The Obama administration's decision to designate the leadership of Pakistan's Lashkar-e-Taiba group as terrorists this week sends a pointed, if largely symbolic, message to a Pakistani government that remains unable or unwilling to crack down on the extremist organization.
On Thursday, the Treasury Department issued an order against eight Lashkar leaders that prohibits Americans from doing business with them and freezes any of their assets under U.S. jurisdiction. The suspects targeted include Sajid Mir, who was indicted by U.S. prosecutors last year for allegedly working with Pakistan's spy agency to direct the 2008 terror attacks on Mumbai that killed 166 people, including six Americans.
ProPublica has reported extensively on the attacks and the ties between Lashkar and Pakistani intelligence. The other Laskhar chiefs named Thursday by Treasury are accused of running finances, propaganda and military operations against U.S. forces in Afghanistan, where Lashkar cooperates with the Taliban and al Qaeda.
"Today's action against LET (Lashkar-e-Taiba) is Treasury's most comprehensive to date against this group and includes individuals participating in all aspects of Lashkar's operations,” David S. Cohen, the undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, said in a statement. "Attacking LET's facilitation networks is particularly important, since charitable donations LET raises in Pakistan — its primary revenue source — are used to fuel LET's military operations.”
The financial impact on Lashkar will be less than devastating, however. Although donations are a significant source of income, the militant group is also a longtime recipient of funds, arms, training and protection from Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence ...