Al-Badr (Jammu and Kashmir)
البدرParticipant in Insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir
Bahkt Zameen Khan
|Headquarters||Mansehra, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan|
|Area of operations||Kashmir|
|Part of||United Jihad Council|
Al-Badr (Arabic: البدر, al-badr "the full moon") is an Islamic militant group operating in the Jammu Kashmir region. The group was allegedly formed by the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) in June 1998. It is believed the group was encouraged by the ISI to operate independently from their previous umbrella group, Hizb-ul-Mujahideen (HM). Prior to the group's separation from HM, they participated in the fighting in Afghanistan in 1990 as part of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar's Hizb-l-Islami (HIG) alongside other anti-Soviet Afghan mujihadeen. Government of India and the USA has declared and banned it as a Terrorist organisation.
Foundation and separation
The group was originally led by Arfeen Bhai, also known as Jannisar or Lukmaan, when it separated in 1998 and is currently led by Bahkt Zameen Khan. In 2002, Zameen declared jihad against the U.S. forces in Afghanistan after being responsible for prior attacks against coalition forces there beginning in 2001. Al-Badr went on further in 2002 to order all women police in the Rajouri District of Kashmir to quit their jobs by mid-January the next year. The group has stated membership in the United Jihad Council (UJC), a coalition of Pakistan-based militants who are active in the Jammu Kashmir region. They have been linked to Jamaat-e-Islami and alleged to have connection with al-Qaeda. The groups stated purpose is to liberate the Indian states of Jammu and Kashmir to be merged with Pakistan. Al-Badr opposes negotiations to end the violence in Kashmir and opposes the Line of Control (LoC) and calls for the strengthening of the jihad.
Al-Badr is known to be a critic of the moderate Kashmiri organisations like the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF). The Al Badr leadership is opposed to the Israel, United States and the regime of Saudi Arabia. The group perceives Kashmir to be the ‘gateway of India’ and describes its objective as the ‘liberation’ of Muslims in the rest of India after ‘occupying’ Kashmir.
Designation as terrorist organisation
Al-Badr was banned by India under The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 2004. On 27 April 2005 State Department of United States Government identified Al-Badr as a terrorist organisation in its list of 40 Foreign Terrorist Organisations. Al-Badr is currently on the U.S. State Department list of Designated Foreign Terrorist Organisations.
Al Badr's headquarter is located at Mansehra in Pakistan and a camp office in Muzaffarabad. Based on reports from 2013-18 Al Badr is active in the Anantnag, Baramulla, Budgam, Srinagar and Kupwara districts of the Kashmir Valley. In the Jammu region the group has a presence in the Poonch and Rajouri districts.
The Islamic fundamentalist group Al-Badr operates covert Al Badr training camps in Pakistan to train Pakistani civilians to serve as fighters in the conflict in Kashmir. Group has training camps in the Mansehra area of North West Frontier Province (NWFP) in Pakistan, and in Kotli and Muzaffarabad in Azad Kashmir.
In the 1990s, militants trained at al-Badr camp in the use of RDX and C4 explosives. Shaukat Ahmed Khan, the author of an article about the camps, in the Times of India, said he was kidnapped from his home in India by recruiters for the camp; and that when he made clear he wasn't interested in fighting on behalf of Al Badr those running the camp cut out his tongue, and cut off his right hand. He said they spared his life because he was a fellow Muslim.
It is believed the group has been weakened in recent years due to increased presence of Indian security forces along the Line of Control (LoC) that separates India from Pakistan. Indian security forces gauge the strength of al-Badr to be between 200 with 120 of those forces being foreign mercenaries. Al-Badr is currently one of only two Kashmiri separatist groups that employ suicide squads as a tactic, the other being Lashkar-e-Tayyeba.
On 27 October 2006, two members of al-Badr were apprehended in Mysore in what Indian police are calling a foiled terror attack. Mohd Ali Hussain and Mohd Fahad were captured carrying a laptop, chemicals often used for creating improvised explosive devices (IEDs), detonators, an AK-47 rifle, a pistol, a cell phone, a digital camera and passports as well as sketches of the state legislature building, 'Vidhan Sabha'.
On 4 June 2018 Al-Badr took the responsibility for grenade attacks in Pulwama injuring 23 people, including eight security personnel.
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