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A Look at "Al Qaeda Junior"

8:30 AM, Dec 10, 2008 • By BILL ROGGIO
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Just three days after the Mumbai attacks, a senior U.S. military intelligence officer described the Lashkar-e-Taiba to me as "al Qaeda junior." Lashkar-e-Taiba has vast resources, an extensive network, and is able to carry out complex attacks throughout its area of operations, the official explained. "If by some stroke of luck al Qaeda collapsed, LeT (Lashkar-e-Taiba) could step in and essentially take its place."

The relationship between al Qaeda and Lashkar-e-Taiba is complex, the official noted. "While Lashkar-e-Taiba is definitely subordinate to al Qaeda in many ways, it runs its own network and has its own command structure. The groups often train in each others' camps, and fight side by side in Afghanistan."

The Los Angeles Times' Sebastian Rotella explained on Decemebr 8 how Lashkar-e-Taiba "has actively recruited Westerners, especially Britons and Americans, serving as a kind of farm team for Islamic militants who have gone on to execute attacks for Al Qaeda, a close ally. The Pakistani network makes its training camps accessible to English speakers, providing crucial skills to an increasingly young and Western-born generation of extremists."

Lashkar-e-Taiba notables include Australian David Hicks, the former Guantanamo detainee; Aabid Khan, a Briton who was arrested with "a trove of terrorist propaganda and manuals on his laptop "and "maps and videos of potential targets in New York City and Washington"; and the leader of the suicide cell that attacked the London subway in 2005.

The article is well worth the read. Rotella shows that the war extends far beyond Afghanistan and the enemy consists of more than just al Qaeda.