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Al-Badr / Al-Badr Mujahideen

Al-Badr traces its origins to 1971 when a group of the same name attacked Bengalis in East Pakistan.

The Al Badr was formed in August 1988 by some terrorist groups associated with the Jamaat-e-Islami. Al-Badr Mujahideen was originally floated by the hardline religious party Jamaat-e-Islami for waging a "jehad" in Afghanistan but later parted ways with Jamaat. It operated as a part of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar's Hizb-l-Islami (HIG) in Afghanistan from 1990 as a unit of HM in Kashmir.

The Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) came into being in 1989 after around a dozen smaller groups decided to merge a short span of time. Several of these groups later parted ways with their mother organisation and set up independent organisations such as the Jamiatul Mujahideen, al-Badr Mujahideen, the Hizbe Islami, etc. The new version of the Al-Badr was formed in 1998.

Two different terrorist groups have used the Al-Badr name at varying points of time in the decade-old insurgency in Kashmir. Initially, in August 1988, some terrorists associated with the Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI), are reported to have started two terrorist outfits namely the Al-Badr and the Jammu and Kashmir Student Liberation Front (JKSLF) to counter the growing popularity of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF).

Prompted and encouraged by Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), the Jamaat-e-Islami of Pakistan reportedly colluded with extremist elements within the JeI. Under the leadership of Master Ahsan Dhar, a faction of these extremist elements formed the Al-Badr. This was soon renamed as the Hizb-ul Mujahideen.

By 1994, the ISI had assumed control over the insurgency in Kashmir and was increasingly inducting professional mercenaries to intensify terrorist violence in J&K. Several outfits were created, strengthened and at times marginalised to suit the variations in ISI's strategies.

Indian intelligence sources report that the new version of the Al-Badr was formed as part of this changed strategy, in 1998, through the induction of foreigners serving in several other terrorist outfits in Kashmir. This version of Al-Badr was led by Lukmaan, a national of Pakistan controlled Kashmir. Presently, the group's leader is Bhakt Zameen Khan.

In August 1999 the Pakistan-based militant group threatened to target US President Bill Clinton if America launched an attack on Saudi dissident Osama Bin Laden who is "still hiding" in Afghanistan. The group claimed in a written statement that its commander in-chief Safeer Ahmed met Bin Laden in the eastern Afghan town of Jalalabad amidst tight security.

The Al-Badr Mujahideen was one of the prominent militant groups active in the Kargil conflict. In September 2000 the central leader of the Al-Badr Mujahideen group, Bakht Zamin Khan, claimed that most of the peaks in the Kargil sector of the Line of Control (LoC) dividing Jammu and Kashmir between India and Pakistan were still in the hands of Pakistan-backed guerrillas. Al Badr is the only outfit in Jammu and Kashmir other than the Lashkar-e-Tayyeba, to employ suicide squads to carry out its operations.

The Al-Badr, which was defunct for quite some time, has, with increasing frequency, begun to claim responsibility for several acts of violence in India. Al-Badr is the only group, other than the Lashkar-e-Toiba, to employ suicide squads.The outfit has virulently opposed the cease-fire declared by Prime Minister A B Vajpayee.

The group has conducted a number of operations against Indian military targets in Kashmir. According to the State Deptartment, Al-Badr Mujahidin has several hundred members that operate in Kashmir, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. The source of their external aid is unknown.




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