MMP: Al Akhtar Trust

Karachi, Pakistan

Al Akhtar Trust

Al Akhtar Trust is a charity organization that has provided aid to various militant groups in Pakistan and Afghanistan, most notably Al Qaeda.

Key Statistics

2000 First Recorded Activity
2020 Profile Last Updated

Profile Contents

Book Icon

Overview

moneybag

Organization

strategyicon

Strategy

solarsystemicon

Interactions

flowchart

Maps

Contact MMP

Send a message to the Mapping Militants team.

Download Full Profile as PDF

Last updated September 2020

How to Cite

Mapping Militant Organizations. “Al Aktar Trust.” Stanford University. Last modified September 2020. https://cisac.fsi.stanford.edu/mappingmilitants/profiles/al-akhtar-trust
cardinal red photo

Organizational Overview

Formed: November 2000

Disbanded: Group is active

First Attack: No attacks have been attributed to this group.

Latest Attack: No attacks have been attributed to this group.

 

Executive Summary

Al Akhtar Trust is a charity organization linked to Al Qaeda and Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM). Al Akhtar was one of two front organizations created by JeM members to traffic arms and ammunition. Since its founding in 2000, Al Akhtar has provided logistical, financial, medical assistance to several militant groups operating in Pakistan and Afghanistan, including Al Qaeda, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Lashkar-e-Jhangv (LeJ), and Harakat-ul-Mujahedeen (HuM). The group was designated as a “terrorist support group” by the U.S. Department of the Treasury in 2003, and it was added to the United Nation’s Al Qaeda Sanctions List for its association with Al Qaeda and Jaish-e-Mohammad.

 

Group Narrative

Al Akhtar Trust (Al Akhtar) was established in November 2000 as a charity based in Karachi, Pakistan.[1] The organization aimed to support the activities of jihadist militant groups, most notably Al Qaeda.[2] Al Akhtar was one of two front organizations created by members of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), a Sunni extremist group based in Pakistan. The two front organizations, Al Akhtar Trust and Al Khair Trust, were registered as humanitarian aid organizations in an attempt to obscure their JeM connections. JeM indented to use Al Akhtar as a vehicle through which to traffic arms and ammunition to group members.[3]

Al Akhtar has engaged in a wide variety of activities since its founding. These include providing financial assistance to jihadi organizations; constructing religious schools and mosques; digging wells; providing flood relief; arranging ambulances and hearses; and publishing religious books in various languages.[4]

Aside from this general information, there is little publicly available intelligence on the growth, management, and activities of Al Akhtar. Most of the published information about the group comes from statements authored by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, which designated Al Akhtar as a “terrorist support organization” in 2003. The Treasury Department holds that Al Akhtar was established with the intention of “providing financial assistance for mujahideen, financial support to the Taliban and food, clothes, and education to orphans of martyrs.”[5] Additionally, the Treasury Department reports that Al Akhtar covertly aided Al Qaeda (AQ) militants in Afghanistan and Pakistan in the early 2000s. More specifically, the group provided medical assistance to wounded AQ members. Al Akhtar also trafficked supplies in conjunction with Al Rashid Trust – another JeM-linked charity –  for AQ into Kandahar Province, Afghanistan.[6] Al Rashid was designated by the U.S. Department of the Treasury as a terrorist support organization in 2001. By March 2002, Al Akhtar had taken over all of Al Rashid’s former activities.[7]

Al Akhtar is also believed by the Treasury Department to have passed donations from wealthy individuals to AQ and Taliban members. Al Akhtar reportedly managed as much as 1 million USD for AQ in 2002 and 2003.[8] The organization supposedly used dentations from businessmen in Pakistan to purchase blankets and clothing for AQ, as well as to provide financial assistance to the families of AQ members.[9] In 2004 and 2005, Al Akhtar chairman Mohammed Mazhar organized for businessmen from South Africa and the United Kingdom to travel to Pakistan with with Al Akhtar funds. In 2007, Mazhar is believed to have moved “sizeable amounts of money” from donors in the Gulf to AQ members and their families.[10]

Al Akhtar maintained offices in several Pakistani cities, including in Bahawalpur, Bawalnagar, Gilgit, Islamabad, Mirpur Khas, and Tando-Jan-Muhammad.[11] The group’s main office was in Karachi, Pakistan.[12] The group has also managed medical centers in Karachi, Pakistan and Spin Boldak, Afghanistan.[13] In addition to its support of AQ, Al Akhtar also reportedly provided logistical, financial, and travel assistance to several militant groups based in Pakistan, including JeM, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Lashkar-e-Jhangv (LeJ), and Harakat-ul-Mujahedeen (HuM).[14]

The U.S. Department of the Treasury designated Al Akhtar Trust as a “terrorist support organization” in 2003. This action froze the group’s assets within the United States and forbade future transactions with U.S. nationals in an effort to “cripple yet another source of support for terrorists and possibly help undermine the financial backing of terrorists staging attacks against American troops and Iraqi civilians in Iraq.”[15] However, it was unlikely that Al Akhtar Trust had any significant assets in the United States at the time of its designation. The Treasury Department also lacked evidence that Al Akhtar was directly tied to terrorist attacks in Iraq. Instead, a Treasury counterterrorism official told The New York Times that the U.S. government believed the funds collected by Al Akhtar were going to be used to support future attacks.[16]

The Pakistan government froze Al Akhtar’s bank accounts in 2003.[17] In 2005, Al Akhtar was added to the United Nation’s Al Qaeda Sanctions List for its association with Al Qaeda and Jaish-e-Mohammad.[18] In 2005, the European Union also imposed restrictions on Al Akhtar for its connections to Al Qaeda and the Taliban.[19] In 2007, the Pakistan government closed all of Al Akhtar’s offices in the country to comply with the 2005 U.N. resolution that banned the group. The government also froze the group’s bank accounts, forced a stop to its operations in Pakistan, and banned group advertisements for donations. However, it should be noted that the Pakistan government did not outright ban Al Akhtar.[20] The group responded to the government’s actions by challenging them in Pakistani court.[21]

In 2007, Al Akhtar chairman Mohammed Mazhar changed the organization’s name to the Pakistan Relief Foundation.[22] The U.S. Department of the Treasury believed that the name change was an attempt by Al Akhtar to avoid U.S. and U.N. sanctions. The Pakistan Relief Foundation was noted as an alias for Al Akhtar, and sanctions were extended to this organization.[23] In 2010, Mazhar was designated by the U.S. Department of the Treasury for “providing support to terrorists or acts of terrorism.”[24] 

There is little public information about Al Akhtar’s more recent activities. A letter authored by the Chair of the United Nations Security Council Committee in January 2020 noted that Al Akhtar has attempted to push back against sanctions by challenging them in Pakistani courts. Additionally, a “trustee” of the Pakistan Relief Foundation, a known alias for Al Akhtar, pursued legal action to unfreeze his bank account. The letter suggested that Al Akhtar’s case against the sanctions was still pending in a Pakistani provincial high court as of January 2020.[25]

 

[1] “Al-Akhtar Trust.” South Asia Terrorism Portal, no date. https://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries/pakistan/terroristoutfits/Al-Akhtar_Trust.htm

[2] “U.S. DESIGNATES AL AKHTAR TRUST Pakistani Based Charity is Suspected of Raising Money for Terrorists in Iraq.” U.S. Department of the Treasury, October 14, 2003. https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/js899.aspx; “Treasury Designates Two Pakistani Individuals For Supporting Terrorist Activities Treasury Targets Two Heads of Charities with Links to Al-Qai'da and the Taliban.” U.S. Department of the Treasury, April 15, 2010. https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/tg643.aspx; “Al-Akhtar Trust.” South Asia Terrorism Portal, no date. https://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries/pakistan/terroristoutfits/Al-Akhtar_Trust.htm

[3] “U.S. DESIGNATES AL AKHTAR TRUST Pakistani Based Charity is Suspected of Raising Money for Terrorists in Iraq.” U.S. Department of the Treasury, October 14, 2003. https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/js899.aspx

[4] Muhammad Amir Rana. Translated by Saba Ansari. A to Z of Jihadi Organizations in Pakistan (Lahore, Pakistan: Mashal, 2004), 497.

[5] “U.S. DESIGNATES AL AKHTAR TRUST Pakistani Based Charity is Suspected of Raising Money for Terrorists in Iraq.” U.S. Department of the Treasury, October 14, 2003. https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/js899.aspx

[6] “U.S. DESIGNATES AL AKHTAR TRUST Pakistani Based Charity is Suspected of Raising Money for Terrorists in Iraq.” U.S. Department of the Treasury, October 14, 2003. https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/js899.aspx

[7] “U.S. DESIGNATES AL AKHTAR TRUST Pakistani Based Charity is Suspected of Raising Money for Terrorists in Iraq.” U.S. Department of the Treasury, October 14, 2003. https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/js899.aspx

[8] “Treasury Designates Two Pakistani Individuals For Supporting Terrorist Activities Treasury Targets Two Heads of Charities with Links to Al-Qai'da and the Taliban.” U.S. Department of the Treasury, April 15, 2010. https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/tg643.aspx

[9] “U.S. DESIGNATES AL AKHTAR TRUST Pakistani Based Charity is Suspected of Raising Money for Terrorists in Iraq.” U.S. Department of the Treasury, October 14, 2003. https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/js899.aspx

[10] “Treasury Designates Two Pakistani Individuals For Supporting Terrorist Activities Treasury Targets Two Heads of Charities with Links to Al-Qai'da and the Taliban.” U.S. Department of the Treasury, April 15, 2010. https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/tg643.aspx

[11] “SECURITY COUNCIL AL-QAIDA AND TALIBAN SANCTIONS COMMITTEE ADDS NAMES OF FOUR

INDIVIDUALS TO CONSOLIDATED LIST, AMENDS ENTRIES OF THREE ENTITIES.” United Nations Security Council, December 10, 2008. https://www.un.org/press/en/2008/sc9527.doc.htm; “Al-Akhtar Trust.” South Asia Terrorism Portal, no date. https://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries/pakistan/terroristoutfits/Al-Akhtar_Trust.htm

[12] Muhammad Amir Rana. Translated by Saba Ansari. A to Z of Jihadi Organizations in Pakistan (Lahore, Pakistan: Mashal, 2004), 497.

[13] “SECURITY COUNCIL AL-QAIDA AND TALIBAN SANCTIONS COMMITTEE ADDS NAMES OF FOUR

INDIVIDUALS TO CONSOLIDATED LIST, AMENDS ENTRIES OF THREE ENTITIES.” United Nations Security Council, December 10, 2008. https://www.un.org/press/en/2008/sc9527.doc.htm; “Al-Akhtar Trust.” South Asia Terrorism Portal, no date. https://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries/pakistan/terroristoutfits/Al-Akhtar_Trust.htm

[14] “U.S. DESIGNATES AL AKHTAR TRUST Pakistani Based Charity is Suspected of Raising Money for Terrorists in Iraq.” U.S. Department of the Treasury, October 14, 2003. https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/js899.aspx; “Al-Akhtar Trust.” South Asia Terrorism Portal, no date. https://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries/pakistan/terroristoutfits/Al-Akhtar_Trust.htm

[15] “U.S. DESIGNATES AL AKHTAR TRUST Pakistani Based Charity is Suspected of Raising Money for Terrorists in Iraq.” U.S. Department of the Treasury, October 14, 2003. https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/js899.aspx

[16] Timothy O’Brien “THE STRUGGLE FOR IRAQ: MONEY TRAIL; Pakistani Charity Is Called Terror Front by U.S. Treasury.” The New York Times, October 15, 2003. https://www.nytimes.com/2003/10/15/world/struggle-for-iraq-money-trail-pakistani-charity-called-terror-front-us-treasury.html

[18] “AL-AKHTAR TRUST INTERNATIONAL.” United Nations Security Council, published April 6, 2009. Updated February 3, 2015. https://www.un.org/securitycouncil/sanctions/1267/aq_sanctions_list/summaries/entity/al-akhtar-trust-international

[19] “COMMISSION REGULATION (EC) No 1378/2005 of 22 August 2005 amending for the 52nd time Council Regulation (EC) No 881/2002 imposing certain specific restrictive measures directed against certain persons and entities associated with Usama bin Laden, the Al-Qaida network and the Taliban, and repealing Council Regulation (EC) No 467/2001.” Official Journal of the European Union, August 22, 2005. https://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2005:219:0027:0028:EN:PDF

[20] “Offices of two charity organisations sealed: Action taken under UN resolution: govt.” Dawn, February 19, 2007. https://www.dawn.com/news/233609/offices-of-two-charity-organisations-sealed-action-taken-under-un-resolution-govt

[22] “Treasury Designates Two Pakistani Individuals For Supporting Terrorist Activities Treasury Targets Two Heads of Charities with Links to Al-Qai'da and the Taliban.” U.S. Department of the Treasury, April 15, 2010. https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/tg643.aspx

[23] “Treasury Identifies New Aliases of Al Rashid and Al-Akhtar Trusts Pakistan-Based Trusts Previously Designated for Supporting al Qaida.” U.S. Department of the Treasury, July 2, 2008. https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/hp1065.aspx

[24] “Treasury Designates Two Pakistani Individuals For Supporting Terrorist Activities Treasury Targets Two Heads of Charities with Links to Al-Qai'da and the Taliban.” U.S. Department of the Treasury, April 15, 2010. https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/tg643.aspx

[25] “Letter dated 20 January 2020 from the Chair of the Security Council Committee pursuant to resolutions 1267 (1999), 1989 (2011) and 2253 (2015) concerning Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Da’esh), Al-Qaida and associated individuals, groups, undertakings and entities addressed to the President of the Security Council.” Untied Nations, January 20, 2020. https://digitallibrary.un.org/record/3848705?ln=en

Organizational Structure

Leadership, Name Changes, Size Estimates, Resources, Geographic Locations

    Leadership
  • Leadership
  • Name Changes
  • Size Estimates
  • Resources
  • Geographic Locations

Leadership

The structure of Al Akhtar’s leadership is unknown. Sources use several names to refer to key leadership positions in the organization – chairman, president, chief executive officer, director – and it is not known the degree to which these positions overlap. Al Akhtar was initially registered as a humanitarian organization by Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), a Sunni extremist group based in Pakistan. Al Akhtar is known to have supported Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and various extremist groups operating in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The extent to which the leadership of these organizations played a role, if any, in directing Al Akhtar is unknown.

Hakeem Muhammad Akhtar (unknown to unknown): Hakeem Muhammad Akhtar (also spelled Hakim Akhtar) was a prominent religious scholar in Pakistan when Al Akhtar Trust was established.[1] In 2003, the U.S. Department of the Treasury reported that Akhtar was the chairman and chief executive of the organization.[2] Sometime before 2007, the Pakistan government placed Akhtar on its Exit Control List, which limited his ability to leave the country. Akhtar petitioned a Pakistani Court get himself and his son, then-Al Akhtar leader Mohammed Mazhar, removed from the list. In 2009, the Sindh High Court in Pakistan ordered the interior ministry to remove both his and his son’s names.[3] Akhtar’s most recent activities are unknown.

Mohammed Mazhar (unknown to unknown): Mohammed Mazhar is the son of Hakeem Muhammad Akhtar, a former chairman and chief executive of the organization.[4] Mazhar has held various leadership positions within Al Akhtar. He has served as chairman, president, chief executive officer, and director. It is unknown when and for how long he acted in each of these positions, though a report by the U.S. Department of the Treasury suggests that he served as director from 2004 to at least 2010.[5] The Treasury Department also reports that Mazhar previously fought in Afghanistan as a member of the Taliban. Mazhar has reportedly used these connections to lead Al Akhtar’s efforts to provide aid to the Taliban.[6] Sometime before 2007, the Pakistan government placed Mazhar on its Exit Control List, which limited his ability to leave the country. Mazhar’s father and former Al Akhtar leader, Hakeem Muhammad Akhtar, petitioned a Pakistani Court to have their names removed from the list. In 2009, the Sindh High Court in Pakistan ordered the interior ministry to remove both names.[7] Mazhar’s most recent activities are unknown.

Saud Memon (unknown to unknown): Saud Memon served as a financier for Al Rashid Trust and its associated organizations, including Al Akhtar. According to a statement by the U.S. Department of the Treasury in 2003, Memon was “the individual primarily responsible for the Al Akhtar Trust’s finances and the direction of financial resources and support for the Trust.”[8] Memon also reportedly aided Al Qaeda in its pursuit to develop anthrax weapons.[9] Memon owned the compound where The Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl was murdered after he was kidnapped while doing work in Pakistan in 2002.[10] The degree of Memon’s involvement in the slaying is unknown, and Pakistani authorities were not immediately able to arrest him.[11] In 2007, it was revealed that U.S. and Pakistani intelligence had detained and interrogated Memon. It is not known when U.S. and Pakistani officials first took Memon into custody. Rough treatment during his detention may have played a role in Memon’s death later that year.[12]

 

[1] Zia Ur Rehman. “Gaining political ground on welfare.” The News, August 13, 2017. https://www.thenews.com.pk/tns/detail/563799-gaining-political-ground-welfare

[2] “U.S. DESIGNATES AL AKHTAR TRUST Pakistani Based Charity is Suspected of Raising Money for Terrorists in Iraq.” U.S. Department of the Treasury, October 14, 2003. https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/js899.aspx

[3] “Remove patron’s names from ECL: SHC.” The News, February 18, 2009. https://www.thenews.com.pk/archive/print/161894-remove-patron%E2%80%99s-names-from-ecl-shc; “KARACHI: Plea against placement of name on ECL allowed.” Dawn, February 18, 2009. https://www.dawn.com/news/343927/newspaper/newspaper/column

[4] “Remove patron’s names from ECL: SHC.” The News, February 18, 2009. https://www.thenews.com.pk/archive/print/161894-remove-patron%E2%80%99s-names-from-ecl-shc

[5] “Treasury Designates Two Pakistani Individuals For Supporting Terrorist Activities Treasury Targets Two Heads of Charities with Links to Al-Qai'da and the Taliban.” U.S. Department of the Treasury, April 15, 2010. https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/tg643.aspx

[6] “Treasury Designates Two Pakistani Individuals For Supporting Terrorist Activities Treasury Targets Two Heads of Charities with Links to Al-Qai'da and the Taliban.” U.S. Department of the Treasury, April 15, 2010. https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/tg643.aspx

[7] “Remove patron’s names from ECL: SHC.” The News, February 18, 2009. https://www.thenews.com.pk/archive/print/161894-remove-patron%E2%80%99s-names-from-ecl-shc; “KARACHI: Plea against placement of name on ECL allowed.” Dawn, February 18, 2009. https://www.dawn.com/news/343927/newspaper/newspaper/column

[8] “U.S. DESIGNATES AL AKHTAR TRUST Pakistani Based Charity is Suspected of Raising Money for Terrorists in Iraq.” U.S. Department of the Treasury, October 14, 2003. https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/js899.aspx

[9] Jay Solomon and Steve LeVine. “Suspect in Pearl Murder Was Held, Covertly Questioned Before Death.” The Wall Street Journal, November 12, 2007. https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB119483721533389766

[10] Zahid Hussain. “Pakistani Businessman May Be Linchpin in Daniel Pearl Case.” The Wall Street Journal, October 2, 2002. https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB1033510608810825513

[11] “U.S. DESIGNATES AL AKHTAR TRUST Pakistani Based Charity is Suspected of Raising Money for Terrorists in Iraq.” U.S. Department of the Treasury, October 14, 2003. https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/js899.aspx

[12] Jay Solomon and Steve LeVine. “Suspect in Pearl Murder Was Held, Covertly Questioned Before Death.” The Wall Street Journal, November 12, 2007. https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB119483721533389766

Name Changes

In 2007, Al Akhtar Trust chairman Mohammed Mazhar changed the organization’s name to the Pakistan Relief Foundation.[1] However, the group is still widely referred to as Al Akhtar Trust or Al Akhtar Trust International in many sources. Al Akhtar is also associated with several other aliases: Pakistani Relief Foundation, Azmat-e-Pakistan Trust, and Azmat Pakistan Trust.[2]

 

[1] “Treasury Designates Two Pakistani Individuals For Supporting Terrorist Activities Treasury Targets Two Heads of Charities with Links to Al-Qai'da and the Taliban.” U.S. Department of the Treasury, April 15, 2010. https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/tg643.aspx

[2] “Treasury Identifies New Aliases of Al Rashid and Al-Akhtar Trusts Pakistan-Based Trusts Previously Designated for Supporting al Qaida.” U.S. Department of the Treasury, July 2, 2008. https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/hp1065.aspx

Size Estimates

There are no publicly available size estimates for this group.

Resources

Al Akhtar generates resources for Al Qaeda (AQ), the Taliban, and other Pakistan-based militant organizations largely through donations. Al Akhtar fashions itself as a humanitarian organization “serving the needy people and also working for the rehabilitation of the people in drought, famine and flood affected areas.” [1] The group has used its status as a humanitarian organization to raise funds and deliver aid to militants in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The U.S. Department of the Treasury also asserts that Al Akhtar has supported militants in Iraq. Al Akhtar supposedly used dentations from businessmen in Pakistan to purchase blankets and clothing for AQ, as well as to provide financial assistance to the families of AQ members.[2] The group has also used newspaper advertisements and communicated via email to solicit funds.[3] 

Al Akhtar reportedly managed as much as 1 million USD for AQ in 2002 and 2003.[4] In 2004 and 2005, Al Akhtar chairman Mohammed Mazhar organized for businessmen from South Africa and the United Kingdom to travel to Pakistan with Al Akhtar funds. In 2007, Mazhar is believed to have moved “sizeable amounts of money” from donors in the Gulf to AQ members and their families.[5]

 

[2] “U.S. DESIGNATES AL AKHTAR TRUST Pakistani Based Charity is Suspected of Raising Money for Terrorists in Iraq.” U.S. Department of the Treasury, October 14, 2003. https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/js899.aspx

[3] “AL-AKHTAR TRUST INTERNATIONAL.” United Nations Security Council, published April 6, 2009. Updated February 3, 2015. https://www.un.org/securitycouncil/sanctions/1267/aq_sanctions_list/summaries/entity/al-akhtar-trust-international

[4] “Treasury Designates Two Pakistani Individuals For Supporting Terrorist Activities Treasury Targets Two Heads of Charities with Links to Al-Qai'da and the Taliban.” U.S. Department of the Treasury, April 15, 2010. https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/tg643.aspx

[5] “Treasury Designates Two Pakistani Individuals For Supporting Terrorist Activities Treasury Targets Two Heads of Charities with Links to Al-Qai'da and the Taliban.” U.S. Department of the Treasury, April 15, 2010. https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/tg643.aspx

Geographic Locations

Disclaimer: This is a partial list of where the militant organization has bases and where it operates. This does not include information on where the group conducts major attacks or has external influences.

Al Akhtar maintained offices in several Pakistani cities, including in Bahawalpur, Bawalnagar, Gilgit, Islamabad, Mirpur Khas, and Tando-Jan-Muhammad. [1]  In 2007, the Pakistan government sealed Al Akhtar’s offices in the country, though the organization tried to challenge this in court.[2] Al Akhtar has also managed medical centers in Karachi, Pakistan and Spin Boldak, Afghanistan.[3] The organization has provided support to militants operating in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The U.S. Department of the Treasury also asserts that Al Akhtar has supported militants in Iraq.[4]

 

[1] “SECURITY COUNCIL AL-QAIDA AND TALIBAN SANCTIONS COMMITTEE ADDS NAMES OF FOUR

INDIVIDUALS TO CONSOLIDATED LIST, AMENDS ENTRIES OF THREE ENTITIES.” United Nations Security Council, December 10, 2008. https://www.un.org/press/en/2008/sc9527.doc.htm; “Al-Akhtar Trust.” South Asia Terrorism Portal, no date. https://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries/pakistan/terroristoutfits/Al-Akhtar_Trust.htm

[3] “SECURITY COUNCIL AL-QAIDA AND TALIBAN SANCTIONS COMMITTEE ADDS NAMES OF FOUR

INDIVIDUALS TO CONSOLIDATED LIST, AMENDS ENTRIES OF THREE ENTITIES.” United Nations Security Council, December 10, 2008. https://www.un.org/press/en/2008/sc9527.doc.htm; “Al-Akhtar Trust.” South Asia Terrorism Portal, no date. https://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries/pakistan/terroristoutfits/Al-Akhtar_Trust.htm

[4] “U.S. DESIGNATES AL AKHTAR TRUST Pakistani Based Charity is Suspected of Raising Money for Terrorists in Iraq.” U.S. Department of the Treasury, October 14, 2003. https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/js899.aspx

Strategy

Ideology, Aims, Political Activities, Targets and Tactics

    Ideology and Goals
  • Ideology and Goals
  • Political Activities
  • Targets and Tactics

Ideology and Goals

Publicly, Al Akhtar Trust claims to be a humanitarian and charity group that aims to “[serve] the needy people and also [work] for the rehabilitation of the people in drought, famine and flood affected areas.”[1] More covertly, Al Akhtar operates as a front for the collection and distribution of funds and supplies to various militant organizations, many of which hold Deobandi Sunni ideologies.[2] The organization was reportedly one of the most prominent charities among Deobandi seminaries in Pakistan.[3] Al Akhtar has published and distributed religious texts, as well as supported the construction and extension of religious schools and mosques.[4]

 

[2] Mariam Mufti. “Religion and Militancy in Pakistan and Afghanistan: A Literature Review.” Center for Strategic and International Studies, June 2012. https://csis-website-prod.s3.amazonaws.com/s3fs-public/legacy_files/files/publication/120628_Mufti_ReligionMilitancy_Web.pdf; Muhammad Amir Rana. Translated by Saba Ansari. A to Z of Jihadi Organizations in Pakistan (Lahore, Pakistan: Mashal, 2004), 497.

[3] Zia Ur Rehman. “Gaining political ground on welfare.” The News, August 13, 2017. https://www.thenews.com.pk/tns/detail/563799-gaining-political-ground-welfare

[4] Muhammad Amir Rana. Translated by Saba Ansari. A to Z of Jihadi Organizations in Pakistan (Lahore, Pakistan: Mashal, 2004), 497.

Political Activities

This group has no known political activities.

Targets and Tactics

Al Akhtar Trust primarily operates as a front for the collection and distribution of funds and supplies to several militant organizations, including Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and Jaish-e-Mohammad. Al Akhtar does not have a history of using violence to achieve its aims and thus does not have clear targets. The militant groups that it supports, however, have largely targeted U.S. coalition forces in Afghanistan and government forces in Pakistan.

The U.S. government has also connected Al Akhtar to “terrorists staging attacks against American troops and Iraqi civilians in Iraq.”[1] However, the U.S. government did not have evidence that Al Akhtar was directly tied to terrorist attacks in Iraq when it made this statement. Instead, a counterterrorism official with the Department of the Treasury told The New York Times that the U.S. government believed the funds collected by Al Akhtar were going to be used to support future attacks.[2]

 

[1] “U.S. DESIGNATES AL AKHTAR TRUST Pakistani Based Charity is Suspected of Raising Money for Terrorists in Iraq.” U.S. Department of the Treasury, October 14, 2003. https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/js899.aspx

[2] Timothy O’Brien “THE STRUGGLE FOR IRAQ: MONEY TRAIL; Pakistani Charity Is Called Terror Front by U.S. Treasury.” The New York Times, October 15, 2003. https://www.nytimes.com/2003/10/15/world/struggle-for-iraq-money-trail-pakistani-charity-called-terror-front-us-treasury.html

cardinal red photo

Major Attacks

Disclaimer: These are some selected major attacks in the militant organization's history. It is not a comprehensive listing but captures some of the most famous attacks or turning points during the campaign.

Al Akhtar Trust primarily operates as a front for the collection and distribution of funds and supplies to several militant organizations, including Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and Jaish-e-Mohammad. Al Akhtar does not have a history of using violence to achieve its aims; rather, it funds militant organizations to carry out their own attacks. As of August 2020, Al Akhtar has not claimed responsibility for any specific attacks.

It should be noted, however, that an Al Akhtar leader has been connected to the murder of The Wall Street Journal correspondent Daniel Pearl in 2002. Saud Memon, a prominent financier in Al Akhtar, owned the compound where Pearl was held and killed.[1] The degree of Memon’s involvement in the slaying is unknown, and Pakistani authorities were not immediately able to arrest him.[2] In 2007, it was revealed that U.S. and Pakistani intelligence had detained and interrogated Memon, but further details about his involvement in the Pearl case were not revealed.[3] It is unclear whether Pearl’s murder was sanctioned by Memon or by Al Akhtar leadership.

 

[1] Zahid Hussain. “Pakistani Businessman May Be Linchpin in Daniel Pearl Case.” The Wall Street Journal, October 2, 2002. https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB1033510608810825513

[2] “U.S. DESIGNATES AL AKHTAR TRUST Pakistani Based Charity is Suspected of Raising Money for Terrorists in Iraq.” U.S. Department of the Treasury, October 14, 2003. https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/js899.aspx

[3] Jay Solomon and Steve LeVine. “Suspect in Pearl Murder Was Held, Covertly Questioned Before Death.” The Wall Street Journal, November 12, 2007. https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB119483721533389766

Interactions

Foreign Designations and Listings, Community Relations, Relations with Other Groups, State Sponsors and External Influences

    Designated/Listed
  • Designated/Listed
  • Community Relations
  • Relationships with Other Groups
  • State Sponsors and External Influences

Designated/Listed

Al Akhtar Trust has been designated or proscribed by several countries and international organizations for its connections to Al Qaeda.

  • U.S. Department of the Treasury: 2003 to present, designed as a “terrorist support organization”[1]
  • U.S. Department of the Treasury: 2008 to present, designated Al Akhtar chairman Mohammed Mazhar for “providing support to terrorists or acts of terrorism”[2] 
  • United Nations: 2005 to present, Al Akhtar added to the Al Qaeda Sanctions List for its association with Al Qaeda and Jaish-e-Mohammad.[3]
  • European Union: 2005 to present, Al Akhtar received sanctions for its connections to Al Qaeda and the Taliban[4]

 

In 2007, the Pakistan government closed all of Al Akhtar’s offices in the country to comply with the 2005 U.N. resolution that banned the group. The government also froze the group’s bank accounts, forced a stop to its operations in Pakistan, and banned group advertisements for donations. However, it should be noted that the Pakistan government did not outright ban Al Akhtar.[5] The group responded to the government’s actions by challenging them in Pakistani court.[6] Al Akhtar has also challenged the sanctions imposed by the United Nations in court.[7]

 

[1] “U.S. DESIGNATES AL AKHTAR TRUST Pakistani Based Charity is Suspected of Raising Money for Terrorists in Iraq.” U.S. Department of the Treasury, October 14, 2003. https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/js899.aspx

[2] “Treasury Designates Two Pakistani Individuals For Supporting Terrorist Activities Treasury Targets Two Heads of Charities with Links to Al-Qai'da and the Taliban.” U.S. Department of the Treasury, April 15, 2010. https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/tg643.aspx

[3] “AL-AKHTAR TRUST INTERNATIONAL.” United Nations Security Council, published April 6, 2009. Updated February 3, 2015. https://www.un.org/securitycouncil/sanctions/1267/aq_sanctions_list/summaries/entity/al-akhtar-trust-international

[4] “COMMISSION REGULATION (EC) No 1378/2005 of 22 August 2005 amending for the 52nd time Council Regulation (EC) No 881/2002 imposing certain specific restrictive measures directed against certain persons and entities associated with Usama bin Laden, the Al-Qaida network and the Taliban, and repealing Council Regulation (EC) No 467/2001.” Official Journal of the European Union, August 22, 2005. https://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2005:219:0027:0028:EN:PDF

[5] “Offices of two charity organisations sealed: Action taken under UN resolution: govt.” Dawn, February 19, 2007. https://www.dawn.com/news/233609/offices-of-two-charity-organisations-sealed-action-taken-under-un-resolution-govt

[7] “Letter dated 20 January 2020 from the Chair of the Security Council Committee pursuant to resolutions 1267 (1999), 1989 (2011) and 2253 (2015) concerning Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Da’esh), Al-Qaida and associated individuals, groups, undertakings and entities addressed to the President of the Security Council.” Untied Nations, January 20, 2020. https://digitallibrary.un.org/record/3848705?ln=en

Community Relations

Al Akhtar Trust operates under the guise of a humanitarian aid organization that aims to “[serve] the needy people and also [work] for the rehabilitation of the people in drought, famine and flood affected areas.”[1] In this capacity, Al Akhtar has established medical centers, dug wells, and provided general flood relief to residents, largely in the Thar region of Pakistan. As of 2004, the organization had dug 20 wells in Thar. [2]

Al Akhtar also provided emergency relief to victims of the October 2005 earthquake in Azad Kashmir, Pakistan. The specifics of Al Akhtar’s involvement in the humanitarian response are unclear, though one Pakistan government official suggested that the organization played a “significant role in the rescue and rehabilitation operations in the areas hit.”[3] However, there is speculation that Al Akhtar misappropriated some of the funds it received to put toward its earthquake relief efforts. The National Terrorist Finance Investigation Unit from the United Kingdom reportedly investigated Al Akhtar after billions in rupees collected from fundraising efforts across Pakistan and millions in funds from a UK-based NGO were forwarded to support militant activities.[4]

In addition to public acts of charity, Al Akhtar also provides covert assistance to the families of militant group fighters. The U.S. Department of the Treasury holds that Al Akhtar was established with the intention of “providing financial assistance for mujahideen, financial support to the Taliban and food, clothes, and education to orphans of martyrs.”[5] In 2007, Al Akhtar chairman Mohammed Mazhar is believed to have moved “sizeable amounts of money” from donors in the Gulf to AQ members and their families.[6]

 

[2] Muhammad Amir Rana. Translated by Saba Ansari. A to Z of Jihadi Organizations in Pakistan (Lahore, Pakistan: Mashal, 2004), 497.

[3] “Offices of two charity organisations sealed: Action taken under UN resolution: govt.” Dawn, February 19, 2007. https://www.dawn.com/news/233609/offices-of-two-charity-organisations-sealed-action-taken-under-un-resolution-govt

[4] Amir Mir. “Britain probes Islamic charities' terror plot links.” Gulf News, August 18, 2006. https://gulfnews.com/world/asia/pakistan/britain-probes-islamic-charities-terror-plot-links-1.250423

[5] “U.S. DESIGNATES AL AKHTAR TRUST Pakistani Based Charity is Suspected of Raising Money for Terrorists in Iraq.” U.S. Department of the Treasury, October 14, 2003. https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/js899.aspx

[6] “Treasury Designates Two Pakistani Individuals For Supporting Terrorist Activities Treasury Targets Two Heads of Charities with Links to Al-Qai'da and the Taliban.” U.S. Department of the Treasury, April 15, 2010. https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/tg643.aspx

Relationships with Other Groups

Al Akhtar Trust works closely with several militant organizations that have operated in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Al Akhtar was one of two front organizations created by members of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), a Sunni extremist group based in Pakistan. The two front organizations, Al Akhtar Trust and Al Khair Trust, were registered as humanitarian aid organizations in an attempt to obscure their JeM connections. JeM indented to use Al Akhtar to traffic arms and ammunition to group members.[1]

Al Akhtar cooperated and possibly merged with another JeM-linked charity group, Al Rashid Trust. In conjunction with Al Rashid Trust, Al Akhtar trafficked supplies for AQ into Kandahar Province, Afghanistan in the early 2000s.[2] Al Rashid was designated by the U.S. Department of the Treasury as a terrorist support organization in 2001. By March 2002, Al Akhtar had taken over all of Al Rashid’s former activities.[3]

In addition to its ties to JeM and Al Rashid, Al Akhtar also worked closely with Al Qaeda (AQ). Al Akhtar provided logistical, financial, and medical assistance to AQ. According to intelligence obtained by the U.S. government, Al Akhtar and Al Rashid were “the primary relief agencies that Al Qaida used to move supplies” into Kandahar Province, Afghanistan.[4] The organization supposedly used donations from businessmen in Pakistan to purchase blankets and clothing for AQ, as well as to provide financial assistance to the families of AQ members.[5] In 2002 and 2003, Al Akhtar reportedly managed as much as 1 million USD for AQ.[6] Around this time, Al Akhtar members also treated wounded AQ militants at medical centers in Afghanistan and Pakistan.[7] In 2007, Al Akhtar chairman Mohammed Mazhar is believed to have moved “sizeable amounts of money” from donors in the Gulf to AQ members and their families.[8]

Though Al Akhtar is known to have provided direct support to AQ militants in Afghanistan, the exact nature of the group’s relationship with AQ leadership is unclear. Al Akhtar is associated with former AQ leader Osama Bin Laden’s wider network of international Islamic extremist groups, but it is unknown whether the organization received direct commands from AQ central or maintained a direct link to AQ leadership.

Al Akhtar also maintained a relationship with the Afghan Taliban. In its designation of Al Akhtar, the U.S. Department of the Treasury reported that Al Akhtar was established with the intention of “providing financial assistance for mujahideen, financial support to the Taliban and food, clothes, and education to orphans of martyrs.”[9] The Treasury Department also reported that former Al Akhtar chairman Mohammed Mazhar previously fought in Afghanistan as a member of the Taliban. Mazhar reportedly used these connections to lead Al Akhtar’s efforts to provide aid to the Taliban.[10]

In addition to its support of AQ and the Taliban, Al Akhtar also provided logistical, financial, and travel assistance to several militant groups based in Pakistan, including JeM, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Lashkar-e-Jhangv (LeJ), and Harakat-ul-Mujahedeen (HuM).[11]

 

[1] “U.S. DESIGNATES AL AKHTAR TRUST Pakistani Based Charity is Suspected of Raising Money for Terrorists in Iraq.” U.S. Department of the Treasury, October 14, 2003. https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/js899.aspx

[2] “U.S. DESIGNATES AL AKHTAR TRUST Pakistani Based Charity is Suspected of Raising Money for Terrorists in Iraq.” U.S. Department of the Treasury, October 14, 2003. https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/js899.aspx

[3] “U.S. DESIGNATES AL AKHTAR TRUST Pakistani Based Charity is Suspected of Raising Money for Terrorists in Iraq.” U.S. Department of the Treasury, October 14, 2003. https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/js899.aspx

[4] “U.S. DESIGNATES AL AKHTAR TRUST Pakistani Based Charity is Suspected of Raising Money for Terrorists in Iraq.” U.S. Department of the Treasury, October 14, 2003. https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/js899.aspx

[5] “U.S. DESIGNATES AL AKHTAR TRUST Pakistani Based Charity is Suspected of Raising Money for Terrorists in Iraq.” U.S. Department of the Treasury, October 14, 2003. https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/js899.aspx

[6] “Treasury Designates Two Pakistani Individuals For Supporting Terrorist Activities Treasury Targets Two Heads of Charities with Links to Al-Qai'da and the Taliban.” U.S. Department of the Treasury, April 15, 2010. https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/tg643.aspx

[7] “U.S. DESIGNATES AL AKHTAR TRUST Pakistani Based Charity is Suspected of Raising Money for Terrorists in Iraq.” U.S. Department of the Treasury, October 14, 2003. https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/js899.aspx

[8] “Treasury Designates Two Pakistani Individuals For Supporting Terrorist Activities Treasury Targets Two Heads of Charities with Links to Al-Qai'da and the Taliban.” U.S. Department of the Treasury, April 15, 2010. https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/tg643.aspx

[9] “U.S. DESIGNATES AL AKHTAR TRUST Pakistani Based Charity is Suspected of Raising Money for Terrorists in Iraq.” U.S. Department of the Treasury, October 14, 2003. https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/js899.aspx

[10] “Treasury Designates Two Pakistani Individuals For Supporting Terrorist Activities Treasury Targets Two Heads of Charities with Links to Al-Qai'da and the Taliban.” U.S. Department of the Treasury, April 15, 2010. https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/tg643.aspx

[11] “U.S. DESIGNATES AL AKHTAR TRUST Pakistani Based Charity is Suspected of Raising Money for Terrorists in Iraq.” U.S. Department of the Treasury, October 14, 2003. https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/js899.aspx; “Al-Akhtar Trust.” South Asia Terrorism Portal, no date. https://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries/pakistan/terroristoutfits/Al-Akhtar_Trust.htm

State Sponsors and External Influences

There are no publicly available external influences for this group.

Maps

The project develops a series of interactive diagrams that “map” relationships among groups and show how those relationships change over time. The user can change map settings to display different features (e.g., leadership changes), adjust the time scale, and trace individual groups.