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SAIR Archive                      Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HuM)                  LATEST ON SATP

(Formerly known as Harkat ul-Ansar)

Incidents and Statements involving Harkat-ul-Mujahideen: 2015, 2014, 2013, 2009-2012

The Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HuM), a Pakistan-based terrorist outfit, has been in existence twice in the history of that countryís involvement in cross-border terrorism. In the interim between the two phases, it continued to exist, but under the name of the Harkat-ul-Ansar (HuA). While the first renaming was an outcome of a reorganisation effected by the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Pakistanís external intelligence agency, among its various sponsored terrorist outfits in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), the second renaming was necessitated by a US proscription of the outfit.

Evolution of the group

Evolution of Harkat ul-Mujahideen

The HuA was categorised as a terrorist outfit by the US in 1997 following reports that it was linked with Osama bin Laden, and his Al Qaeda, a global terrorist network that has struck at several US targets around the world. The outfit immediately adopted the name of Harkat-ul-Mujahideen to escape the ramifications of the proscription. Despite public knowledge that the HuM was a recast version of the HuA, the US had refused to categorise the outfit as a terrorist outfit. However, following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington in the US, the outfit came under scrutiny of the US government for its extensive links with Osama bin Laden, the prime suspect in the terrorist attacks. On September 25, US President George W. Bush signed an order officially banning the outfit.

The HuM was originally formed in 1985, to participate in the Jehad against Soviet forces protecting the Communist regime in Afghanistan. It was a formed by a group that walked out of another jehadi group, the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HuJI). With the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1989, the outfit turned its attention to J&K, where terrorist violence had been unleashed by Pakistan supported outfits in 1988.

As the organisation chart shows, the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen merged with another terror outfit, the Harkat-ul-Jehad-al-Islami (HuJI), to form the Harkat-ul-Ansar (HuA) in 1993. This merger apparently failed to form an effective instrument for Pakistanís campaign in J&K as Indian security forces (SFs) arrested three of its top leaders in quick succession. First, Nasrullah Mansur Langrayal, chief of the former Harkat-ul Mujahideen was arrested in November 1993. Three months later, the HuAís General Secretary, Maulana Masood Azhar, and its J&K unit chief Sajjad Afghani were arrested in Srinagar.

The HuA made several attempts to obtain the release of the arrested leaders by abducting SF personnel and foreign tourists and using them as hostages. In the first attempt, made in January 1994, two SF personnel were abducted and subsequently killed when the government refused to release the leaders. A second attempt was made in June 1994 when two foreign tourists were abducted. Following local outcry against these abductions, the hostages were released without any success in their objective. In the third attempt made in October 1994, four foreign tourists were abducted in New Delhi and held in Uttar Pradesh and a demand was again made for the release of the arrested leaders. SFs however, ascertained the terrorist hideout and effected a successful rescue operation and also arrested the leader of the abductors, Umar Saeed Sheikh, a British student of Pakistani origin.

In the fourth attempt, made by a front outfit, Al-Faran in July 1995, six hostages were abducted from various locations. While one managed to escape, the body of the second was recovered in August 1995. The government refused to accept the demands of the abductors and since then there has been no news on the fate of the hostages. It is widely suspected that having failed in their mission, the abductors killed the hostages. These incidents as also reports that the outfit was linked to Osama bin Laden prompted the US government to declare the HuA as a terrorist outfit in 1997. To avoid the repercussions of the ban, the HuA decided to recast itself as the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen.

Meanwhile, Sajjad Afghani was killed during a jailbreak attempt in June 1999. Subsequently, suspected HuM terrorists, hijacked the Indian Airlines Flight IC 814 from Kathmandu, Nepal, forced the pilot to fly to Kandahar, Afghanistan and with the protection and support of the Taliban regime, successfully obtained the release of Maulana Masood Azhar, Umar Saeed Sheikh and Mushtak Ahmed Zargar, commander of the Al Umar, a militant group with a predominantly Kashmiri cadre base. The demand for the release of Zargar appeared to be a ploy to convey the impression that the hijacking was conducted for the sake of Kashmiris rather than foreign mercenaries. Certain news reports had speculated that Masood Azharís brother led the hijackers and his father financed the whole operation.

As mentioned before, the 1993 merger of the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen and the HuJI was not a successful venture. SF sources in India have reported that terrorists claiming allegiance to the three outfits, HuJI, HuM and HuA, have been either arrested or killed throughout the 13-year insurgency in the State.

The HuM's operational capabilities had been severely curtailed by the formation of the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) by Masood Azhar, immediately after his release. News reports from Pakistan suggested that the JeM had weaned away several HuM cadre and other resources. Subsequently, only isolated instances have been reported from J&K where cadre of the HuM have been involved.

Incidents and Statements involving Harkat-ul-Mujahideen: 2015, 2014: 2013: 2009-2012





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