The Harkut ul-Mujahideen (HuM), also known as the Harkat-ul-Ansar (HUA), the Jamiat-ul-Ansar (JUA) and Al Faran, is reported to have denied a report published by the “New York Times” on June 24,2011, alleging that it had links with Osama bin Laden and was part of his Pakistan support network. According to the “NY Times”, investigations by the US authorities into a mobile phone used by bin Laden’s courier are said to have given rise to suspicion that OBL had contact with the HUM. The mobile set of the courier was reportedly recovered during the raid by US naval commandos into the house of OBL at Abbottabad in Pakistan on May 2.
The first evidence of links between Al Qaeda and the HUM came after the US Cruise missile attacks on suspected Al Qaeda camps in Afghan territory on August 20,1998, in reprisal for Al Qaeda’s truck-bombing outside the US Embassies in Nairobi and Dar-es-Salaam earlier that month. Many of the camps destroyed by the Cruise missiles, which ,the US thought, were run by Al Qaeda turned out to be those of the HUM. The HUM had apparently been permitted by Al Qaeda and the Taliban to locate its training camps in the same area in which Al Qaeda had set up its camps.
The first evidence of links between Al Qaeda and the HUM came after the US Cruise missile attacks on suspected Al Qaeda camps in Afghan territory on August 20,1998″¦
Addressing a press conference at Islamabad on August 22,1998, after the US bombing of the HUM training camps in Afghanistan, Fazlur Rahman Khalil, its then Amir, denied that bin Laden was indulging in terrorism and accused the US of killing 50 innocent civilians, including 15 Arabs.
He said that the camps bombed by the US in Afghan territory had actually been set up by the CIA during the Afghan war and claimed that these were being used by the HUM for giving education to the Afghans. He denied that any training in terrorism was going on in those camps. He alleged that the Nawaz Sharif Government, which was then in power in Islamabad, was privy to the bombing and said that 40 Cruise missiles had struck three HUM camps in Afghan territory.
He then warned: “ The USA has proved itself to be the world’s biggest terrorist by carrying out the attacks on Afghanistan and the Sudan and I want to convey to the US leadership that we will take revenge for the attack.”
“¦Fazlur Rahman Khalil, its then Amir, denied that bin Laden was indulging in terrorism and accused the US of killing 50 innocent civilians, including 15 Arabs.
Addressing a meeting at the Karachi Press Club on August 23,1998, Azizur Rahman Danish, the then head of the Sindh branch of the HUM, warned: “The US air strikes have drawn a clear dividing line between the Muslim Ummah and non-believers and this is the beginning of a crusade. The USA will be paid back in the same coin.”
Addressing a press conference at Peshawar on August 25, 1998, Fazlur Rahman Khalil said that nine HUM members died in the US attack on its camps in the Khost area, of whom five were killed on the spot and the remaining succumbed to their injuries in Pakistani hospitals. In addition, two Tajiks and four Arabs, two of them physically handicapped, were also killed. According to him, the Cruise missiles destroyed four mosques, partially damaged another and burnt 200 copies of the Holy Quran kept in the camps.
He added: “The USA calls Osama a terrorist and President Clinton is claiming that all terrorist training camps had been destroyed in the air strikes. Let me tell the Americans that not even one per cent of the so-called terrorist camps run by Osama have been destroyed.”
In another warning to the US on September 1,1998, Fazlur Rahman Khalil said: “The USA has struck us with Tomahawk Cruise missiles at only two places, but we will hit back at them everywhere in the world, wherever we find them. We have started a holy war against the US and they will hardly find a tree to take shelter beneath it.”
“The US air strikes have drawn a clear dividing line between the Muslim Ummah and non-believers and this is the beginning of a crusade. The USA will be paid back in the same coin.”
Writing in the “Friday Times” (August 18-24,2000) of Lahore, Khalid Ahmed, the well-known Pakistani analyst, said:
“The Harkat-ul-Mujahideen formally announced itself as a new organization in June 1996 in Muzaffarabad. In January 2000, Masood Azhar of Harkat-ul Mujahideen was sprung from an Indian jail after the Kathmandu hijack. Masood Azhar had gone into India through ‘proper channels’, as a journalist endorsed by Islamabad (that is, the ISI). He was a follower of Maulana Haq Nawaz Jhangvi, the founder of the anti-Iran and anti-Shia organization Sipah-e-Sahaba, who was killed in 1990.
“After his release, Masood Azhar wished to revive the legacy of his master. By this time Harkat had become a major Deobandi organization in Pakistan. Its main strength remained the militants of Punjab who not long ago had been the militants of Sipah-e-Sahaba.
“His return, therefore, caused an upheaval which climaxed in a grand split in the Harkat. The split was soon followed by the assassination of Maulana Yusuf Ludhianvi, a key figure in the Deobandi movement because of his status as a spiritual guide to two important Deobandi leaders, his Khalifas: Maulana Fazlur Rehman of JUI and Maulana Azam Tariq of Sipah-e-Sahaba.