LeT `expanding network` in Nepal: US Cable

Last Updated: Monday, December 6, 2010 - 21:46

Kathmandu: Amid Indian fears that
Pakistan-based terrorist groups were seeking to deepen their
network in Nepal, US secret cables reveal that the banned LeT
blamed for the 2008 Mumbai attacks was dangerously expanding
its sleeper cells in this country.

According to a secret US State Department cable
released by whistle-blower website WikiLeaks, the
Pakistan-based terror outfit Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) was
expanding its network in Nepal along with rest of South Asia.

Even as India and Nepal have open borders, New Delhi
has been concerned that international terrorist networks,
particularly those supported by the Pakistani spy agency ISI,
were using the porous border to push arms, narcotics and
counterfeit currency.

The network of Shafiq Khafa - a LeT leader - is
"striving to stand up two teams in southern India that rely on
the support of LeT members based in India, Sri Lanka,
Pakistan, and Nepal", claimed the diplomatic cable dated June
19, 2009.

The secret US State Department noting is based on
various intelligence inputs received by it, the source of
which is not mentioned in the cable.

India`s intelligence agencies have ofter expressed
concern that the LeT was establishing a stronghold in Nepal`s
southern plains bordering India.

According to the cable, LeT had planned to assassinate
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi by using base in Kerala
and Tamil Nadu.

Although specific details of planned LeT attacks
remain unknown, late-May 2009 intelligence indicates that
Khafa`s cells were engaged in surveillance activities of
potential targets, likely in southern India.

The United States, which has charged the Wikileaks of
indulging in a criminal act by stealing and releasing these
cables, has neither confirmed nor denied the authenticity of
these documents.

Out of a total of 250,000 documents being released by
the whistle-blower website, some 2,600 are related to Nepal,
according to reports here.

Last week, US Ambassador to Nepal Scot Delisi slammed
the disclosure of information that was intended to be
confidential.

"We will continue to work to strengthen our
partnership with Nepal and make progress on the issues that
are important for our two countries," he said in a statement
issued by the US Embassy in Nepal.

PTI



First Published: Monday, December 6, 2010 - 21:46

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