Indian security agencies say that the Lashkar-e-Tayiba will continue to pose the biggest threat to both India and the West this year and intercepts coupled with the investigations into the David Headley case show that there is a major change within the group.
The over 30-hour interrogation of David Headley conducted by the National Investigating Agency apart from underlining his specific role in the 26/11 attack and speaks a great length about the manner in which the Lashkar is undergoing a change from within and how in the years to come it will become a bigger threat.
Headley told his interrogators that the ISI is carrying out a balancing act and wants to ensure that there is no rebellion within the Lashkar, which appears to be brewing at the moment. A large part of the Lashkar leadership feels that they should fight alongside the Al Qaeda and the Taliban [ Images ] in Afghanistan and the ISI on the other hand does not like this happening.
Indian Intelligence officials tell rediff.com that while going through Headley's interrogation report, it becomes clear that there is a struggle within the Lashkar to join the Al-Qaeda and the Taliban and at times this situation has been going out of control for the ISI.
A divide within the Lashkar is not really good news since the ISI is capable of containing the group and keeping it together, the IB points out.
To keep the Lashkar together, the ISI may plan deadly strikes in India and the West and also raise the pitch in Kashmir . If one looks at the Headley interrogation it becomes clear that the 26/11 attack was also planned at a stage when the Lashkar cadres were trying to infiltrate into the Al Qaeda and the Taliban to battle the US forces in Afghanistan.
The IB says that this is the ISI's strategy since it would look to launch more such attacks in the future using the Lashkar in order to keep the flock together.
The ISI would surely plan more attacks on India and the West since these cadres have started to get the feeling that the ISI has been trying to at least go soft on common enemies such as the West and India.
Headley's account substantiates the claim by Indian security agencies that the Lashkar cadres who were waging a battle in Kashmir felt cowed down and hence wanted to participate in Afghanistan where they felt the battle of the Taliban and the Al Qaeda was more independent and dedicated.
In addition, they had also been feeling that the battle in Kashmir was more controlled by diplomatic relations and in the bargain they were unable to go all out and fight which made them like they were losing the war. It was at this time that they decided to move into the Al Qaeda and despite requests made by their chief Hafiz Saeed who lives under the protection of the ISI, they did not give in.
Headley says that this compelled the ISI to use the Lashkar to launch the 26/11 attack. The IB points out that such massive attacks boosts the morale of the cadres and in the eyes of the world they are seen to be undertaking jihad seriously.
While the 26/11 attack helped the ISI to keep the Lashkar united, presently the outfit is witnessing a similar rebellion. Not only do the cadres want the battle against India to continue, but they also want a pound of flesh from the West. This is a worrying factor, the IB says since the ISI may try and launch another massive attack to quell this sort of a rebellion.
Intelligence agencies say that the intercepts would go on to suggest that there is every chance of major attacks both on Indian soil as well as the West. In addition to this in order to keep the ranks united, they may also step up the heat on Kashmir, which over all makes it a worrisome situation.