Jaish-e-Mohammad

Formed2000
DisbandedGroup is active.
First AttackApril 19, 2000: A suicide car bomb exploded outside of the Indian Army’s 15 Corp headquarters in Badami Bagh, India. It was later discovered that the suicide bomber was a member of JeM. It was the first suicide terrorist attack in India. (1 killed, 7 injured) [1] [2]
Last AttackSeptember 26, 2013: Because many militant groups are active in Pakistan, attack attribution can be difficult, and there is little information available regarding JeM’s activity after the mid-2000s. The most recent reliable information came from September 2013, when an army base in IAK was attacked in a truck bombing and subsequent raid by gunmen. The al-Shuda Brigade claimed responsibility, but authorities believed that JeM and Lashkar-e-Taiba colluded in the attack. (7 killed, 3 wounded) [3]
UpdatedJune 25, 2015

Narrative Summary

Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) is an extremist Islamist group based in Pakistan that aims to undermine Indian control of the Indian Administered Kashmir (IAK) and unite the province with Pakistan under their own interpretation of Shariah Law. [4]

The group was founded by Masood Azhar in the early 2000s. Azhar, a citizen of Pakistan and a member of the terrorist group Harakat al-Mujahedeen (HuM), was accused of working with Al Qaeda (AQ) and of fighting against U.S. troops in Somalia with an HuM group under Osama bin Laden’s instructions. Indian authorities arrested him when he returned to IAK. [5] [6] After HuM attempted to free him several times, the group finally succeeded in 1999 by hijacking an Indian Airlines plane carrying 155 passengers. They secured his release from the Indian government in exchange for the hostages. [7] [8] [9] Shortly after his release, Azhar travelled to Afghanistan where he reportedly met with Osama bin Laden. [10] Bin Laden, along with Pakistan’s Inter-service Intelligence (ISI), the Taliban, and several Islamist fundamentalist groups reportedly supported Azhar in forming JeM. The venture was also allegedly supported by the chiefs of three major religious schools: Mufti Nizamuddin Shamzai of the Majlis-e-Tawan-e-Islami, Maulana Mufti Rashid Ahmed of the Dar-ul Ifta-e-wal-Irshad, and Maulana Sher Ali of the Sheikh-ul-Hadith Dar-ul Haqqania. [11] About three quarters of HuM’s membership reportedly joined Azhar in JeM, which reportedly led to a violent rivalry between JeM and HuM. [12] [13][14]

JeM quickly gained notoriety for its attacks in Indian Administered Kashmir (IAK), and later in India and Pakistan. It carried out the first suicide attack in the history of the Kashmir conflict on April 19, 2000, although it may have been responsible for other attacks prior to this date. [15] In October 2001, the group bombed the legislative assembly building in IAK, killing more than 30 people. [16] In December 2001, armed militants attacked the parliament of India, setting off a tense political standoff between Pakistan and its rival India, which regularly accused Pakistan’s ISI of sponsoring terrorist attacks against India. Indian authorities soon determined that JeM and another organization, Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LeT) were responsible for the attack. Both groups denied involvement. [17] [18][19]

Later in December of 2001, following the Parliament attack, the U.S. State Department added JeM to its foreign terrorist organization (FTO) list. [20] Pakistani authorities arrested Masood Azhar on December 29, 2001 for his supposed involvement in the attack, but he was released a year later after the Lahore High Court ruled his arrest unlawful. [21]  Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf outlawed JeM, along with another Pakistan-based Islamist group, in 2002. Although the ban did not end allegations that Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) supported jihadi terrorist groups like JeM, it signaled an official withdrawal of any alleged state support. [22] [23] In that same year, JeM members gained international media attention by kidnapping and later beheading American noncombatant journalist Daniel Pearl. [24][25] The following year, the group attempted to assassinate Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf twice. [26]

As a response to the scrutiny that came with its high-profile attacks and to protect itself from the repercussions of being on the U.S. FTO list, Azhar renamed the group Tehrik-ul-Furqan and reportedly distributed the organization’s financial resources to low-profile members for safekeeping. [27] Despite the security measures, the group is reported to have suffered major setbacks in the mid 2000s as a result of government arrests targeting JeM senior leaders. [28]  In 2003, shortly after the name change, Azhar expelled twelve other leaders and the group splintered into two offshoots: Khuddam ul-Islam (KUI) remained headed by Azhar, and Jamaat ul-Furqan (JUF), led by Maulana Abdul Jabbar, reportedly rejected Azhar’s leadership. [29] Most sources continued to report on the factions as a single organization as attacks continued throughout the 2000s.

In June 2008, JeM representatives allegedly attended a meeting of extremist organizations in Pakistan, where the attendees planned to refocus their collective efforts on expelling foreign actors from Afghanistan rather than on IAK and Pakistan. [30] Subsequently, JeM increased its targeting of the U.S. and U.S. coalition forces in Afghanistan, while reducing, but not stopping, its efforts against India, IAK, and the Pakistani government. [31] In late 2008, Azhar was briefly detained after a suicide assault in Mumbai, India, but was quietly freed from custody shortly afterward. [32]

Attacks in IAK throughout 2013 and 2014 appear to have been carried out by individuals affiliated with JeM, but those attacks have not necessarily been planned by the organization. However, Azhar has continued to make statements calling for jihad to liberate IAK as well as attacks against Israeli and U.S. interests. [33] Meanwhile, attacks in Afghanistan remain difficult to attribute, and so JeM’s current level of activity in the region is unclear.

Leadership


  1. Masood Azhar (2000 to Present): Azhar is JeM’s founder and commander. A former member of Harakat-ul-Mujahideen, Azhar gained prominence throughout the nineties, including during his time in an Indian prison for militant activities in Jammu and Kashmir. HuM members took a passenger plane hostage to secure his release from prison, and now Azhar also leads the JeM faction known as Khuddam ul-Islam.[34]
  2. Abdul Jabbar (2003 to Present): Jabbar is the leader of the JeM faction known as Jamaat ul-Furqan.[35]

Ideology & Goals

The group’s main goals are to unite Kashmir with Pakistan, ensure that Pakistan is ruled by Shariah law, and drive Western forces from Afghanistan. It has publicly declared war on the United States and intends to drive Hindus and other non-Muslims from the subcontinent. [36] [37]

JeM’s ideology closely follows that of AQ and the Taliban, and Azhar has publicly likened JeM’s goals to that of the organization Sipah-e-Sahaba. [38]

Name Changes

In 2001, following reports that the U.S. State Department was considering declaring JeM a foreign terrorist organization, the group renamed itself Tehrik-ul-Furqan and transferred money from its bank accounts to low-profile supporters to hide its assets. [39] [40]

In 2003, the group splintered into two fractions; Jamaat ul-Furqan (JUF) and Khuddam ul-Islam (KUI). Despite the divisions, the group is still reported, and acknowledged by authorities, as a single entity, JeM. [41]

Size Estimates

Designated/Listed

Resources

The group receives funds through charitable foundations such as Al Rashid Trust, a trust fund recognized by the U.S. as a financial facilitator of terrorists for raising funds for Al Qaeda and the Taliban in 2001. [44] [45] JeM also collected funds through personal donations and requests in magazines and pamphlets. [46] The group has allegedly received funding and resources from other Pakistani terrorist groups, including Harakat ul-Jihad (HuJ) and Harakat ul-Mujahideen (HuM), although other reports argue that JeM is a rival of HuM. [47] [48]

Anticipating the ban on its funding activities and asset freeze in 2002, JeM withdrew most of its bank assets, dispersed some of it among low-ranking members for safekeeping, and invested in legal businesses. The group started raising money through legal activities that include commodity trading, real estate, and production of consumer goods. [49] [50]

External Influences

Indian officials allege that Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Osama bin Laden, and the Taliban supported the founding of JeM. Both Indian and Pakistani officials claimed that Azhar has met with high-ranking AQ leaders, including Osama bin Laden. [51]

Geographical Locations

Indian Administered Kashmir was the initial focus of most JeM operations, although it also has consistently carried out attacks in India and Pakistan since the early 2000s. In 2008, it began to target Coalition forces in Afghanistan. [54] JeM now operates primarily in IAK, India, Afghanistan, and southern Pakistan. [55]

Targets & Tactics

JeM primarily attacks Indian police forces and other government targets, including army bases, camps, and public places in Kashmir and India. The group has also targeted Christians and Shiites. [56] In addition to attacks on military bases and government buildings, the group also conducts attacks against individuals with political influence. [57]

In June 2008, JeM representatives allegedly attended a meeting of extremist organizations in Pakistan, where the attendees planned to refocus their collective efforts on expelling foreign actors from Afghanistan rather than on IAK and Pakistan. [58] Subsequently, JeM increased its targeting of the U.S. and U.S. coalition forces in Afghanistan, while reducing, but not stopping, its efforts against India, IAK, and the Pakistani government. [59]

Political Activities

JeM allegedly has ties to Jamiat-I Ulema-I Islam Fazlur Rehman, an Islamist political party in Pakistan and Kashmir, but does not actively engage in politics. [60]

Major Attacks

JeM often carries out small arms attacks against policemen that generally kill one or two, and security forces regularly carry out raids to kill and arrest JeM members. [61] JeM’s activity may have decreased after 2013, although complications in attribution and reporting make it difficult to be certain of the group’s current operational status.

  1. April 19, 2000: A suicide car bomb exploded outside of the Indian Army’s 15 Corp headquarters in Badami Bagh, India. It was later discovered that the suicide bomber was a member of JeM. It was the first suicide terrorist attack in India (1 killed, 7 wounded).[62]
  2. June 4, 2000: JeM militants gunned down Jammu and Kashmir armed police at a bus stand in Batmaloo, Srinagar, India, and in Wazirbagh, India. (3 killed, 1 wounded).[63]
  3. December 11, 2000: Militants claiming to belong to JeM planted a mine in the main Srinagar-Baramulla highway in New Delhi, India. The militants activated the mine when a Border Security Force vehicle passed the area. (1 killed, 8 wounded).[64]
  4. December 25, 2000: A car bomb exploded outside the Indian Army headquarters in IAK. Both Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen and JeM claimed responsibility for the attack. (8 killed, 23 injured).[65]
  5. October 1, 2001: JeM militants were responsible for a car bomb targeting the State Assembly building in Srinagar, India. The militants entered the building and engaged in a shootout with Indian Security Forces. (31 killed, 6 wounded).[66]
  6. December 13, 2001: JeM gunmen stormed the Parliament building in Mumbai. No members of Parliament were killed, and all of the gunmen died in the attack. (14 killed, 22+ wounded).[67]
  7. January 23, 2002: Wall Street Journal journalist Daniel Pearl was abducted by JeM members in Karachi, Pakistan, making international news. He was beheaded several weeks after his abduction. (1 killed, 0 wounded).[68]
  8. February 14, 2002: JeM was suspected of killing National Conference activist Abdul Hafeez Mirza. JeM had previously warned people against participating in the upcoming electoral process in Jammu and Kashmir. (1 killed, 0 wounded).[69]
  9. August 4, 2002: JeM gunmen attacked a convent school near Islamabad, and then a Christian hospital in the region a few days later. (10 killed, 23+ wounded).[70]
  10. December 25, 2003: JeM was responsible for two suicide bombing attempts to assassinate Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. (1 killed, 0 wounded).[71]
  11. November 2, 2005: JeM militants conducted a suicide car bomb attack outside the Srinagar home of outgoing Chief Minister of Indian-administered Kashmir Mufti Mohammad Sayeed. (5 killed, 8 wounded).[72]
  12. May 30, 2006: A JeM grenade attack on a Human Rights Commission escort vehicle near the Iqbal Park area of Srinagar killed a police constable. (1 killed, 6 wounded).[73]
  13. September 26, 2013: JeM’s militant attacks seemed to decrease after 2013, but because many militant groups are active in Pakistan, attack attribution can be difficult. The most recent reliable information came from September 2013, when an army base in IAK was attacked in a truck bombing and subsequent raid by gunmen. The al-Shuda Brigade claimed responsibility, but authorities believed that JeM and Lashkar-e-Taiba colluded in the attack. (7 killed, 3 wounded).[74]

Relationships with Other Groups

There is an interconnected and evolving militant landscape in Pakistan. It can be difficult to determine the relationships among many groups, and there are more reports about some groups than others. There are also scattered reports about alliances and rivalries with groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, and Harkat-ul-Mujahideen.

Azhar allegedly met with Osama bin Laden and secured his support to create JeM. According to some analysts, JeM members trained in Afghanistan prior to the crackdown on camps there after September 11, 2001. Although some analysts allege close ties between AQ and JeM, the extent and type of assistance that AQ provides is at present unknown. [75] [76] JeM also reportedly maintains ties with the Taliban, although it is unclear how strong these ties are. [77]

The Al-Rashid Trust (ART), a charity organization in Pakistan that is on the U.S. Department of Treasury’s terrorist organization list, is known to fund JeM and other jihadi groups. However, the organizational ties between ART and JeM likely extend beyond simple funding, and ART may be a front organization for JeM and other jihadi activities. For example, ART founded the newspaper Zarb-e-Momin in the 1990s, and now Zarb-e-Momin is published as JeM's official newspaper. [78]

JeM has strong ties with the Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP) due to the relationship between Azhar and the SSP President Maulana Azam Tariq. [79] [80] Tariq joined a "Crush India" rally organized by JeM on February 5, 2000 and announced, "One hundred thousand Sipah-e- Sahaba workers will join Jaish-e-Muhammad to fight the infidels." [81] In October 2000, SSP Chairman, Maulana Ziaul Qasmi, participated in another jihad conference organized by JeM and SSP where he took a vow of jihad on the hand of Azhar. [82] Both organizations recruit from madrasas and the rural and urban lower middle class. [83] Some reports allege joint operations between SSP and JeM. [84]

JeM reportedly became a rival of Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HuM) after Azhar split from HuM to form JeM in 2000, taking many HuM members with him. Even with similar ideologies, frequent clashes allegedly occurred between the groups over matters such as financial allotments and HuM's assets. The groups reportedly attempted to resolve the conflict in 2000 when they submitted a hakam (arbitration) to their elders. JeM was supposed to return all buildings in Punjab in exchange for money. However, this agreement created further tensions, leading JeM to attack and kill a small number of HuM operatives during the period of the split. [85]

Community Relationships

JeM primarily recruits members from small towns and madrasas in the rural areas of Pakistan. Since 2000, JeM members have organized a series of recruitment rallies throughout Pakistan, in an attempt to motivate Islamic youth to wage jihad. [86]  JeM also runs its own madrasas. [87] The group also reportedly recruits internationally among Kashmiri and Punjabi emigrants in Britain and has a number of veteran Afghan members. [88] 

Some experts believe that because of JeM’s operations and locations, as well as their Taliban association, the group could have strong connections to the Pashtun tribes. [89]


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