Terrorist groups Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and the Islamic State are reportedly working together and have drawn up plans with the Pakistan Army to launch an attack on Indian and US assets in Afghanistan.
Operatives from LeT and a team of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) officials recently met at Jaba area in Afghanistan where the terror group was given directions to conduct attacks on Indian and US assets, intelligence officials from India and the US told Hindustan Times.
They said different strategies of attacks were planned, including suicide bombers sent from Pakistan.
The officials pointed out that the spread of LeT's presence in Afghanistan has risen over the years. "LeT's presence in Afghanistan has been observed to be steadily on the rise. According to recent inputs, Hafiz Saeed's son Talha Saeed is taking more interest in operational affairs in Afghanistan," said an official.
However, the reason behind LeT's focus on Afghanistan is based on strategic 'safe havens for its fighters' and reassurance that the Taliban is in 'commanding position', officials said. They also said that the porous Afghan-Pakistan border, Kunar, Nangarhar and Nuristan regions also facilitates the LeT's strategy to claim "Islamic victory" in Afghanistan.
Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) has also been reported to have expanded its operations in Afghanistan under the Taliban leadership. The terrorist group had maintained its strong ties with the Afghan Taliban.
Earlier this year, Director of National Intelligence in US, Dan Coats, had warned that Pakistan's "narrow approach to counterterrorism cooperation-using some groups as policy tools and confronting only the militant groups that directly threaten Pakistan-almost certainly will frustrate US counterterrorism efforts against the Taliban."
"Militant groups supported by Pakistan will continue to take advantage of their safe haven in Pakistan to plan and conduct attacks in India and Afghanistan, including against US interests," Coats had told the members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence during an assessment meeting in January.
The recent report of sponsoring terrorism puts pressure on Pakistan, which is under immense scrutiny from the US and the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) for a crackdown on LeT and other terror groups such as Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD) and JeM.
The Pakistan military has reportedly carried out several crackdowns against the Pakistan Taliban over the past few years to restrict terror activities. On Sunday, the Tablian had conducted twin attacks, including a suicide attack, targeting Pakistan police officials for killing a militant commander.
Last week, the founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba and the chief of Jamaat-ud-Dawah, Hafiz Saeed, was arrested by the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) on charges of 23 terror-related activities, including terror-financing in Pakistan.