Banner for the Al Qaeda 313 Brigade website/forum. Pictured, from left to right, are top al Qaeda leaders Mustafa Abu Yazid, Abu Yahya al Libi, and Ilyas Kashmiri.
The US Treasury Department has added a top al Qaeda leader and his Pakistan-based terror group to the list of designated terrorists and organizations.
Ilyas Kashmiri was designated today as a terrorist under Executive Order 13224. Harakat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami or HUJI, the Pakistan-based terror group, was also designated as a terrorist organization. Kashmiri is the operational commander of HUJI, while Qari Saifullah Akhtar is the terror group’s spiritual leader.
The designation allows the US to freeze the assets of Kashmiri and HUJI, prevent him from using financial institutions, and prosecute him for terrorist activities. Kashmiri has also been added today to the United Nations’ 1267 Committee list of designated terrorists.
Kashmiri has organized multiple attacks in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India. “Kashmiri has supported attacks against Pakistani government personnel and facilities, including the 2009 attack against the offices of the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and the Pakistani police in Lahore, Pakistan that killed 23 people and left hundreds injured,” Treasury stated. “He directed the October 2008 assassination of the former commander of the Pakistani Special Services Group, General Amir Faisal Alvi, in retaliation for his role in the fight against militants in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan. He also led an al Qaeda-linked cell in planning for the assassination of a Pakistani Army general – a plan that was eventually abandoned due to al Qaeda’s strategic considerations.”
He has also attempted to execute attacks in the US and in Denmark, and was indicted by the US in 2009. Although not stated by Treasury, Kashmiri is also believed to be involved in the November 2009 terror assault on the Indian city of Mumbai, in collaboration with the Lashkar-e-Taiba. The three-day-long siege shut down the city and resulted in more than 170 people killed.
Kashmiri is closely allied with the Pakistani Taliban, including the dangerous Haqqani Network. His training camp in Miramshah is hosted in a region administered by Siraj Haqqani, a top Taliban and al Qaeda leader.
“Since 2001, Kashmiri has led HUJI training camps that specialized in terrorist operations, military tactics, and cross-border operations, including a militant training center in Miramshah, North Waziristan in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan,” Treasury stated.
Although not stated in the Treasury press release, Kashmiri is also the commander of al Qaeda’s Brigade 313 and the Lashkar al Zil military formation. A website purportedly linked to Kashmiri’s Brigade 313 appeared on the Internet over the past two months.
Treasury alludes to the relationship with al Qaeda, stating that “Mohammad Ilyas Kashmiri is at the core of HUJI’s efforts to plan and carry out attacks against US forces and our allies. He is responsible for creating a cadre of militants to act on behalf of HUJI and al Qaeda.”
Are you a dedicated reader of FDD's Long War Journal? Has our research benefitted you or your team over the years? Support our independent reporting and analysis today by considering a one-time or monthly donation. Thanks for reading! You can make a tax-deductible donation here.