US adds Ilyas Kashmiri to list of designated terrorists


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.”

For more information on Ilyas Kashmiri, Brigade 313, and the Lashkar al Zil, see LWJ report, Al Qaeda Brigade 313 website goes online and Al Qaeda’s paramilitary ‘Shadow Army.’

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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  • Jimmy says:

    Good. But not enough… The Pakistan Army + ISI is the real big daddy of all these terror organizations. I will be impressed when the US acknowledges the elephant in the room and stops funding it. What is the use of slapping sanctions on baby organizations when billions of dollars are freely provided to the parent, who just distributes the cash and weapons among the sanctioned terror groups without giving a damn about US lives in Afghanistan?

  • Imran says:

    Jimmy: put your money where your mouth is. Please provide the proof or don’t indulge in conspiracy theories. Kashmiri is a wanted man in Pakistan for terror attacks against the government. To say that ISI and the army are supporting him is preposterous to say the least.
    There will always exist such elements in the region as long as the Kashmiris are persecuted in their own land. This is not an excuse but an observation that people are willing to go beyond civility when their homes, family and culture are threatened by armed forces.
    India would do well to resolve the Kashmir issue at the earliest so that both it and Pakistan can reap benefits from economic and cultural opportunities available.

  • helena says:

    Imran, have you heard of something called wikileaks? You want proof? See for yourself.
    Perhaps there is no direct “proof” of ISI’s support of Ilyas Kashmiri’s organization, but there is plenty of evidence of ISI’s involvement in supporting terrorist groups operating in Afghanistan, specifically those who have targeted Indian interests in the country. So it happens, those groups are also active in the Kashmir region. Surprise surprise. Overall, a far cry from the far fetched, unsubstantiated conspiracy theories you refer to.
    Having said that, it would be nice to see India and Pakistan sit down to finally settle the Kashmir issue, and both India AND Pakistan could do more to push for a settlement.

  • gfgwgc says:

    “Please provide the proof or don’t indulge in conspiracy theories.”
    Proof of the type that normal civil societies require in order to indict someone is simply not possible in such cases. Why? Because the perpetrator is a covert agency funded by and protected by a sovereign country. No neutral party will ever be given free and open access to those behind the scenes and you know that. The Mumbai case is bogged down under a pile of dossiers because Pakistan would like to follow “civilized norms” in this case. Never mind the fact that this is a country where thousands of its own citizens have been made to disappear, when necessary, without nary of mention of due process.
    You may appear righteous and dignified in demanding proof but it is disingenuous stance suitable only for the more gullible consumers of your media.

  • Charu says:

    Cut the chase and declare the entire Pakistani military and especially its ISI wing as international terrorists. The Pakistani civilian government may be incorrigibly corrupt and inept, but they have generally operated within internationally-accepted norms among the community of nations. The rogue Pakistani military is another beast entirely. They have blown to smithereens the concept of Mutual Assured Deterrence single-handed by using nukes as a protective cover for state-sponsored terrorism, and have terminally destroyed any hope of responsible non-proliferation by wildly and recklessly disseminating the technology to other outlaw states. There will never be a chance of Pakistan or Afghanistan to emerge from their respective failed-state status as long as the shadow of the Pakistani military looms heavily over the nascent civilian governments in both countries. And there will be no end to global terrorism as long as the Pakistani military continues to operate with impunity.

  • bard207 says:

    India would do well to resolve the Kashmir issue at the earliest so that both it and Pakistan can reap benefits from economic and cultural opportunities available.
    Beyond textiles, agricultural products and soccer balls, what else does Pakistan have to export to India?
    Indian movies are more popular in Pakistan than Pakistani movies are in India and likely the same can be said for music.
    Pakistan imports roughly three times as much as it exports to India.
    Non-tariff barriers hindering export to India
    Are you suggesting that if Kashmir is given to Pakistan, then Pakistan will increase the ratio of imports – exports with India from 3:1 to 5:1 or even more? How are you able to arrive at that conclusion? Please provide proof of those concepts.

  • “India would do well to resolve the Kashmir issue at the earliest so that both it and Pakistan can reap benefits from economic and cultural opportunities available.”
    Since 1947, Pakistan, like India, had the opportunities to focus on development. But it didn’t!
    This says a lot about Pakistan, and puts a finger on the real problem: Islam.
    I have dealt with this issue at geater detail in my book.
    Seriously, Pakistanis can always settle the Kashmir conflict, by importing “oppressed” Kashmiri Muslims (in India) to the part of Kashmir they control or in the rest of Pakistan. But, what Pakistan wants is an Islamic conquest of more land from India.
    Note that the Pakistanis managed to drive out most non-Muslims from Pakistan and the portion of Kashmir they control.

  • Charu says:

    @MM, you are absolutely correct! The Pakistanis cannot even control parts of their own country. Their desire for the entire Kashmir region is as bogus as their being allied with us in the GWOT. If not Kashmir, Pakistan will manufacture some other territorial excuse for keeping the hostilities with India boiling. India has more Muslims within its borders than Pakistan has, and if Pakistan truly had any concerns for Indian Muslims, other than those in Kashmir who are useful saps for its designs, it wouldn’t be brandishing WMDs so cavalierly or threaten the annihilation of its fellow Muslims so casually. Pakistan’s Punjabi elite have long deluded themselves into thinking that they are more Arab than Indian, and therefore consider Muslims in India to be expendable. They behaved exactly this way with the East Pakistani Bengalis, and do so even today with fellow Pakistani Muslims like the Mohajjirs, Sindhis, Shia and Ahmeddiyas. They view both Afghanistan and India as territories for their conquest, even as their own centrifugal forces spin out of control and they venture into Somali depths of failure as a nation. They are the Prussian Junkers of the 21st century, and will end up in the same landfill of history.


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