Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan tape highlights foreign fighters, operations against Pakistani military
Abdul Qader, a Russian who was killed in Pakistan while fighting with the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan.
The al Qaeda-linked Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan has recently released a videotape that celebrates the deaths of foreign fighters in its ranks from Europe, Central Asia, and North Africa, and also highlights attacks against the Pakistani military in the tribal agency of South Waziristan.
Produced in December 2010 by Jundallah Studios, a jihadist media outlet that has published propaganda tapes from the IMU in the past, the videotape, titled "Good News From Pakistan," was released on a jihadist forum on Jan. 17. A copy of the videotape was published by Asia Times.
This latest IMU propaganda effort is aimed at IMU supporters and new recruits alike. Running just over 50 minutes in length, the tape highlights IMU fighters from across the globe who have been killed in recent fighting in Pakistan, and stresses the importance of waging jihad against the Pakistani state.
Abul Harith, a Tunisian who was killed in Pakistan while fighting along with the IMU.
The videotape also provides an interesting look at both the shifting nature of the IMU and the group's continued inclusion of foreign fighters within its ranks.
The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan is an al Qaeda-affiliated group whose leadership cadre is based primarily in Pakistan's Taliban-controlled tribal agency of North Waziristan. The terror group operates primarily along the Afghan-Pakistani border and in northern Afghanistan. According to one estimate, more than 3,000 Uzbeks, Central Asian, and other foreign fighters belonging to the IMU are sheltering in North Waziristan.
The IMU's former leader, Tahir Yuldashev, was killed in a US Predator airstrike in South Waziristan in September 2009. Yuldashev sat on al Qaeda's top council, the Shura Majlis. He has been replaced by Abu Usman Adil.
Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan's global martyrs
Moqatel, an IMU soldier from Uzbekistan who served as a bodyguard for Tahir Yuldashev and Taliban leader Waliur Rahman Mehsud.
The video celebrates the deaths of 19 IMU members from various countries, including Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Russian, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkey, Tunisia, and Morocco. The exact date of their deaths is not disclosed. In the video, 10 of those featured were from Uzbekistan, three were from Tajikistan, two were from Russia, and one each were from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Morocco, and Tunisia.
Three of those killed (two Uzbeks and a Tajik) were "students" of "the jihad school 'Commander Jumabai.'" Three other Uzbeks were Shariah, or Islamic law, officials. One of the Russians served as a trainer at a camp in Pakistan.
Another three Uzbeks were described as bodyguards; one of them, Moqatel, is seen sitting next to South Waziristan Taliban emir Waliur Rahman Mehsud and slain IMU leader Tahir Yuldashev. The IMU is known to provide bodyguards to leaders of the Pakistani Taliban, and Uzbeks are often among those killed when US Predators kill Taliban commanders in strikes in North and South Waziristan.
Ikhlas Yar, the leader of the IMU's "assault-commandos."
IMU commanders and camps
The videotape also identifies several previously unknown IMU commanders. Emir Sejana is lauded as a senior commander who has fought in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. Sejana is shown talking to scores of fighters in an open field. Ikhlas Yar is identified as Sejana's deputy and the leader of the IMU's "assault-commandos."
Musa, a commander from Uzbekistan, is identified as "a trainer and leader in combat." Musa trained at a camp in Chechnya that was run by Ibn Khattab, the slain leader of al Qaeda's fighters in the Russian republic. Abdullah Ibn Zubair is identified as a trainer who runs one of the IMU's "jihad schools." Also, a German known as Abu Laith is seen on the tape.
In the videotape, the IMU also hints at the locations of its training camps. The Wana and Badr areas of South Waziristan, and Gardez in Paktia are said to have hosted IMU camps.
Haji Noor Islam, a powerful Taliban commander in Wana, South Waziristan, who supports the IMU.
Pakistani Taliban supporters
The IMU heaps praise on Haji Noor Islam, a Taliban commander based in the Wana area of South Waziristan. Noor Islam has long been known to be an active supporter of Uzbek, Tajik, and Arabs fighters settled in South Waziristan.
The IMU said Noor supports the IMU's operations in South Waziristan, married his own daughters to "noble guests," and continues to carry out operations against the military despite being 55 years old.
"He has put up with hundreds of Muhajiroon [emigrants or foreign fighters] and sacrificed all of his property," according to the IMU. "He has had his daughters married to the 'noble guests,' as he calls them. Even till today he participate in the fight at the age of 55."
Noor Islam backed the IMU during its dispute with Mullah Nazir, the South Waziristan Taliban chief in Wana, in 2007 and 2008. The Pakistani government backed Nazir during those clashes, despite the fact that Nazir actively supports al Qaeda and harbors its leaders and fighters.
The IMU also praises Waliur Rahman Mehsud, and also shows footage of Mullah Dadullah Lang, the slain Afghan Taliban commander who embraced al Qaeda's philosophy, tactics, and views on global jihad.
Attacks on Pakistani outposts in South Waziristan
The tape also includes footage of several attacks by the IMU in South Waziristan. The tape focuses on two operations: an April 2010 attack on a military convoy in the town of Kaniguram, and an August 2010 attack in the town of Bospa.
In the Bospa attack, the IMU is shown planning the operation, which included a mortar attack on a mountaintop base followed by machinegun and small arms attack. The Taliban claimed to have destroyed the Pakistani Army "trenches." The IMU said the assault was led by Commander Sejana and was executed by 60 fighters.
In one of the clips, IMU fighters are seen holding the severed heads of Pakistani soldiers.
The Pakistani military claimed it defeated the Taliban last summer after launching an operation that started in October 2009. But Pakistani troops are reported to control only the major towns and the roadways, while the Taliban launch small-scale attacks in the rest of the tribal agency.
The tape ends with a chilling 'preview' of a future tape, which includes images of child recruits, and the following subtitle: "The Jihad of Pakistan: An Adventure for the whole family."