Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) claims responsibility for attack on Tajikistan army convoy
September 23, 2010
The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) has claimed responsibility for attacking a Tajikistan army convoy on September 19, according to news agency Asia Plus citing Radio Liberty’s Tajik Service.
The convoy, which consisted of 75 soldiers on patrol in the mountainous Kamarob Gorge, was ambushed by mujahideen forces resulting in 40 military deaths, reports the Hindustan Times. IMU spokesman Abdufattoh Ahmadi, reported one mujahideen death during the operation.
Ahmadi said the attack was in retaliation for government policy that “shut down a thousand of mosques in the country, arrests Muslims without any reason and prohibits women from wearing Muslim clothes,” writes Asia Plus. Unless government policy is changed the attacks by IMU will continue. Displeasure over government cooperation with American and NATO forces was also cited.
IMU fighters assist mujahideen in Afghanistan, Pakistan and elsewhere in Central Asia. The scope and success of the recent operation in Tajikistan, however, may be a prelude to greater involvement by IMU in regional conflicts between governments and fundamentalist Islamist forces. Central Asia is key to implementing the envisioned Islamic Caliphate, stretching from North Africa to Indonesia via the Middle East and Caucasus, Central Asia, East Turkestan (China’s Xingiang Province), parts of Thailand, Malaysia and south Philippines. Mujahideen movements are increasingly sharing tactics and personnel in furtherance of this objective.
The IMU’s renewed aggressiveness may be attributed to its new leadership. Usman Adil was recently acknowledged as Emir although his appointment may have occurred last year. He replaces Mokhammed Tokhir “Foruk” (a.k.a. Takhir Yuldashev) who was killed by an American missile strike on August 27, 2009.
IMU is establishing itself as a major player in Central Asian conflicts.