and make it a habit that you question every information that comes your way.Recommend

  • tat
    May 12, 2011 - 8:30PM

    For LeT… u can say due to their militancy in various places that they are involved in militancy… but for Tablighi Jamat they have active members all over the world and their more active center is Delhi in Nizamya… and have more active members in India than in Pakistan… they have about half million members in France and high numbers in US too.. In fact there congregations are visited but some high profiles government figures too in European countries and USA. but as per the records they were never involved in n e kind of militancy and any terrorist activities…. rather the investigations revealed by the US and some CIA officials (can be seen in Wikipedia too) that militants use them but organizations through its leaders or n e of its elders was never involved…. Recommend

  • Babloo
    May 12, 2011 - 8:40PM

    in my opinion, The Pakistani branch of Al-Qaida is called LeT ( Lasker-e-toiba).Recommend

  • tat
    May 12, 2011 - 8:43PM

    Please do some homework before writing something. I should agree and mention which Omar Waraich mentioned that most of Pakistani Journalist they are forming their own opinions and than rephrasing the things in their own words rather than just mentioning the exact words etc. SO before u mention that than u should know that this organization is working openly in India and have members in India than in Pakistan. and if u exclude India, and as per my research (may be roughly with some margin of errors) if you combine there members in France, UK, USA, Australia, Newzyland, here in Caribbean and some other European countries there numbers again exceed the members number in Pakistan alone.. and further to that again most of their members are not of Pakistani decent in these countries. Recommend

  • BM
    May 12, 2011 - 8:49PM

    I think it is a little naive to take the Wikileaks as literal truth. You can’t claim to be a reporter and write summaries of leaked files as the “truth”Recommend

  • LOL
    May 12, 2011 - 10:36PM

    Egg on your face.Recommend

  • saad khan
    May 12, 2011 - 11:06PM

    proof wot r u saying!!!!
    they cant proof anything against bin laden they have nothing to show!!!
    no facts & figures only myths!!Recommend

  • Cautious
    May 12, 2011 - 11:47PM

    I wonder how much evidence one has to accumulate before the people of Pakistan wake up and demand change – it’s obvious to the rest of the World that your ISI is supporting terrorism – how about showing real national pride and cleaning up your act.Recommend

  • T R Khan
    May 13, 2011 - 12:51AM

    The two terrorists captured alive by Ahmadis at the Model Town mosque, apparently told their interrogators that they were staying at the Tableeghi jamaat rest house at Raiwind.Recommend

  • White Russian
    May 13, 2011 - 12:55PM

    @Abdulaziz Khattak and @tat:
    Why should I believe what Tableeghi Jamat publicises itself on its face value? Fact is that TJ is a very loose and amorphous organisation, with its activists coming from all kind of Deobandist shades, frequently having multiple religio-political interests and affiliations. I know that these activists originate from the same segments of religiously motivated population from where emerge other politically motivated west-haters. Both Al-Qaida and TJ are no different in their narrow-mindedness and fanaticism.

    With the kind of loosely net structure of TJ, its religious interests, and generally un-suspected reputation it enjoys, I would expect that TJ congregations are very convenient hideouts for terrorists. Recommend

  • tat
    May 13, 2011 - 6:27PM

    @ TR Khan by staying with someone doesnt make any organizations supporting of that act. Just open up a little bit that person involved in firing and killing incidence in Millitary Fort in USA was member of US force for 20 years or so. or couple of guys from UK for Guantenamo Bay were working for Red Cross and Red Crescent society, one Al Jazeera Journalist was kept in Guantenamo Bay for almost for many years. So in that case does these things or incidence make that organisation terrorits? So think a lot see what the organisation is saying than make your opinion.
    @White Russian &@Cautious … that case I think like most of western and American public you are just west fanatic who thinks every religious Muslims or I would say every Muslim is terrorist and should be wiped from earth well for that case I cant change your thinking you are grown and being developed in that atmosphere no one can do any thing.
    But I would rather say that the biggest mistake the west is doing is ignoring the peaceful and peace loving Muslims majority at every level. either through government to government or through finance and businesses.. just by the way of telling you a few times ago just on one day (before this bin ladin drama) on the pressure from government some 200 Companies broke the Surgical exporting contract which they had with Pakistani Companies just because they had some pressure from government and they cant deal with that. A similar thing happened with Nike and Reebok which just set themselves asside in just matter of hours when the business man came for the upcoming World events and plans they said that we have to turn you back it was good doing business with you for last 40 years (including those years when we were under US sanctions 1990s and some of 1970s). And please these are not News or any thing showed in TV chanells but these are unfortunate realities. So if you don’t think of helping the moderate majority who are inturn helping the moderates to grow in number (by giving jobs to technical educated people etc.) even just because they are from Pakistan or they are Muslims than why to expect any thing non fundamentalist to come from Pakistan?Recommend

  • sumeet
    May 17, 2011 - 9:06PM

    nothing new in these files.ISI and pak army are in cahoots with all terror group.they may deny it million times,but that doesnt change the truth.and for some pakistanis,it is the west,US propoganda against islam.no matter how much you convience them,some dont want to see the truth.regarding tablighi jamat and its work,its outer frame work may be preaching islam,but inside is all black.also the delhi tablighi jamat at nizamuddin area is also described in wikileaks.when contacted,the jamat never commented convincingly and told that people from many country come there.so they dont know if someone is involved in terrorist activities.this shows the hypocrisy of these organizations.Recommend

  • Chilli
    May 17, 2011 - 11:17PM

    Another story from Bollywood and Hollywood…lot of loop holes and an attempt to halt all activities of muslims. Implicating Tableegi Jamat is another attempt to sabotage peaceful movement around the world which is not just active in Pakistan.Recommend

  • Akber
    May 18, 2011 - 4:49AM

    lolz, this is soo funny their absurdity shows when they implicate tablighi jamat of raiwind it, its definetly a dictated article which shows by providing half information and jumping on to next accusation but i definetly beleive this is not a paronoia but infact a deliberate effort of making case aginst pakistan. miss saba imtiaz if you even exsist you should be ashamed of yourself for propgating blatant lies with half truths and twisted facts. Recommend

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