Yesterday, the US Treasury Department added three members of Jamaat ul Dawa al Quran (JDQ), a jihadist group that is based in Pakistan and Afghanistan, as well as JDQ’s Welfare and Development Organization, to its list of specially designated global terrorists. JDQ is a perfect example of the complex and evolving network of jihadist groups that operate in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region.
The three JDQ leaders who were listed by Treasury were identified as Hayat Ullah Ghulam Muhammad, Ali Muhammad Abu Turab, and Inayat ur Rahman. They have provided support and funds to the Taliban, Lashkar-e-Taiba, al Qaeda, and the Islamic State.
The US listed JDQ as a terrorist organization in May 2016 and noted that it is “based in Peshawar, Pakistan, and eastern Afghanistan” and has “long-standing ties to al Qaeda and Lashkar-e-Taiba.” It is known to operate in Kunar province, Afghanistan. In 2010, the group pledged allegiance to Mullah Omar, the founder and first emir of the Taliban. However, it is not known if JDQ swore an oath to Mullah Mansour or Mullah Haibatullah.
The US military has targeted JDQ operatives in several raids in Afghanistan. Several members of the JDQ were once held at the American detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. One of these former Guantanamo detainees, Haji Sahib Rohullah Wakil, was identified as the JDQ’s overall leader.
Hayat Ullah Ghulam Muhammad
According to Treasury, Muhammad, who is better known as Haji Hayatullah, “is a senior JDQ leader” who has also worked for Lashkar-e-Taiba, and has provided “material and financial support to the Taliban, al Qaida, ISIS [Islamic State], and ISIS – Khorasan.”
Haji Hayatullah has supported al Qaeda and the Taliban in the past, but appears to have moved to the rival Islamic State camp since its founding in 2014. He was one of the JDQ leaders who swore bayat to Mullah Omar. Since 2011, he “provided material and financial support to al Qaeda militants, members, and senior leaders,” and has been linked to Nayf Salam Muhammad Ujaym al-Hababi, who is better known as Farouq al Qahtani. The US killed Qahtani in an airstrike in Kunar province in Oct. 2016.
In 2013, Haji Hayatullah “served as a commander for LT [Lashkar-e-Taiba] in Afghanistan, and as of 2013, Haji Hayatullah oversaw the training of LT operatives.” By 2014, After Abu Bakr al Baghdadi formed the Islamic State, he began to help establish its Khorasan province in Afghanistan and Pakistan. He provided weapons and cash, and started to recruite for the group. Additionally, he “supported ISIS’s recruitment and funding of suicide bombers and their travel to Syria and Iraq.”
Ali Muhammad Abu Turab
Abu Turab is described by Treasury as “a JDQ facilitator working to provide thousands of dollars to Pakistan-based JDQ leadership, including Inayat ur Rahman.” Additionally, he supports al Qaeda-linked Taliban leader Fazeel-a-Tul Shaykh Abu Mohammed Ameen al Peshwari, who is better known as Mohammed Aminullah.
As a JDQ facilitator, he helped the group raise money in the Gulf and supported “the movement of tens of thousands of dollars from the Gulf to Pakistan.” He also helped Lashkar-e-Taiba fundraise in the Gulf states and “also facilitated the establishment of LT training camps in collaboration with Abdul Aziz Nuristani,” a US-designated terrorist.
Interestingly, Abu Turab helped Aminullah, who in 2009 was placed on the United Nations Sanctions Committee’s list of “individuals and entities associated with al Qaeda,” traveled to the Gulf in 2014. Aminullah is a notorious Taliban leader who in 2012 was identified as the head of the Peshawar Shura, one of four regional military commands for the Afghan Taliban. Aminullah uses his network of madrassas in Pakistan to recruit and train jihadists for jihad in Afghanistan. [See Taliban appoint al Qaeda-linked commander to lead Peshawar shura.]
Inayat ur Rahman
Rahman is described as “a long-time leader of JDQ” who has worked for Haji Hayatullah and as of 2015 “managed JDQ’s day-to-day operations.” He provides support for both Lahskar-e-Taiba and the Taliban, and is described as “an important LT figure.” Additionally, he serves as a “a military leader in the Taliban leadership council in Peshawar, Pakistan,” which means he is a member of the Peshawar Shura. In that role, he coordinated activities to provide support for al Qaeda and the Taliban.
“In July 2012, along with Shaykh Aminullah, Abdul Aziz Nuristani, and other militants, Inayat ur Rahman came to an agreement with al Qaeda and LT members to provide weapons, ammunition, and financial support to the Taliban and discussed how to improve Taliban tactics against Coalition forces,” Treasury noted.
As a Lashkar-e-Taiba leader, he provided “financial support, weapons, and transportation” to the group and helped establish three “training centers.” Additionally, he recruited madrassa students in Peshawar to join Lashkar-e-Taiba.
Welfare and Development Organization of JDQ
JDQ’s Welfare and Development Organization (WDO) is currently run by Rahman, who has been the “the director, chairman, and president” since 2015. Rahman has used the charitable front to raise money for jihadist activities.
“WDO ostensibly collects money for charity, but in reality funds insurgent activities,” Treasury noted. “WDO was used to collect intelligence and conduct logistical work in support of Afghan militant operations. For a number of years, Afghan insurgents have received regular funding through WDO from organizations, including NGOs, in Gulf countries.”