Demanding action against terror groups operating within Pakistan territory, the US administration has shared the names of 20 outfits. Significantly, several of those outfits have been responsible for terror attack in India. The list includes Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Muhammad and Harakatul Mujahideen, among others that Washington believes are operating from its soil to target India and Afghanistan.
The three outfits have been named by India for several dastardly attacks including 26/11 Mumbai attacks, 2001 Parliament Attack, bomb blasts in metro cities, terror incidents in the valley and recent attacks in Uri and Pathankot Air base.
The United States identified LeT as one of the largest and most active terrorist organisations in South Asia. Founded in 1987 by Hafiz Saeed, Abdullah Azzam and Zafar Iqbal in Afghanistan, the group had its headquarters in Muridke in Punjab province. It too is focused on Kashmir, the report said.
Lashkar-e-Taiba was involved in the 2001 Indian parliament attack and the 2008 Mumbai attacks. The US blames this group for committing hundreds of target killings and dozens of mass attacks inside Pakistan.
Another group Harakatul Mujahideen is a Pakistan-based militant group operating primarily in Kashmir. The US says that group had links to Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda as well, the report said.
However, top on the list is the Haqqani network which, the US says has safe havens in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) in northwestern Pakistan and uses them to launch attacks into Afghanistan.
The Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), an umbrella organisation of various militant groups, was based in FATA, but has now relocated to Afghanistan. The US says that the group wants to enforce its own interpretation of Sharia and plans to unite against Nato-led forces in Afghanistan. It has conducted hundreds of terrorist attacks inside Pakistan.
Other groups on the list are: Harakatul Jihadi-i-Islami, Jamaatul Ahrar, Jamaatud Dawa al-Quran and Tariq Gidar Group, which is one of 13 TTP affiliates.
The Tariq Gidar Group has been behind some of the deadliest attacks inside Pakistan, including the Dec 16, 2014, massacre at the Army Public School in Peshawar that left 132 schoolchildren and nine staffers dead.
The Trump administration has off-late come down heavily on Pakistan demanding tough measures against the terror outfit operating on its soil.
After his recent visit to Pakistan, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee that Pakistan was willing to target terrorists if provided specific information about their whereabouts and Washington plans to give Islamabad the opportunity to do so.
He said the information that the US delegation gave Pakistan went “beyond just names of individuals” and also expected “to receive information” from Pakistan that would be useful in targeting militants.
Tillerson said that it was in the interest of Pakistan to change its “long-standing” relationship with terrorist organisations.
(With inputs from Agencies)