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Red Mosque Jihadis were infact members of Jaish-e-Mohamad

Reader comment on item: Red Mosque in Rebellion
in response to reader comment: "May Allah destroy America and Britain… May Allah help the Mujahedeen in Iraq, Kashmir, Palestine, Chechnya and around the world."

Submitted by Arz (India), Aug 9, 2007 at 03:07

Defunct militant group

Among the many questions about the Red Mosque episode which remain unanswered are the critical issues of who the militants were and what exactly they wanted.

Did they really believe that they could defeat Pakistan's half-million-strong army? Security officials told the BBC during the siege that they had reasons to believe that most of the militants holed up inside the mosque belonged to the supposedly defunct Jaish-e-Mohammad (Army of Mohammed).

Jaish-e-Mohammad was formed by a radical cleric, Maulana Masood Azhar, in early 2000 to support the insurgency in Indian-administered Kashmir.

Before that Maulana Azhar had been arrested and jailed in India.

He was released by the Indian authorities in 1999, in exchange for passengers on a hijacked Indian Airlines jet. The aircraft was allegedly seized and flown to Kandahar in Afghanistan by his supporters.

He formed the Jaish-e-Mohammad soon after returning to Pakistan and, according to Pakistani security officials, the Red Mosque was used by its members to regroup.

Despite this, Pakistani intelligence reportedly failed to monitor what the group was doing.

Security officials say they severed contact with the group after it was suspected of being involved in the December 2001 attack on the Indian parliament in Delhi.

"Whenever the state suddenly withdraws its support from such groups, they tend to splinter," said one senior security official.

"That is exactly what happened to Jaish, and because we had lost contact with the group, we had no idea where most of its activists spent their time before some of them resurfaced at the Red Mosque."

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