Harkat-ul-Jihadi al-Islami

Formed1984
DisbandedGroup is active.
First Attack1990: HuJI was allegedly responsible for numerous small-scale bombings in Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, and Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) in the early 1990s.[1]
Last AttackSeptember 6, 2011: Bombs exploded throughout Delhi outside of the Delhi High Court (11 killed, 76 wounded). [2]
UpdatedAugust 3, 2012

Narrative Summary

Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HuJI) is a Pakistan-based Deobandi militant group whose main goal is the secession of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) from India and their eventual incorporation into Pakistan.[3] HuJI originated in the early 1980s as part of a network of Pakistan-backed mujahideen groups fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan. Its original name was Jamiat Ansarul Afghaneen (JAA).  Established by the Pakistan-based religious groups Jamaat ul-Ulema-e-Islami and Tabligh-I-Jimaat, HuJI was one of the first Jihadi organizations created to fight against Soviet forces in Afghanistan.[4] JAA changed its name to HuJI and began operating as a Kashmiri separatist group towards the end of Soviet occupation.
 
Following the Cold War, the Pakistani government and its intelligence agency, Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), allegedly assisted HuJI, as well as similar groups, in its operations to promote Kashmiri incorporation into Pakistan.[5]  HuJI was one of the largest Jihadi organizations and operated alongside three other groups in the region with similar goals: Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) and Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HuM). Though unconfirmed, HuJI, LeT, HuM and JeM are believed by some to have ties to the same Pakistani founder, Qari Saifullah Akhtar. HuJI maintains strong links with the Taliban and Al Qaeda and operates in other nations including Afghanistan, Arakan-Burma, Bangladesh, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and parts of Africa.
 
Following the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York, government crackdowns on terrorist activity in Pakistan reduced some of HuJI's influence. HuJI's main cell is in Uttar Pradesh (UP) in India, but the group appears to have sleeper cells in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan. [6]

Leadership

  1. Qari Saifullah Akhtar (1985 to Present): Qari Saifullah Akhtar is the founder and leader of HuJI in Pakistan. He is of Pashtun tribal descent, from Waziristan, and was educated in the Jamia Banoria madrasa in Karachi. This particular madrasa is one that is allegedly responsible for producing several high profile terrorists. When Akhtar took the lead in 1985, he began to expand HuJI infrastructure and operations in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Following the end of the Cold War, Akhtar and his operations were largely based in Kandahar. He maintained a low profile until 1995, when he was implicated along with several senior Pakistani army officials in an attempt to overthrow the Pakistani government. The charges against him were dropped after he testified against his conspirators. After US military operations commenced in 2001, he took refuge in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).[7]
  2. Muhammad Ilyas Kashmiri (1991 to Present): Kashmiri was the operational commander of HuJI and head of Brigade 313, which was responsible for the initiation of HuJI operations in J&K since 1991. He was reportedly killed by a U.S. drone strike in June 2011, but was allegedly spotted in Taliban meetings in March 2012. It is suspected that he may have used the drone strike to fake his death and gain increased cover for his operations. He is considered one of the most effective terrorist commanders on the ground.[8]
  3. Shahid Bilal (2003 to Unknown): Bilal was the operations chief of HuJI. He is believed to have been killed in Karachi in 2007; however, conflicting reports have been made about his continued existence. Some reports have indicated that he was killed by unidentified assailants in Karachi on August 30, 2007, while others have reported that Bilal is alive and living in Bangladesh and Karachi. Bilal is alleged to have masterminded several bomb blasts across the Indian hinterland.[9]
  4. Mohammad Tariq Qasmi (2007 to Present): Qasmi is the leader of HuJI’s Hyderabad cell. He is a qualified Unani doctor and, as the area commander of HuJI in Uttar Pradesh, was supposedly in charge of the group responsible for the November 23, 2007 serial bomb blasts and the May 22, 2007 Gorakhpur blasts. These attacks also reinforced the extent of the group's influence in Uttar Pradesh. [10]

Ideology & Goals

HuJI is associated with Deobandi movement within Sunni Islam, a movement that originates in Uttar Pradesh, India, where HuJI now has extensive operations.[11]   HuJI's main goal is purportedly the secession of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) from India and merging with Pakistan. HuJI also believes Pakistan and India should be Islamic states, ruled under its strict interpretation of Shariah law.[12] The group believes in achieving its goals through waging jihad. [13]

HuJI has been known to support the Taliban, as well as the integration of Afghan culture into Bangladesh, evidenced by a slogan it allegedly issued, "Amra Sobai Hobo Taliban, Bangla Hobe Afghanistan (We will all become Taliban and we will turn Bangladesh into Afghanistan)."[14]

Name Changes


Size Estimates

Designated/Listed

The listings section of this profile includes a second entry dated 1997 to account for the listing of one of HuJI's previous incarnations, Harkat ul-Ansar.  It is unknown when this specific group was delisted.  [16]

Resources

HuJI has been supported by sympathizers throughout Pakistan, including various affluent individuals, private sector entities, NGOs, the Pakistani government and peer organizations. For example, the Pakistani Punjabi business community heavily funded HuJI missions primarily during the time of HuJI's founding in 1980.[17]  HuJI allegedly receives funding from international Islamic NGOs and madrassas operating in Pakistan.[18]   Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden have also directly supported the organization.[19]
 
Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) have allegedly consistently supported HuJI operations since its inception. [20]  Within Uttar Pradesh, the Student's Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) have provided HuJI shelter and logistical assistance.[21] 

India's Special Operations Group, an intelligence agency, has implicated HuJI for their alleged role between 2011-2012 in funneling upwards of $200,000 of fake currency into the Gujarat region from a base in Bangladesh. [22]
 

External Influences

HuJI operates under the influence and support of sovereign nations and NGOs. For example, HuJI's anti-India operations are supposedly planned by Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), mostly from the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka.[23]  HuJI has also received diaspora funding from regions throughout the world. 

Finally, the HuJI maintains links with militant groups operating in India's Northeast, including the Assam-based United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) and the Manipur-based People’s United Liberation Front (PULF). The HuJI is reportedly running some of ULFA's camps situated in the Chittagong Hill Tracts in Bangladesh along the border of Tripura. Finally, Taliban leader Mullah Omar allowed HuJI to have its headquarters in Kandahar from where they launched their campaigns inside Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Chechnya. [24]
 

Geographical Locations

HuJI conducts operations in primarily Asian and Southeast Asian countries, including Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Philippines, Fiji and Malaysia. HuJI also has operations in Ireland, the United Kingdom, United States, and African nations.[25] 

The HuJI’s operations in Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) began in 1991. HuJI has a wide network of seminaries and camps in Pakistan was close to Mullah Omar (Emir of the Taliban) because of its early allegiance to Maulvi Nabi Muhammadi whose own Harkat activists formed the new Taliban cadres.  HUJI was the Taliban spearhead in Central Asia and the Caucasus, especially during its cooperation with Mullah Omar during 2004. [26] HuJI activities reached what could be considered a height in 2002 when 650 of its soldiers died in a battle with India's army.  However,  HuJI activities in Jammu and Kashmir have progressively declined since the September 11, 2001 attacks, resulting in its Bangladesh affiliate becoming increasingly involved, especially with several terrorist attacks in India.  

HuJI's activities were further restricted when its October 12, 2005 suicide attack on the Special Task Force (STF) office of the Hyderabad Police resulted in increased scrutiny from Indian intelligence services. HuJI still continued to operate in India, coming under direct or indirect suspicion for most of the terrorist attacks on India’s urban centers. 

 HuJI appears to have a strong network in western Uttar Pradesh. Several arrests and blasts indicate the depth of HuJI's involvement in this area, specifically, the arrests of Mohammad Tariq Qasmi and Khalid Mujahid, who were involved in the November 23, 2007 bomb blasts, and the May 22 Gorakhpur blasts.  Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) are also active in Uttar Pradesh.  The local SIMI group has been key to sustaining these networks. HuJI also reportedly has a presence throughout the whole state of India.  HuJI has also continued to operate in Chechnya, making up a significant portion of the foreign mercenary force in Chechnya.[27] 

HuJI has not yet perpetrated known attacks in Western regions, but actively recruits in western countries.  In 2009, HuJI leader Ahktar recruited five Americans to join the jihad after watching their respective Youtube videos. [28]

Targets & Tactics

HuJI primarily targets political and military leaders, but has also conducted attacks on civilians. For example, HuJI attacks foreign forces in Afghanistan and government and military personnel and installations in FATA, and HuJI-B has killed several progressive intellectuals in its effort to establish Islamic rule in Bangladesh. [29]

 HuJI's violent tactics have ranged from single assassinations to medium and large scale explosions. HuJI has the ability "to operate autonomously in small cells, deadly use of explosive devices, careful selection of soft and hard targets and willingness to inflict mass casualties." [30]

HuJI has used explosives that target small and large groups. Explosives range from military applications like Research Department Explosives (RDX) to lower-grade explosives. HuJI has engaged in suicide attacks, such as the October 2007 suicide bombing in Karachi, and attempts assassinations through shootings and bombings. 

Political Activities

HuJI has been linked to Taliban leader Mullah Omar, and several of its members were part of the Taliban cabinet and judiciary in Afghanistan before the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York.  [31]

Major Attacks

  1. 1995: HuJI was allegedly responsible for attacks which seemed to target a meeting between Indian security officials and American counterterrorism diplomats. (4 killed, 21 wounded).[32]
  2. October 5, 2005: A suicide attack occurred on the Special Task Force (STF) office of the Hyderabad Police in India. (1 killed, 1 wounded).[33]
  3. March 2, 2006: HuJI was responsible for the suicide bombing of the U.S. Consulate in Karachi, Pakistan, killing four people including U.S. diplomat David Foy. (4 killed, 48 wounded).[34]
  4. March 7, 2006: Bomb attacks across the holy Hindu city of Varanasi, India, destroyed two Hindu temples. (25 killed, 100 wounded).[35]
  5. May 2007: HuJI claims responsibility for a bomb blast at a Hyderabad mosque. (16 killed, 40 wounded).[36]
  6. August 25, 2007: HuJI claims responsibility for twin bomb blasts in an open air theater and shop in Hyderabad. (10 killed, 29 wounded; 31 killed, 21 wounded).[37]
  7. November 23, 2007: Bomb blasts occur at civil court at Varanasi, Faizabad and Lucknow. (15 killed).[38]
  8. 2008: Serial bomb blasts exploded throughout Ahmedabad. (49+ killed, 145+ wounded).[39]
  9. May 2008: Serial bomb blasts occur in Jaipur, India. (60+ killed, 100+ wounded (estimates vary)).[40]

Relationships with Other Groups

HuJI has historically been connected with several other groups that share similar goals and ideologies. HuJI has also developed affiliates and merged with other organizations to form entirely new groups.
 
In 1989, at the conclusion of its conflict with the Soviets, HuJI merged with another Pakistani militant group known as the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HuM) to form the Harkat-ul-Ansar (HuA). [41]. Following the US designation of HuA as a terrorist organization in 1997, HuJI used the name Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HuM) in certain areas to continue operating. [42]  

HuJI’s Bangladesh-based unit formed in 1992 and is known as the HuJI Bangladesh (HuJI-B). The HuJI-B functioned under the Jihad Movement in Bangladesh led by Fazlur Rahman, one of the signatories of the February 23, 1998 declaration of "holy war" under the banner of Osama bin Laden’s World Islamic Front for Jihad against the Jews and Crusaders. [43]  

HuJI has historically received patronage and support from Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence and is linked with several Islamist groups operating in India including the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM).[44]  HuJI’s Bangladesh affiliate, HUJI-B, has also operationally coordinated its attacks with the cooperation of the Students' Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), the Lashkar-e-tayyeba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM).[45] SIMI cadres have provided shelter and logistical help to HUJI-B prior to attacks and some MIMI cadres have joined HUJI-B.  

During the 1990s, HuJI assisted the Taliban in their fight against the Soviets, and many operatives died in this civil conflict.[46]   More recently, HuJI had ties to Mullah Omar (Emir of the Taliban) in the early 2000s. [47]    Specifically, HuJI leader Qari Saifullah Akhtar was an advisor to Mullah Omar in the Taliban government, and three Taliban ministers and 22 judges belonged to HuJI.  [48] Taliban military and police forces were also trained at HuJI camps. 

Al Qaeda and HuJI share some training camps, and the relationship between the groups is strengthened by their mutual ties to the Taliban.  For example, Osama Bin Laden used the group as part of his support network inside Pakistan, specifically to convey messages, instructions, and funds.   Some evidence indicates HuJI operatives may have been involved in hiding or transporting Bin Laden in Pakistan.[49] In addition, Ilyas Kashmiri, the operational commander for HUJI, also serves as al Qaeda's military commander and is a senior leader on al Qaeda's external operations council. [50]

Community Relationships

HuJI’s community relationships revolve around recruiting resources to support their operations. Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami Bangladesh (HuJI-B) allegedly recruits children for its sleeper and information cells in West Bengal. These children are also used as messengers between HuJI-B linkmen.[51]

HuJI also recruits members from the United States. In 2009, HuJI leader Ahktar recruited five Americans to join the jihad after watching their respective Youtube videos.[52]


References

  1. ^ Frontline Pakistan: The Struggle with Militant Islam by Zahid Hussain, Columbia University Press, 2007, page 7
  2. ^ Indian Express, “Terror attack: Powerful blast outside Delhi High Court kills 11.” (September 7, 2011). Available at http://www.indianexpress.com/news/terror-attack-powerful-blast-outside-de.../842951/
  3. ^ South Asian Terrorist Portal, available at http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries/india/states/jandk/terrorist_outfits/HuJI.htm.
  4. ^ Center for Defense Information, "In the Spotlight: HuJI." Available at http://www.cdi.org/program/document.cfm?DocumentID=2374&from_page=../index.cfm
  5. ^ Thakur, Pradeep. "J&K may see fresh influx of bomb-makers." Times of India. September 14, 2008. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/JK_may_see_fresh_influx_of_bomb-makers_/articleshow/3480966.cms. Accessed August 2, 2012.
  6. ^ South Asian Terrorist Portal, available at http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries/india/states/jandk/terrorist_outfits/HuJI.htm.
  7. ^ “Pakistan releases top al-Qaeda linked terrorist leader.” The Long War Journal (January 4, 2011). Available at http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2011/01/pakistan_releases_to.php
  8. ^ Gall, Carlotta. 2011. Pakistani Militant Chief is Reported Dead. New York Times. June 4. Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/05/world/asia/05kashmiri.html Roggio, Bill. Al Qaeda Leader Ilyas Kashmiri Spotted at Taliban Meeting. Long War Journal
  9. ^ Global Jihad. “Shahid Bilal and Khwaja.”Available at http://www.globaljihad.net/view_page.asp?id=1001; South Asian Terrorist Portal, “HuJI.” Available at http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries/india/states/jandk/terrorist_outfits/HuJI.htm
  10. ^ South Asian Terrorist Portal, “HuJI.” Available at http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries/india/states/jandk/terrorist_outfits/HuJI.htm
  11. ^ South Asian Terrorist Portal, "HuJI." Available at http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries/india/states/jandk/terrorist_outfits/HuJI.htm
  12. ^ South Asian Terrorist Portal, "HuJI." Available at http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries/india/states/jandk/terrorist_outfits/HuJI.htm
  13. ^ South Asian Terrorist Portal, “HuJI.” Available at http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries/india/states/jandk/terrorist_outfits/HuJI.htm. Last Accessed August 2, 2012.
  14. ^ South Asian Terrorist Portal, "HuJI." Available at http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries/india/states/jandk/terrorist_outfits/HuJI.htm
  15. ^ South Asia Terrorism Portal: Profile HuJI http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries/india/states/jandk/terrorist_outfits/HuJI.htm
  16. ^ South Asian Terrorist Portal http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries/india/states/jandk/terrorist_outfits/harkat_ul_ansar_or_harkat_ul_jehad_e_islami.htm. Accessed August 3, 2012.
  17. ^ Center for Defense Information, "In the Spotlight"  (August 16, 2004).  http://www.cdi.org/program/document.cfm?DocumentID=2374&from_page=../index.cfm
  18. ^ The Investigative Project on Terrorism (2005). Available at  http://www.investigativeproject.org/profile/148 (Accessed on June 24th, 2010)
  19. ^ "Seized Phone Offers Clues to Bin Laden's Pakistani Links." New York Times (June 23 2011) Available at http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/24/world/asia/24pakistan.html?_r=2&pagewanted=1&hp.
  20. ^ South Asian Terrorist Portal, "HuJI." Available at http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries/india/states/jandk/terrorist_outfits/HuJI.htm
  21. ^ South Asian Terrorist Portal http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries/india/states/jandk/terrorist_outfits/HuJI.htm
  22. ^ "Newswallah: Bharat Edition." India Ink: Notes on the World's Largest Democracy. New York Times (March 31 2012) Available at http://india.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03/31/newswallah-bharat-edition-33/?scp=1&sq=harkat%20ul%20jihad&st=cse.
  23. ^ South Asian Terrorism Portal, http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries/pakistan/terroristoutfits/HUJI.HTM.
  24. ^ South Asian Terrorist Portal, available at http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries/india/states/jandk/terrorist_outfits/HuJI.htm
  25. ^ South Asian Terrorist Portal, available at http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries/india/states/jandk/terrorist_outfits/HuJI.htm
  26. ^ South Asian Terrorist Portal, available at http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries/india/states/jandk/terrorist_outfits/HuJI.htm
  27. ^ South Asian Terrorist Portal, available at http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries/india/states/jandk/terrorist_outfits/HuJI.htm
  28. ^ The Long War Journal, “Top al Qaeda leader linked to 5 Americans on trial in Pakistan.” (April 17, 2010). Available at http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2010/04/top_al_qaeda_leader.php
  29. ^ South Asian Terrorist Portal, “HuJI.” Available at http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries/india/states/jandk/terrorist_outfits/HuJI.htm
  30. ^ South Asian Terrorist Portal, “HuJI.” Available at http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries/india/states/jandk/terrorist_outfits/HuJI.htm
  31. ^ "Pakistan releases top al-Qaeda linked terrorist leader." The Long War Journal (January 4, 2011). Available at http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2011/01/pakistan_releases_to.php
  32. ^ Bedi, Rahul. “Gunmen kill five in attack on American offices.” The Telegraph (January 23, 2002).
  33. ^ “HuJI: Lengthening Shadow of Terror.” (August 1, 2006). Available at http://www.ocnus.net/cgi-bin/exec/view.cgi?archive=100&num=25438
  34. ^ "Designations of Harakat-ul Jihad Islami (HUJI) and its Leader Mohammad Ilyas Kashmiri" U.S. State Department. Available at http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2010/08/145779.htm
  35. ^ "Designations of Harakat-ul Jihad Islami (HUJI) and its Leader Mohammad Ilyas Kashmiri" U.S. State Department. Available at http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2010/08/145779.htm
  36. ^ "Designations of Harakat-ul Jihad Islami (HUJI) and its Leader Mohammad Ilyas Kashmiri" U.S. State Department. Available at http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2010/08/145779.htm
  37. ^ Data Sheet: Islamist Extremism in Andhra Pradesh: http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries/india/states/andhra/data_sheets/islamistex.htm
  38. ^ South Asian Terrorist Portal. Available at http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries/india/states/jandk/terrorist_outfits/HuJI.htm
  39. ^ "India After Ahmedabad's Bombs." http://www.opendemocracy.net/article/india-after-ahmedabads-bombs
  40. ^ South Asian Terrorist Portal. Available at http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries/india/states/jandk/terrorist_outfits/HuJI.htm. One source of casualty estimates available at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/may/14/india
  41. ^ American Council for Kosovo, Islamic Terror in Kosovo: Special Report 2, October 2005
  42. ^ South Asian Terrorist Portal http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries/india/states/jandk/terrorist_outfits/HuJI.htm
  43. ^ South Asian Terrorist Portal http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries/india/states/jandk/terrorist_outfits/HuJI.htm
  44. ^ South Asian Terrorist Portal http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries/india/states/jandk/terrorist_outfits/HuJI.htm. Accessed August 3, 2012.
  45. ^ South Asian Terrorist Portal, available at http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries/india/states/jandk/terrorist_outfits/HuJI.htm. Accessed August 3, 2012.
  46. ^ South Asian Terrorist Portal http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries/india/states/jandk/terrorist_outfits/HuJI.htm
  47. ^ Center for Defense Information, “In the Spotlight”  (August 16, 2004).  http://www.cdi.org/program/document.cfm?DocumentID=2374&from_page=../index.cfm
  48. ^ "Pakistan releases top al-Qaeda linked terrorist leader." The Long War Journal (January 4, 2011). Available at http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2011/01/pakistan_releases_to.php
  49. ^ New York Times, “Seized Phone Offers Clues to Bin Laden’s Pakistani Links.” (June 23 2011) Available at http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/24/world/asia/24pakistan.html?_r=2&pagewanted=1&hp.
  50. ^ “Pakistan releases top al-Qaeda linked terrorist leader.” The Long War Journal (January 4, 2011). Available at http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2011/01/pakistan_releases_to.php 
  51. ^ South Asian Terrorist Portal, "J&K". http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries/india/states/jandk/terrorist_outfits/HuJI.htm. Accessed August 3, 2012.
  52. ^ The Long War Journal, “Top al Qaeda leader linked to 5 Americans on trial in Pakistan.” (April 17, 2010). Available at http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2010/04/top_al_qaeda_leader.php. Accessed August 3, 2012.