Lashkar e Taiba (LeT) is a Pakistani terrorist organization which attacks India, and some Western targets in Pakistan, and it is the 7th richest terrorist organization in the world. Lashkar e Taiba is supported by the Pakistani secret services (ISI). See The Diplomat “Is Pakistan Getting Ready to Abandon Lashkar-e-Taiba?”, March 2016.
According to the Diplomat, Pakistan might have to change its stance towards Lashkar e Taiba, an organization that until now was allowed to move freely in Pakistan. The reason is that China is putting pressure on Pakistan, because Lashkar e Taiba has connections with Al-Qaeda, and Al-Qaeda operates in the Muslim Chinese Province of Xin-Jiang. Xin-Jiang and Tibet are the weak points of China at her western borders.
In other words Pakistan’s support to Lashkar e Taiba ends up to Al-Qaeda in Xin-Jiang, obviously without Pakistan wishing for that. It is just the process of communicating vessels.
I must also say that India is supporting the Baloch separatists of Pakistan. And it was India again that organized the Benghalis of East Pakistan, who gained their independence from Pakistan in 1971, when India won the Indian-Pakistani War of 1971.
In the same way that Lashkar e Taiba attacks India, the Haqqani Network, another terrorist organization supported by the Pakistani secret services (ISI) attacks Pakistan’s enemies in Afghanistan i.e the Tajiks, the Hazara etc. The Haqqani Network is cooperating with Al-Qaeda too.
On the other hand, Pakistan’s enemies in Afghanistan support the terrorist organization Tehreek e Taliban (TTP), which attacks Pakistani targets in Pakistan.
Keep in mind that the Afghan Taliban are allies of Pakistan, while the Pakistani Taliban are enemies of Pakistan, even though both of them are mostly Pashtuns.
Al-Qaeda is a Saudi terrorist group, which in the past has been supported by the Arabs of the Persian Gulf, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Sudan, Hezbbollah, and probably other Muslim countries. Al-Qaeda is cooperating with many terrorist organizations, and the Taliban is one of them. See “The Hezbollah-Al Qaeda Axis”.
Al-Qaeda is a sum of Jihadist criminal organizations, which are loosely connected. That’s why there are disputes even for what the group’s ideology should be, even though it is clear that Al-Qaeda wants to establish a Socialist Islamic state in Saudi Arabia, by overthrowing the Saudi King.
However some Al-Qaeda members want the group to be focused on “crusaders” i.e. the Americans and NATO, others want the group to be focused on Muslim “apostates” like the Saudi Kings, and others want to kill both. Osama bin Laden, a Saudi, was equally tough on both the “crusaders” and the Muslim “apostates”.
This relationship obviously has to do with the funding of the different branches of Al-Qaeda. Gangs who are funded by donors who are enemies of the Saudi King but have good relations with the United States want the focus to be on apostates, and vice versa.
Iran, which supported the Al-Qaeda attack at the Twin Towers (9/11), now has significantly improved its relations with the Americans, and obviously it would not want to be associated with Al Qaeda attacks on US targets. But obviously Iran would be very eager to support Al-Qaeda against Muslim “apostates”, like the Saudi King.
Even the Saudi government, and the Saudi King, are on one hand fighting Al-Qaeda in Saudi Arabia, but on the other hand they support the group abroad, or at least some branches of the group, when they have common enemies. For example in Syria both the Saudi King and Al-Qaeda fight Iran.
Remember that in 2010, Hillary Clinton, as a Secretary of State (Minister of Foreign Affaris), accused Saudi Arabia for not doing enough to combat terrorism. Clinton said that even though the Saudi government was doing all it could do to prevent Al-Qaeda financing in Saudi Arabia, it was not very eager to stop Saudi financing for Al-Qaeda abroad. See CBS News “Saudis Largest Source of Terror Funds”, December 2010.
What Clinton says is exactly the way the Saudi Kings see Al-Qaeda. They perceive Al-Qaeda as a great domestic threat, but very often see Al-Qaeda as a valuable ally abroad, against common enemies i.e. Iran in Syria and Afghanistan, or against the American efforts to bring the oil and gas of Central Asia to the Indian Ocean.
Also remember that the Americans have the same approach. General Petraeus, a former CIA director, said that the United States should work with “moderate” groups of Al-Qaeda in Syria, in order to fight ISIS. See “The Daily Beast “Petraeus: Use Al Qaeda Fighters to Beat ISIS”, September 2015.
There are no moderate Al-Qaeda groups, and what General Petraeus meant was that the US should use Al-Qaeda groups which are supported by governments that have relatively good relations with the United States i.e. Qatar, in order to fight ISIS, a greater enemy for the US, since ISIS is the ex-people of Saddam Hussein, who were overturned by the Americans on 2003. See “Towards an Alliance Between Russia and ISIS”?
But let me go back to the Haqqani Network. In 2011 the top military officer of the United States, admiral Mike Mullen, accused Pakistan for the attack at the American embassy in Kabul, and he said that the Haqqani Network is the long hand of the Pakistani secret services ISI. See BBC “US Admiral: ‘Haqqani is veritable arm of Pakistan’s ISI’”, September 2011.
It is true that Pakistan has been traditionally supporting Leshkar e Taiba against India and the Haqqani Network against Afghan enemies. Now that Pakistan and the United States have big problems, and the US is getting closer to Inida, Pakistan might turn against the United States.
But it also very likely that the attacks against the United States are not directly ordered by the Pakistani government, but by Al-Qaeda, which is cooperating with both groups. And that seems more plausible to me. Obviously I cannot be sure.
Pakistan cannot have 100% control on these terrorist groups. The members of these groups are criminals. Today they can work for the Haqqani Network, and tomorrow they might find a better job with Al-Qaeda or ISIS, or get a better salary from a smaller group like the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM). Or they can sell to other terrorists the valuable skills they obtained from their cooperation with the Pakistani secret services, or the secret services of other countries.
Terrorists are employees, and they act like employees in all other sectors i.e. they are trying to increase their income. Except that their job is to pub bombs.
“Is Pakistan Getting Ready to Abandon Lashkar-e-Taiba?”, March 2016
“US Admiral: ‘Haqqani is veritable arm of Pakistan’s ISI’”, September 2011
“Saudis Largest Source of Terror Funds”, December 2010
“Petraeus: Use Al Qaeda Fighters to Beat ISIS”, September 2015
“The 10 Richest Terrorist Organizations”