The LT is the armed wing of the Pakistan-based religious organization, Markaz-ud- Dawa-wal-Irshad (MDI)—a Sunni anti-US missionary organization formed in 1989. The LT is led by Hafi z Muhammad Saeed and is one of the three-largest and besttrained groups fighting in Kashmir against India; it is not connected to a political party. The United States in October 2001 announced the addition of the LT to the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) list—which includes organizations that are believed to support terrorist groups and have assets in US jurisdiction that can be frozen or controlled. The group was banned, and the Pakistani Government froze its assets in January 2002. The LT is also known by the name of its associated organization, Jamaat ud-Dawa (JUD). Musharraf placed JUD on a watchlist in November 2003. First designated in December 2001.
The LT has conducted a number of operations against Indian troops and civilian targets in Jammu and Kashmir since 1993. The LT claimed responsibility for numerous attacks in 2001, including an attack in January on Srinagar airport that killed five Indians along with six militants; an attack on a police station in Srinagar that killed at least eight officers and wounded several others; and an attack in April against Indian border-security forces that left at least four dead. The Indian Government publicly implicated the LT—along with JEM—for the attack on 13 December 2001 on the Indian Parliament building, although concrete evidence is lacking. The LT is also suspected of involvement in the attack on 14 May 2002 on an Indian Army base in Kaluchak that left 36 dead. Senior al-Qaida lieutenant Abu Zubaydah was captured at an LT safehouse in Faisalabad in March 2002, suggesting some members are facilitating the movement of al-Qaida members in Pakistan.
Has several thousand members in Azad Kashmir, Pakistan, and in southern Jammu and Kashmir and Doda regions and in the Kashmir valley. Almost all LT cadres are Pakistanis from madrassas across Pakistan and Afghan veterans of the Afghan wars. Uses assault rifles, light and heavy machineguns, mortars, explosives, and rocket-propelled grenades.
Location/Area of Operation
Based in Muridke (near Lahore) and Muzaffarabad.
Collects donations from the Pakistani community in the Persian Gulf and United Kingdom, Islamic NGOs, and Pakistani and other Kashmiri business people. The LT also maintains a Web site (under the name of its associated organization Jamaat ud-Daawa), through which it solicits funds and provides information on the group’s activities. The amount of LT funding is unknown. The LT maintains ties to religious/ military groups around the world, ranging from the Philippines to the Middle East and Chechnya through the fraternal network of its parent organization Jamaat ud-Dawa (formerly Markaz Dawa ul-Irshad). In anticipation of asset seizures by the Pakistani Government, the LT withdrew funds from bank accounts and invested in legal businesses, such as commodity trading, real estate, and production of consumer goods.