Harakat-ul-Mujahedeen

Formed1985
DisbandedGroup is active.
First AttackJanuary 1994: HuA abducted two Indian security forces personnel in an attempt to force the Indian government to release three top HuA leaders. HuA killed the victims when the government refused to meet the group’s demands (2 killed, 0 wounded). [1]
Last AttackDecember 2015: HuM claimed responsibility for an attack on the districts of Handwor and Poonch located in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir (10 killed, unknown wounded). [2]
UpdatedAugust 8, 2017

Narrative Summary

Harakat-ul-Mujahedeen (HuM) was founded by Fazlur Rehman Khalil in 1985 as a splinter group of the anti-Soviet militant Islamic group, Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HuJI). Initially formed to fight the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, HuM allegedly received support from the Pakistani government and the United States. [3] However, after the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1989, HuM shifted its focus from opposing the Soviet Union, to achieving the annexation of Jammu and Kashmir through jihad. [4]

In 1993, HuM reunited with HuJI to form a new militant organization, Harkat-ul-Ansar (HuA). Pakistani General Pervez Musharraf (who would later become the President of Pakistan) was allegedly instrumental in this merger. HuA subsequently joined the umbrella organization, United Jihad Council. [5] In late 1993 and early 1994, Indian security forces arrested three of HuA’s top leaders in quick succession. In response, HuA staged four hostage situations throughout 1994 and 1995 in an effort to secure the release of its leaders. All four attempts were ultimately unsuccessful, as the Indian government proved unwilling to negotiate with HuA, despite the death of hostages. [6] In 1997, the U.S. government designated HuA as a foreign terrorist organization. This decision was influenced both by reports of the hostage incidents and claims that HuA had links to Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. HuA subsequently changed its name back to HuM in order to avoid the consequences of the U.S.’s ban. [7] In February 1998, HuM leader Fazlur Rehman Khalil signed bin Laden’s fatwa, which called for attacks on U.S. and Western interests. Khalil also expressed that HuM would take revenge on the United States for its 1998 strikes against Bin Laden-linked training camps in Khost, Afghanistan. [8]

In December 1999, HuM garnered international attention for hijacking Indian Airlines flight IC 814 from Kathmandu, Nepal to Delhi, India. After touching down several times, the hijackers forced the pilot to land in Kandahar, Afghanistan. [9] Afghan Taliban militants subsequently surrounded the plane, and inserted themselves into the situation as negotiators between HuM and the Indian government. With the support of the Afghan Taliban, HuM successfully secured the release of three militants, including former HuA militants Maulana Masood Azhar and Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheik. [10] Most notably, Sheik went on to abduct and murder American journalist Daniel Pearl in 2002. [11]

In January 2000, following his release from jail, Azhar and many of his followers split off from HuM to form the rival group, Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM). Azhar initiated the split because he wanted to pursue a more radical and more sectarian approach, which conflicted with HuM’s more moderate stance. Azhar's departure weakened HuM’s operations and resources, as many experienced HuM field commanders defected to JeM. [12] [13] [14] Despite this split, HuM maintained close ties with a number of other groups, including Al Qaeda, Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP), and the religious political party, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Samiul Haq (JUI-S). [15] [16]

After the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, the United States re-designated the group as a foreign terrorist organization under the name HuM, given its connection to Osama bin Laden. Pakistan also banned HuM in November 2001. [17] In 2003, HuM changed its name yet again, this time to Jamiat-ul-Ansar (JuA). [18] Pakistan banned the group under its new name in November 2003, in response to U.S. pressure and complaints that Pakistani militant groups were simply renaming themselves in order to remain active. [19] [20] [21] Despite Pakistan’s ban, JuA continued to openly defy the Pakistani government. For example, JuA used its monthly anti-American magazine as a platform from which to raise funds, coordinate events, and urge volunteers to fight U.S.-led coalition forces in Afghanistan and Iraq. [22] The group also continued to run militant training camps, which were largely undisturbed by Pakistani authorities. [23] Although the group did not issue an official statement changing its name, media outlets reflect that JuA reverted back to HuM sometime after 2003. After 2007, many HuM fighters allegedly left the group to join the Afghan Taliban. However, HuM commanders claimed that its leadership and network remained intact, although reduced. [24]

From its formation to 2013, HuM was active in conducting attacks on Indian interests. The U.S. State Department reported that there were no known attacks conducted by HuM in 2014. However, in December 2015, the group regained international attention by claiming responsibility for attacks in Handwor and Poonch. [25]

As of August 2014, the U.S. State Department reports that HuM continues to operate training camps in eastern Afghanistan, which enable it to launch attacks in Kashmir. In addition to operating in Kashmir and Afghanistan, the State Department reports that HuM is allowed to operate freely in Pakistan, with the permission of the Pakistani military and ISI. [26] Most recently, in January 2016, Indian security forces arrested five HuM militants in the Sopore area of northern Indian Administered Kashmir, for planning attacks against Indian dignitaries and security forces. [27]

Leadership

  1. Maulana Masood Azhar (Unknown to Unknown): Maulana Masood Azhar served as the General Secretary, top ideologue, and chief orator of HuM. Following his arrest and subsequent release by the Indian government, Azhar left HuM in order to found Jaish-e-Muhammad in January 2000.[28]
  2. Sajjad Afghani (Unknown to Unknown): Sajjad Afghani was the commander of HuA in Jammu and Kashmir.[29]
  3. Nasarullah Manzoor Langaryal (Unknown to Unknown): Nasarullah Manzoor Langaryal was a commander of HuM.[30]
  4. Farooq Kashmiri (Unknown to Unknown): Farooq Kashmiri served as Maulana Fazlur Rehman Khalil’s second-in-command of HuM from 1985 to 2000. When Khalil stepped down as the group’s leader in February 2002, Kashmiri assumed the role and became the second official leader of HuM.[31]
  5. Maulana Fazlur Rehman Khalil (1985 to February 2000): Maulana Fazlur Rehman Khalil was one of the cofounders of HuM’s parent group, HuJI. In 1985, Khalil split from HuJI to form HuM—establishing himself as the group’s first commander. In 1993, Fazlur established a close relationship with then Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Omar by coordinating between the Afghan Taliban and the Benazir Bhutto regime in Pakistan. On February 23, 1998, Fazlur became one of five signatories on Osama bin Laden’s fatwa. This fatwa, entitled, “The World Islamic Front for Jihad against the Jews and Crusaders” served as Al Qaeda’s declaration of war against the United States and other Western democracies. In 2000, Fazlur stepped down as the leader of HuM, passing the position to Farooq Kashmiri Khalil. However, Khalil remained connected to the organization, and allegedly assumed the position of HuM Secretary General. Khalil was briefly arrested in May 2004 for transporting Pakistani militants into Afghanistan. In 2005, Khalil went into hiding to escape a second arrest. However, after being abducted and wounded in 2006, Khalil was treated at a local Pakistani hospital. Khalil was not arrested, despite the fact that he was allegedly wanted by the Pakistani government. Khalil is the current leader of the militant group Ansar-ul-Ummah, which is allegedly a front organization for HuM. Khalil denies that HuM has existed since the end of the Afghan jihad, despite strong evidence that proves the group is still active. [32]
  6. Abdelkader Mokhtari (1993 to Unknown): Abdelkader Mokhtari was a leader of HuM when the group merged with HuJI to form HuA in 1993. Mokhtari was originally an Algerian commander who gained recognition for his participation in the Bosnian war.[33]
  7. Maulana Saadatullah Khan (2000 to Present): Khan is thought to be the current leader of HuM.[34]

Ideology & Goals

HuM is a Sunni organization, similar in ideology to Wahhabism and the Deobandi revivalist school of thought. Its ideology also reflects that of the Markaz-ud Dawa-wal-Irshad and the Afghan Taliban. Osama bin Laden and other members of Al Qaeda were also key sources of inspiration for the foundation of HuM's ideology. HuM maintains a strict interpretation of Islamic law, which identifies parliamentary democracy as a manifestation of the negative influence of the West on Islamic societies. [35]

HuM was originally established in order to conduct jihad against Soviet troops stationed in Afghanistan. [36] However, after the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1989, HuM shifted its goals. Currently, the group’s primary objectives are threefold. Fist, HuM seeks to unite Kashmir and Jammu with Pakistan, and to establish within this territory an Islamic caliphate based on Shariah law. As part of this goal, JuA rejects all forms of democracy in Pakistan. [37] Second, HuM is committed to carrying out attacks against India. The group has even advocated for the use of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal against India, and proposes the transfer of Pakistani nuclear weapons technology to other Islamic, anti-Indian states. The group is strongly opposed to any efforts to normalize the relationship between Pakistan and India. [38] Third, HuM has pledged to support the Afghan jihad by waging war against U.S.-led coalition forces in Afghanistan. Some elements within the group have advocated that HuM shift its focus and priorities to reflect the Al Qaeda-inspired mission of global jihad, particularly against the United States and Israel. [39] [40]

Name Changes

1993: Harkat-ul-Ansar (HuA): HuM reunited with HuJI to form a new militant organization, Harkat-ul-Ansar (HuA). [41]

1997: Harkat-ul-Mujahedeen (HuM): HuM assumed its original name after the U.S. designated HuA as a terrorist organization. The intent of this name change was to avoid any sanctions associated with the new designation. [42]

2003: Jamiat-ul-Ansar (JuA): HuM changed its name to Jamiat-ul-Ansar. Although the group did not issue an official statement changing its name, media outlets reflect that JuA reverted back to the name HuM sometime after 2003. [43]

2014: Ansar-ul-Ummah (AU): The U.S. State Department reported that Ansar-ul-Ummah is a front organization for HuM. [44]

The U.S. State Department identifies the following names as possible aliases and front organizations for HuM: Harkat-ul-Ansar, Jamiat-ul-Ansar, Al-Faran, Al-Hadid, Al-Hadith, and Ansar-ul-Ummah. [45]

Size Estimates

Designated/Listed

U.S. State Department: October 8, 1997 to present: (Designated under the name HuA) [48]

United Nations Security Council 1267 Sanctions Committee: 1999 to present [49]

U.S. State Department: 2001 to present (Designated under the name HuM) [50] [51]

United Kingdom March 2001 to present (Designated under the name HuA) [52]

United Nations Resolution 1333: October 6, 2001 to present (Designated under the name HuM). [53]

Pakistan: November 2001 to present (Designated under the name HuM) [54]

Australian Criminal Code: 2002 to present (Designated under the name JuA) [55]

Canadian Public Safety: November 27, 2002 to present (Designated under the name HuM) [56]

Pakistan: November 2003 to present (Designated under the name JuA) [57]

Resources

HuM primarily finances its operations through donations from wealthy individuals and grassroots fundraising in Pakistan. Many of these donations are directed through front organizations and Islamic charities in the United Kingdom, South Asia and the Middle East. [58] [59] HuM has developed organized methods of soliciting donations from sympathizers in Pakistan and Kashmir, including distributing magazine ads and pamphlets. [60] [61]

A 1997 U.S. State Department report alleged that Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence and other Pakistani foreign agencies support and fund HuM and other militant groups. [62] However, the actual extent of official funding from Pakistani officials is unknown.

HuM recruits men between the ages of 18 and 25 as trainees. Many of these men are students from Sunni madrassas. [63] Although most recruits are Pakistani, Kashmiri, and Afghani, HuM also attracts jihadists from other regions, such as Bangladesh, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, the United Kingdom, and the United States. [64] New recruits are initially briefed at HuM headquarters in Kabul, and then assigned to various training camps throughout Afghanistan and Pakistan. [65]

External Influences

HuM has allegedly received support from Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) since its formation. [66] This was confirmed in June 2011, when U.S. analysts captured the cellphone of Osama bin Laden’s courier. Upon tracing calls on the cellphone, U.S. analysts determined that HuM had been in contact with ISI. [67]

HuM is reportedly able to move and operate freely within Pakistan’s borders. [68] HuM’s alleged relationship with ISI is consistent with the accusations of numerous U.S., European, Afghan, and Indian officials, who claim that Pakistan supports certain terrorist groups in order to further its national interests in Kashmir, India, and Afghanistan. Despite the Pakistani government’s partial influence over certain groups, the government has reportedly lost control over militant activity. In certain instances, groups formerly focused on operating in Kashmir and India have conducted attacks against Pakistani targets, making them targets for Pakistani security forces. [69]

Geographical Locations

HuM is based in Muzaffarabad and Rawalpindi and has other offices in various towns in Pakistan. HuM allegedly operates freely inside Pakistan. [70] The group trains militants in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and engages in terrorist activity in Kashmir, India, Pakistan and Afghanistan. [71] [72] [73] Additionally, militants trained at HuM facilities have reportedly taken part in terrorist operations in countries such as Tajikistan and Bosnia and Herzegovina. [74]

Targets & Tactics

HuM training camps educate militants in Islamist doctrine and guerilla tactics. These camps train jihadists from other transnational Islamic militant organizations, in addition to HuM militants. [75]

HuM conducts most of its operations in Indian Administered Kashmir. [76] The HuM’s main targets in this area include Indian security forces and Hindu communities, which the group intends to push out of the region. HuM has also murdered Kashmiri Muslims who did not support its goals. In addition to its operations in Jammu and Kashmir, HuM conducts attacks against U.S.-led Coalition forces in Afghanistan. [77]

Overall, HuM typically conducts bombings, kidnappings, and hijackings, with the use of machine guns, rockets, assault rifles, mortars, and explosives. Although the group has expressed an interest in commandeering Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal in order to attack India, HuM has never controlled nuclear weapons. [78] [79] Some militants are also trained to carry out lower-intensity attacks, such as hit-and-run or suicide operations. [80]

Throughout its existence, HuM has changed its name repeatedly in order to avoid the consequences of terrorist designations, such as sanctions and targeting. HuM also operates under aliases in order to mask certain activities. For example, using the name, “Al-Faran,” HuM has kidnapped and murdered foreigners in an effort to free imprisoned militant leaders. [81]

Political Activities

Although Harakat ul-Mujahidin (HuM) does not directly participate in politics, the group is ideologically aligned with Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Islam Fazlur Rehman (JUI-F), a prominent radical Islamic political party in Pakistan and Kashmir. [82] [83] HuM is also believed to be strongly influenced by the religious political party, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Samiul Haq (JUI-S). [84]

Major Attacks

  1. January 1994: HuA abducted two Indian security forces personnel in an attempt to force the Indian government to release three top HuA leaders. HuA killed the victims when the government refused to meet the group’s demands (2 killed, 0 wounded).[85]
  2. June 1994: HuA abducted two foreign tourists. However, HuA released the hostages following substantial local outcry against the abductions (0 killed, 0 wounded).[86]
  3. October 1994: HuA abducted four foreign tourists in New Delhi and held them captive in Uttar Pradesh. However, Indian security forces were able to conduct a successful rescue operation, and arrested the militant who had coordinated the abduction (0 killed, 0 wounded).[87]
  4. July 1995: Al-Faran (an alias for HuM) kidnapped five Westerners. One was reportedly killed in August and the rest in December later that year (5 killed, unknown wounded).[88]
  5. December 24, 1995: HuM hijacked Indian Airlines flight IC 814 from Kathmandu, Nepal, and ultimately landed in Kandahar, Afghanistan. With the support of the Afghan Taliban, HuM successfully secured the release of three Islamic militants (1 killed, 0 wounded).[89]
  6. November 2000: HuM attacked two Indian Army posts in Kashmir (30 killed, unknown wounded).[90]
  7. February 1, 2002: Former HuA militant, Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheik, was involved in the abduction and murder of U.S. journalist, Daniel Pearl (1 killed, 0 wounded).[91]
  8. May 8, 2002: HuM conducted a suicide car bombing attack outside the Sheraton Hotel in Karachi (15 killed, 20 wounded).[92]
  9. June 14, 2002: HuM conducted a suicide bombing attack outside the U.S. Consulate in Karachi (11 killed, 40 wounded).[93]
  10. June 9, 2004: JuA conducted an attack against a military convoy in Karachi, which was carrying the Karachi military commander (7 killed, unknown wounded).[94]
  11. November 2006: A JuA militant shot and killed a former special Police Officer in Kashmir (1 killed, 0 wounded).[95]
  12. February 2007: JuA orchestrated the kidnapping and beheading of a Hindu businessman in Sindh Province, Pakistan (1 killed, 0 wounded).[96]
  13. November 2007: HuM militants engaged Indian soldiers in a firefight in Kashmir (2 killed, unknown wounded).[97]
  14. February 23, 2010: HuM militants engaged in a battle with Indian security forces in Sopore, Kashmir. During the course of the battle, the militants blew up two houses (unknown killed, unknown wounded).[98]
  15. December 2015: HuM claimed responsibility for an attack in Handwor and Poonch in India, which resulted in the deaths of five Indian army troopers and five HuM militants (10 killed, unknown wounded).[99]

Relationships with Other Groups

Throughout the late 1990s, HuM was closely aligned with the Afghan Taliban and Al Qaeda, and often channeled foreign fighters to Al Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan. [100] As the group grew in strength and independence, HuM maintained its ties with Al Qaeda. HuM’s original leader, Fazlur Rehman Khalil, shared a particularly close relationship with Osama bin Laden. For example, in February 1998, Khalil signed bin Laden’s fatwa, which declared war on Americans and called for attacks against U.S. and Western interests. [101] Prominent Al Qaeda militants, such as Commander Badr Mansoor, have also joined HuM and risen through the ranks as leaders. [102]

In addition to working with Al Qaeda, HuM also cooperates with various militant groups from Afghanistan, Kashmir, and Pakistan. HuM’s allies include Hizbul Mujahideen, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Muhammad, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, and Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan. [103] HuM is also a member of the umbrella organization, the United Jihad Council, which exists to coordinate the communications and strategies of various groups within the global Jihad movement. Given its connections and participation in the council, HuM remains well connected and integrated into the jihadi network. [104]

In 2010, then U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates described HuM as one of several terrorist groups that are part of a so-called “syndicate” in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the surrounding region. Other groups included in this syndicate are the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami, Jaish-e-Muhammad, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, and Lashkar e-Taiba. 

Community Relationships

Many of HuM’s supporters reside in Azad Kashmir, Pakistan, and India’s southern Kashmir and Doda regions in the Kashmir valley. Some of the group’s supporters include Arab veterans of the Afghan war. [105]


References

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