The Jaish-e-Mohammed is an Islamic extremist group based in Pakistan that was formed by Masood Azhar upon his release from prison in India in early 2000. The group’s aim is to unite Kashmir with Pakistan. It is politically aligned with the radical political party, Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam Fazlur Rehman faction (JUI-F). The United States announced the addition of JEM to the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) list—which includes organizations that are believed to support terrorist groups and have assets in US jurisdiction that can be frozen or controlled—in October 2001 and the Foreign Terrorist Organization list in December 2001. By 2003, JEM had splintered into Khuddam ul-Islam (KUI) and Jamaat ul-Furqan (JUF). Pakistan banned KUA and JUF in November 2003.
The JEM’s leader, Masood Azhar, was released from Indian imprisonment in December 1999 in exchange for 155 hijacked Indian Airlines hostages. The HUA kidnappings in 1994 by Omar Sheik of US and British nationals in New Delhi and the HUA/al-Faran kidnappings in July 1995 of Westerners in Kashmir were two of several previous HUA efforts to free Azhar. The JEM on 1 October 2001 claimed responsibility for a suicide attack on the Jammu and Kashmir legislative assembly building in Srinagar that killed at least 31 persons but later denied the claim. The Indian Government has publicly implicated the JEM—along with Lashkar-i-Tayyiba—for the attack on 13 December 2001 on the Indian Parliament that killed nine and injured 18. Pakistani authorities suspect that perpetrators of fatal anti-Christian attacks in Islamabad, Murree, and Taxila during 2002 were affiliated with the JEM.
Has several hundred armed supporters located in Pakistan and in India’s southern Kashmir and Doda regions and in the Kashmir valley, including a large cadre of former HUM members. Supporters are mostly Pakistanis and Kashmiris and also include Afghans and Arab veterans of the Afghan war. Uses light and heavy machineguns, assault rifles, mortars, improvised explosive devices, and rocket grenades.
Location/Area of Operation
Pakistan. The JEM maintained training camps in Afghanistan until the fall of 2001.
Most of the JEM’s cadre and material resources have been drawn from the militant groups Harakat ul-Jihad-i-Islami (HUJI) and the Harakat ul-Mujahidin (HUM). The JEM had close ties to Afghan Arabs and the Taliban. Usama Bin Ladin is suspected of giving funding to the JEM. The JEM also collects funds through donation requests in magazines and pamphlets. In anticipation of asset seizures by the Pakistani Government, the JEM withdrew funds from bank accounts and invested in legal businesses, such as commodity trading, real estate, and production of consumer goods.