Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, also known as Army of the Righteous, is one of the largest and most proficient of the Kashmir-focused militant groups. LT formed in the early 1990s as the military wing of Markaz-ud-Dawa-wal-Irshad, a Pakistan-based Islamic fundamentalist missionary organization founded in the 1980s to oppose the Soviets in Afghanistan. Since 1993, LT has conducted numerous attacks against Indian troops and civilian targets in the disputed Jammu and Kashmir state, as well as several high-profile attacks inside India itself. Concern over new LT attacks in India remains high. The United States and United Nations have designated LT an international terrorist organization. The Pakistani Government banned LT and froze its assets in 2002. In 2008 the US Treasury Department imposed sanctions on four senior LT leaders, and in April 2012 two senior LT leaders were placed on the US State Department Rewards for Justice list.
The Indian Government has charged LT with committing the 26–29 November 2008 attacks in Mumbai, in which gunmen using automatic weapons and grenades attacked several sites, killing more than 160 people. Pakistani authorities have detained and are prosecuting several LT leaders for the Mumbai attacks. David Headley, an American citizen who acknowledged attending LT training camps, pleaded guilty in March 2010 to scouting targets for the Mumbai attacks. On 21 November 2012, India executed the lone surviving Mumbai attacker, Pakistani Ajmal Kasab, after the Indian Supreme Court upheld his death sentence. India accused LT of involvement in other high-profile attacks, including the 11 July 2006 attack on multiple Mumbai commuter trains that killed more than 180 people, and the December 2001 armed assault on the Indian Parliament building that left 12 dead. Indian authorities have speculated that LT also may have contributed surveillance and planning for the 13 February 2010 bombing of a German bakery in Pune, India.
LT’s exact size is unknown, but the group probably has several thousand members, predominantly Pakistani nationals seeking a united Kashmir under Pakistani rule. Elements of LT are active in Afghanistan and the group also recruits internationally, as evidenced by the arrest in the United States of Jubair Ahmed in 2011, Headley’s arrest in 2009, and the indictment of 11 LT terrorists in Virginia in 2003. LT maintains facilities in Pakistan, including training camps, schools, and medical clinics. In March 2002, senior al-Qa‘ida lieutenant Abu Zubaydah was captured at an LT safehouse in Faisalabad, suggesting that some LT members assist the group.
LT coordinates its charitable activities through its front organization, Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JUD), which spearheaded humanitarian relief to the victims of the October 2005 earthquake in Kashmir. JUD activities, however, have been limited since December 2008 by the UN’s designation of the group as an alias for LT. During the 2010 floods in Pakistan, JUD and an affiliated charity, the Falah-i-Insaniyat Foundation, were widely reported to have provided aid to flood victims.