Thursday, 11 April 2013

94% LeT recruits view J&K as fighting front: US report
Washington, April 5:  According to a US military report, 94 per cent of fresh recruits of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) see Jammu and Kashmir as a "fighting front" and most of them are well educated and brightest from Pakistan.  The eye-opener report from the US Military Academy in West Point is result of a multi-year research effort conducted by a lead team of five eminent authors including C Christine Fair, Don Rassler and Anirban Ghosh, and is based on a study of over 900 biographies of the deceased LeT militants.
According to the report that runs into nearly 60 pages, the vast majority of LeT's fighters are recruited from Pakistan's Punjab province and are actually rather well educated compared with Pakistani males generally. “While LeT's recruitment is diversified across the north, central and southern parts of the Punjab, the highest concentration of militants have come (in order of frequency) from the districts of Gujranwala, Faisalabad, Lahore, Sheikhupura, Kasur, Sialkot, Bahawalnagar, Bahawalpur, Khanewal and Multan. LeT training has historically occurred in Pakistan administered Kashmir (PaK's) capital Muzaffarabad and in Afghanistan. Together these two locations have accounted for 75 per cent of LeT militant training over time, it said.

It further said 94 per cent of fighters list Indian Kashmir as a fighting front. “Afghanistan, Chechnya, Tajikistan and Bosnia are also identified in the biographies as other fronts”. "According to our data, the districts of Kupwara, Baramulla and Poonch in Indian administered Kashmir account for almost half of all LeT militant deaths since 1989. Kupwara, the district with the largest number of militants killed, appears to be becoming less important overall as a fighting area, with its share of deaths declining over time," it said. The report further said that the number and share of LeT deaths in Baramulla and Poonch have been increasing.
The report, “The Fighters of Lashkar- e-Toiba:Recruitment, Training, Deployment and Death” by the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point identified 12 different channels of LeT recruitment, the most common forms of which include recruitment via: a current LeT member (20 per cent), a family member (20 per cent), mosque or madrassa (17 per cent), LeT speech or literature (12 per cent) and friends (5 per cent). "Since 2000 there has been a strong upward trend in recruitment via family members and by 2004, this channel contributed to over 40 per cent of LeT recruitment," it said. “Siblings and parents are central characters in the biographies and they play important roles in a fighter's entry into and journey through LeT. For example, siblings or other immediate family members were often the one to drop off a LeT recruit at a training camp or at the border,” the report said.
It further said the mean age when a recruit joins LeT is 16.95 years, while the militants' mean age at the time of their death is 21 years. “The mean number of years between a LeT militant's entry and death is 5.14 years”.
"The most common level of nonreligious education attained by LeT fighters (44 per cent of available data) before their entry into the group is matric (10th grade), indicating that on average the group's cadres had higher levels of secular education than other Pakistani males. They do not have high levels of formal religious education,” the report said.
It further said uncle of one militant was a Director at Pakistan's Atomic Energy Commission, while the father of another was the president of the Pakistan Muslim League's labor wing in Islamabad/Rawalpindi.   The study says that recruits often become holy warriors with the help of their families, which admire Lashkar's military exploits in India and Afghanistan and its nationalism and social service activities at home.

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