The Jaish-e-Mohammed (JEM), the Army of 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-i 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's (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 and the Foreign Terrorist Organization list in December 2001.
When Masud Azhar formed JEM, he originally named his group, Lashkar-e-Mohammad. But Azam Tariq adbvised Masud Azhar that this name sounds too much like Lashkar-e-Jhangvi. So he changed the name to Jaish-e-Mohammad.
The JEM's leader, Masood Azhar, was released from Indian imprisonment in December 1999 in exchange for 155 hijacked Indian Airlines hostages. The 1994 HUA kidnappings by Omar Sheikh of US and British nationals in New Delhi and the July 1995 HUA/Al Faran kidnappings 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-e-Tayyiba for the 13 December 2001 attack on the Indian Parliament that killed 9 and injured 18. India blamed the Lashkar-e-Tayiba and the Jaish e-Mohammed terrorist groups for the attack. India has demanded that Pakistan prevent such terrorist groups from operating out of Pakistan or Pakistan-controlled territory. Since December 2001, Pakistan cracked down on Islamic extremists. They include leaders of Lashkar-e-Tayiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed, as well as members of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islami, a Muslim party with ties to the Taleban and Kashmiri terrorist groups. Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf pledged that Pakistan will not allow its territory to be used for terrorism. The group was banned and its assets were frozen by the Pakistani Government in January 2002.
Pakistani authorities suspect that perpetrators of fatal anti-Christian attacks in Islamabad, Murree, and Taxila, during 2002 were affiliated with the JEM.
Jaish-e-Mohammed has several hundred armed supporters located in Azad Kashmir, Pakistan, and in India's southern Kashmir and Doda regions, 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.
The group is based in Peshawar and Muzaffarabad, but members conduct terrorist activities primarily in Kashmir. 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 al-Islami (HUJI) and the Harakat ul-Mujahedin (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.
Jaish-e-Mohammed was linked to the kidnapping and beheading of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in Karachi.
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