Jaish-e-Mohammad formed in 2000 and Al-Qaeda in 1988 has carried out many global terrorism attacks over the years.
Traces of Al-Qaeda’s origin date back to the 1980s and especially during the Afghan-Soviet war which lasted from 1979 to 1989.
History of Al-Qaeda
As the influence of communism was growing because of the extended support by the Soviet Union to the Communist Afghan government, insurgents and mainly the Muslim insurgents decided to wage a war against the so-called ‘invaders’. On one side, the Soviet Union fueled the Afghan Communist government. Meanwhile, on the other side was the USA witnessing the situation through its CIA program named ‘Operation Cyclone’ which provided funds to the Afghan Mujahideen.
The war lasted for over 9 years and led to the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan. The post-war effects led to the foundation of many Islamic groups, and Al-Qaeda was one of the most prolific ones.
Expansion of Al-Qaeda
After his expulsion from Afghanistan, the Al-Qaeda supremo of the 90s Osama Bin Laden carried out attacks from Sudan. In a series of attacks, the organization took credit for the following attacks:
- World Trade Centre Bombing in New York (1993)
- Destruction of the US military building in Saudi Arabia (1995)
- Attacks on the US Embassy in Kenya and Tanzania (1998)
- Bombings against U.S.S. Cole in Yemen (2000)
If not all but most of the attacks were against the United States of America. In an interview with CNN in 1997, Bin Laden said,
“The U.S. today, as a result of the arrogant atmosphere, has set a double standard, calling whoever goes against its injustice a terrorist. It wants to occupy our countries, steal our resources, impose on us agents to rule us, and then wants us to agree to all this.”
Bin Laden was against the aggressive military expansion of the USA in Saudi Arabia, which is home to two of the holiest places in Islam (Mecca and Medina).
Al-Qaeda’s direct attacks against one of the world’s superpowers, the USA posed a very crucial threat. This amalgamation of threat and continuous terrorist expansion by Al-Qaeda and concrete support from the Afghani Taliban led to Al-Qaeda’s dominance in global terrorism. Many Islamic militant organizations over the globe regarded Bin Laden as their hero and savior of Islam.
After the 9/11 attacks on the USA, Al-Qaeda became the supremo in global terrorism. Every American citizen now knew who was Bin Laden and what was Al-Qaeda. The blood of the over 2,800 civilians who died in the attacks brought every soul in American to a point of vendetta.
This catastrophic event that brought the security and defense system of the USA on a standstill led to the global hunt for Osama Bin Laden. For months, Bin Laden evaded authorities to only get assassinated on May 2, 2011, when a covert operation by U.S. Navy SEALs shot and killed the terrorist leader at a private compound in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad.
Al-Qaeda’s dominance after Bin Laden
After Osama’s death, the roots of Al-Qaeda disintegrated. Soon, the organization which once dominated global terror was at a point of zero power. It was only when Egyptian extremist leader Ayman al-Zawahiri led the flag, Al-Qaeda again in the world of terrorism.
Jaish-e-Mohammad inception years
Even after partition, the neighboring countries of India-Pakistan were in chaotic conditions. The neighbors conflicted with many issues but majorly over the dominant control of Kashmir.
The roots of the formation of JeM dates back to 1999 when the Harkat Islamic Jihadis hijacked the Indian Airlines flight 814 which was programmed to fly from Kathmandu to Delhi. The flight was diverted to Kandahar in Afghanistan, where the Afghan Taliban killed one of the passengers. It was after this event that the Indian Government released the three Harkat Islamic operatives Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, Mushtaq Ahmed Zargar and Maulana Masood Azhar.
With assistance from Pakistan’s ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence), Masood Azhar was made the head of the newly formed, Jaish-E-Mohammed. Some experts dig the history and origin of JeM to Pakistan’s intention of control over Kashmir. Since its inception, it has carried out many bombings and attacks with assistance from Lashkr-e-Taiba (another Islamic militant group) in India and majorly in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
Widespread attacks by JeM
Within the two years of its foundation, Jaish-E-Mohammed led the following attacks:
- Suicide Bombing in Indian Army Barracks in Kashmir (2000)
- Bombing near the Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly (2001)
- Indian Parliament Attack (2001)
The fear of JeM activities in the fragile Kashmir made India bring more forces near the India-Pakistan border. These events came in the light of International media and owing to this, the then Pakistan PM Parvez Musharraf ordered the ban of JeM for 5 years only to release the leaders after a year or two.
Masood Azhar kept his profile low for over a decade, although he carried out attacks in Kashmir. It was in 2014 when he openly challenged India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi that he will be killed by his organization.
Two years later, JeM carried out attacks on the Indian Air Force base in Pathankot in which seven security personnel were killed. Later in 2016, the Jihadi militant of JeM attacked the Indian brigade headquarters in Uri, close to the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir. The attack resulted in the death of 19 soldiers and was also described as the deadliest attack in over two decades.
Not stopping here, JeM and Masood Azhar on 14 February 2019, carried out a suicide attack in Lathpora near Awantipora in Pulwama District in Kashmir on a convoy of security forces that killed at least 40 Indian personnel. A bus carrying 39 Central Reserve Police Force personnel was rammed by a car carrying 350 kg of explosives.
JeM and the future
Islamist radicals regard JeM and Azhar as heroes who brought back the Islamist control over some parts of Kashmir. This turn of terrorist attacks over the years made Jaish-E-Mohammed one of the most supreme Islamists groups in the world.
New Delhi has also called on the UN to list Masood Azhar as a global terrorist, but Pakistan’s close ally China continues to block the move.