TM: "India Bans Ghaznavi Force, the Jammu and Kashmir-based Terrorist Group"
On February 17, the Indian government banned the Kashmir-centric Islamic militant group called the Jammu and Kashmir Ghaznavi Force (JKGF) (egazette.nic.in, February 17). A relatively new entrant in the Kashmir landscape, JKGF emerged as a hybrid strike unit comprised of highly trained cadres of Pakistan-based Tehreek-ul-Mujahideen (TuM), Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), and Jaish-e-Muhammed (JeM).
JKGF is also believed to have cooperated with various militant groups, such as al-Badr, Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) and al-Qaeda-linked Ansar Ghazwatul Hind (AGH) (Zee News, February 13, 2020). The group is assumed to be named after senior Hizbul commander Yasin Itoo, whose nom de guerre was Ghaznavi and who was killed in August 2017 during an encounter in Shopian. It is also possible that the group is named after Muslim ruler Mahmud of Ghazni (Afghanistan), who was notorious for invading India several times in the 11th century and is often eulogized by the Taliban and other Islamic militant groups in the Indian subcontinent.
Emergence and Initial Operations
The emergence of JKGF in February 2020 coincided with the first anniversary of the deadly Pulwama terror attacks in February 2019. These attacks claimed the lives of 40 paramilitary force personnel and were carried out by Pakistan-based JeM (India Today, Februrary14). Intelligence agencies report that the newly created JKGF might conduct Pulwama-style suicide attacks in Kashmir again. Expected targets include security convoys, government establishments, and security installations. Besides reinvigorating militancy in Kashmir, JKGF has trafficked arms and drugs, as well as facilitated the infiltration of militants from Pakistan. It has also executed a series of grenade attacks against security forces in Kashmir in the past few years, and has utilized social media platforms such as Twitter, Telegram, and Facebook for propaganda and recruitment. These generally exhort young Muslims to fight against India (Kashmir vision, February 17).
The JKGF grenade attacks were mainly in Ramban, Jammu, and Poonch districts, and targeted police and paramilitary forces—the standard targets for this type of attack for JKGF. Between August and December 2022, a series of grenade attacks were claimed by JKGF. In September, however, four JKGF operatives, including the mastermind in grenade attack cases, Shoket Ali Laiwal, were arrested with live grenades (Greater Kashmir, September 3, 2022). On December 6, 2022, JKGF took credit for another grenade attack that occurred near a police station in the Sidhra area of the Jammu district (Twitter/@TracTerrorism, December 7, 2022). However, since the arrest of Laiwal, the frequency of grenade attacks targeting security posts has decreased in Jammu and Kashmir.
For complete article read here: Terrorism Monitor, Vol. 21 (7), March 31, 2023.