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Profile: Maulana Masood Azhar

 
  

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Maulana Masood Azhar actively participated in the following events:

 
  

November 1994-December 1999: 9/11 Funder Saeed Sheikh Is Captured; Makes Connections in Indian Prison      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Saeed in an Indian hospital shortly after being arrested in 1994. He was shot while being captured.
Saeed Sheikh is imprisoned in India for kidnapping Westerners. While there, he meets Aftab Ansari, another prisoner, an Indian gangster who will be released from prison near the end of 1999. [India Today, 2/25/02] Saeed also meets another prisoner named Asif Raza Khan, who also is released in 1999. [Rediff, 11/17/01] After Saeed is rescued from prison at the end of 1999, he works with Ansari and Khan to kidnap Indians and then uses some of the profits to fund the 9/11 attacks. [India Today, 2/14/02; Frontline, 2/2/02] Saeed also becomes good friends with prisoner Maulana Masood Azhar, a militant with al-Qaeda connections. [Sunday Times, 4/21/02] Saeed will later conduct operations together with Azhar's group, Jaish-e-Mohammed. [Independent, 2/26/02]
People and organizations involved: Saeed Sheikh, Jaish-e-Mohammed, Maulana Masood Azhar, Aftab Ansari, Asif Raza Khan
          

December 24-31, 1999: Hijacked Flight Leads to Freeing of Future 9/11 Funder      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Hijackers threaten the Indian Airlines plane, under Taliban supervision.
An Indian Airlines flight is hijacked and flown to Afghanistan where 155 passengers are held hostage for eight days. They are freed in return for the release of three militants held in Indian prisons. One of the hostages is killed. One of the men freed in the exchange is 9/11 paymaster Saeed Sheikh. [BBC, 12/31/99] Another freed militant is Maulana Masood Azhar. Azhar emerges in Pakistan a few days later, and tells a crowd of 10,000, “I have come here because this is my duty to tell you that Muslims should not rest in peace until we have destroyed America and India.” [Associated Press, 1/5/00] He then tours Pakistan for weeks under the protection of the ISI. [Vanity Fair, 8/02] The ISI and Saeed helps Azhar form a new Islamic militant group called Jaish-e-Mohammed, and Azhar is soon plotting attacks again. [Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 3/3/02; Washington Post, 2/8/03; Guardian, 7/16/02]
People and organizations involved: Pakistan Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, Maulana Masood Azhar, Saeed Sheikh, Central Intelligence Agency, Jaish-e-Mohammed
          

December 13, 2001: ISI-Connected Militants Attack Indian Parliament      Complete 911 Timeline

       The Indian Parliament building in New Delhi is attacked by Islamic militants. Fourteen people, including the five attackers, are killed. India blames the Pakistani militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed for the attacks. Twelve days later, Maulana Masood Azhar, head of Jaish-e-Mohammed, is arrested by Pakistan and his group is banned. He is freed one year later. [Agence France-Presse, 12/25/01; Christian Science Monitor, 12/16/02] The Parliament attack leads to talk of war, even nuclear war, between Pakistan and India, until President Musharraf cracks down on militant groups in early January. [Daily Telegraph, 12/28/01; Wall Street Journal, 1/3/02; Guardian, 5/25/02] It appears that Saeed Sheikh and Aftab Ansari, working with the ISI, were also involved in the attacks. [Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 3/3/02; Vanity Fair, 8/02]
People and organizations involved: Saeed Sheikh, Jaish-e-Mohammed, Maulana Masood Azhar, Aftab Ansari, Pakistan Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence
          

January 12, 2002: Pakistan Takes Half-Hearted Anti-Terrorism Measures      Complete 911 Timeline

       Pakistan President Musharraf makes “a forceful speech . . . condemning Islamic extremism.” [Washington Post, 3/28/02] Around this time, he also arrests about 2,000 people he calls extremists. He is hailed in the Western media as redirecting the ISI to support the US agenda. Yet, by the end of the month, at least 800 of the arrested are set free [Washington Post, 3/28/02] , including “most of their firebrand leaders.” [Time, 5/6/02] Within one year, “almost all” of those arrested have been quietly released. Even the most prominent leaders, such as Maulana Masood Azhar, have been released. Their militant organizations are running again, most under new names. [Washington Post, 2/8/03]
People and organizations involved: Maulana Masood Azhar, Pakistan Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, Pervez Musharraf
          

December 14, 2002: Al-Qaeda Associate Freed by Pakistani Court      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Maulana Masood Azhar.
A Pakistani court frees Maulana Masood Azhar, a member of the militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed, from prison. [Christian Science Monitor, 12/16/02] Two weeks later, he is freed from house arrest. He was held for exactly one year without charge, the maximum allowed in Pakistan. [Associated Press, 12/29/02] He was arrested shortly after an attack on the Indian Parliament that was blamed on his organization. In December 1999, he and Saeed Sheikh were rescued by al-Qaeda from an Indian prison, and he has ties to al-Qaeda and possibly the 9/11 attacks. Pakistan frees several other high-level militant leaders in the same month. It is believed they are doing this so they can fight in a secret proxy war with India over Kashmir. US officials have remained silent about the release of Azhar and others Pakistani militant leaders. [Christian Science Monitor, 12/16/02] The US froze the funds of Jaish-e-Mohammed in October 2001, but the group simply changed its name to al-Furqan, and the US has not frozen the funds of the “new” group. [Financial Times, 2/8/03; Washington Post, 2/8/03]
People and organizations involved: al-Furqan, Jaish-e-Mohammed, Saeed Sheikh, al-Qaeda, Maulana Masood Azhar
          

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