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Harkat-ul-Mujahideen- al-Islami (Urdu: حرکت المجاہدین الاسلامی) (abbreviated HUM) is a Pakistan-based Islamic militant group operating primarily in Kashmir.[1] In 1997, the United States designated HUM a foreign terrorist organization, and in the same year the organization changed its name from Harakat al-Ansar.[2][3] The group splintered from Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HuJI), a Pakistani group formed in 1980 to fight the Soviet military in Afghanistan.[4]

Contents

Post Soviet - Afghan War

In 1989, at the end of Soviet-Afghan war, the group entered Kashmiri politics by use of militants under the leadership of Sajjad Afghani. In 1993 the group merged with Harkat-ul-Jehad-al-Islami to form Harkat-ul-Ansar. Immediately following the merger India arrested three senior members: Nasrullah Mansur Langaryal, chief of the former Harkat-ul Mujahideen in November 1993; Maulana Masood Azhar, General Secretary in February 1994, and Sajjad Afghani (Sajjad Sajid) in the same month in Srinagar.

As a response the group carried out several kidnappings in an attempt to free their leaders, all of which failed. Linked to the Kashmiri group al-Faran that kidnapped five Western tourists in Kashmir in July 1995; one, Hans Christian Ostrø, was killed in August 1995 and the other four reportedly were killed in December of the same year. In 1997 the group renamed itself to the original Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, in a response to the United States defining Harkat-ul-Ansar as terrorist organization. In 1999 Sajjad was killed during a jailbreak which lead to the hijacking, by the group, of Indian Airlines Flight 814 in December, which caused the release of Maulana Masood Azhar, Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh and Mushtaq Ahmed Zargar. Azhar did not, however, return to the HUM, choosing instead to form the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JEM), a rival terrorist group expressing a more radical line than the HUM. The group has since not committed any major incidents.

Post 9/11 Attacks

The group again came to the attention of the US after the 9/11 attacks, leading President George W. Bush to ban the group on September 25, 2001.

Long-time leader of the group, Fazlur Rehman Khalil, in mid-February 2000 stepped down as HUM emir, turning the reins over to the popular Kashmiri commander and his second-in-command, Farooq Kashmiri. Khalil assumed the position of HUM Secretary General.

HUM is thought to have several thousand armed supporters located in Pakistani Kashmir, and India's southern Kashmir and Doda regions. It uses light and heavy machineguns, assault rifles, mortars, explosives, and rockets. HUM has lost some of its membership due to defections to the JEM.

The group is based in Muzaffarabad, Rawalpindi, and several other towns in Pakistan and Afghanistan, but members conduct insurgent and militant activities primarily in Kashmir.

On October 10, 2005, Britain's Home Office banned HUM and fourteen other terrorist groups from operating in the United Kingdom. Under Britain's Terrorism Act 2000, being a member of a HUM is punished by a 10-year prison term.

References

  1. ^ Indictment of John Walker Lindh American Rhetoric February, 2002
  2. ^ United States State Department
  3. ^ Indictment of John Walker Lindh American Rhetoric February, 2002
  4. ^ In the Spotlight: Harkat ul-Jihad-I-Islami (HuJI) Center for Defense Information August 16, 2004

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