Jaish-e-Mohammed is a radical group based in Pakistan which operates mainly in Kashmir against India. Its professed goal is to reunite all of Kashmir with Pakistan. It often takes responsibility for attacks conducted against non-civilian Indian forces and politicians (recently an attack this month that killed 40 Indian paramilitary soldiers), and all of the attacks that the group has been implicated with, have been attacks on non-civilians.

There are no accounts of the group performing an attack on any civilian target. As such, why is the group considered a terrorist organisation in the western world, when it seems to better fit the definition of insurgency rather than terror?

Insurgency is a rebellion against authority by belligerents, which is exactly what Jaes-e-Mohammed do. On the other hand, terror is often defined as attacking civilian targets to kill undiscriminately and cause terror and fear amongst the general population: Jaesh have never confessed to conducting such civilian targets nor have any western nation implicated them in such an attack.

Reading the wikipedia article, it offers a lot of circumstantial evidence of what Jaish's "true" intentions are (namely terror), but no solid proof seems to exist that they actually want to commit terror against civilian targets or that they have ever done so previously.

So my question is, has any of the western nations which regard the group as a terror organisation (USA, EU ...) given any reason as to why it is considered a terror organisation specifically and not an insurgency group of radicals?

Note that this is not a question about the morality of Jaesh, but about the formal definition of the actions they take. I am sure we all agree, terrorist or insurgents, that they are people you do not want to run into in a dark ally.

  • India is an ally to the Western world, so an insurgency against their government is called terrorism. On the other hand Syria is a foe, so an insurgency against Assad is nourished and praised. It's all Realpolitik. Feb 27, 2019 at 14:35
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    The answer (which would duplicate my answer above) is that "terrorism" is a label (and/or a legal evaluation) applied to tactics, whereas "insurgency" is a label applied to goals. An insurgent can use a terrorist methods or not. A terrorist can be an insurgent or pursue other political goals (or, in a very loose way, to strategy - as opposed to open warfare). The fact that many insurgents use terrorist tactics doesn't make the two things equivalent.
    – user4012
    Feb 27, 2019 at 19:21

1 Answer 1


Taking the example of the UK (because I knew where the PDF of "proscribed terrorist organisations" lives), under the current legislative framework, if the government of the day wishes to make membership or support of an organisation illegal, then it must be described as "terrorist", there being no option for related terms such as "insurgency", "freedom fighters", etc.

To quote the list

“Terrorism” as defined in the Act, means the use or threat which: involves serious violence against a person; involves serious damage to property; endangers a person’s life (other than that of the person committing the act); creates a serious risk to the health or safety of the public or section of the public; or is designed seriously to interfere with or seriously to disrupt an electronic system. The use or threat of such action must be designed to influence the government or an international governmental organisation or to intimidate the public or a section of the public and be undertaken for the purpose of advancing a political, religious, racial or ideological cause.

which doesn't distinguish between military, government or civilian targets.

The relevant entry here reads

Jaish e Mohammed (JeM) and splinter group Khuddam Ul-Islam (Kul) – JeM proscribed March 2001and KuI proscribed October 2005

JeM and KuI seek the 'liberation' of Kashmir from Indian control as well as the 'destruction' of America and India. JeM has a stated objective of unifying the various Kashmiri militant groups.

  • Your quote defining terrorism seems to imply that any warfaring nation is a terrorist nation? Feb 27, 2019 at 13:06
  • @FrankDeVour No, because being recognised as a country is usually mutually exclusive with being proscribed as a terrorist group.
    – Caleth
    Feb 27, 2019 at 13:29
  • This is an issue with reading paragraphs from legislation in isolation. The paragraph quoted defines terrorism to support the previous paragraph which defines terrorist organisations as basically organisations which engage in terrorism, see next paragraph. Not in this document, but I bet somewhere else in the legislation there is a legal definition of 'organisation' that does not include national governments.
    – Eric Nolan
    Feb 27, 2019 at 15:57

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