Coalition special operations forces captured an Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan suicide attack facilitator in the remote province of Badakhshan in northeastern Afghanistan yesterday. The raid occurred a little over one week after special operations forces killed the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan’s top leader for Afghanistan during a raid in the west.
The IMU suicide attack facilitator was captured along with several “insurgents” during a raid in the Kishim district in Badakhshan province, the International Security Assistance Force stated in a press release.
ISAF said the facilitator “coordinated the construction of suicide bomb vests and directed suicide attacks against Afghan officials and security forces in Kunduz, Badakhshan and Takhar provinces.”
In a raid today in the Almar district in the northwestern province of Faryab, special operations forces captured an Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan financier and killed “multiple insurgents.” The IMU facilitator “provided funds for attacks against Afghan and Coalition security forces throughout the province,” ISAF stated.
ISAF has stepped up the targeting of the IMU’s leadership cadre over the past month. Special operations forces have targeted top IMU leaders in nine raids in Badakhshan, Faryab, Kunduz, and Takhar provinces since Jan. 29. ISAF said it killed Makhdum Nusrat, “the senior Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan leader in Afghanistan,” during a raid in Faryab on March 26. In the press release announcing Nusrat’s death, ISAF described the IMU as “a terrorist organization closely linked to al Qaeda and the Taliban.”
ISAF and Afghan forces captured the IMU’s previous top commander in Afghanistan during a raid in Kunduz province in April 2011. He served as “a key conduit between the senior IMU leadership in Pakistan and senior Taliban leadership in Afghanistan,” and aided in suicide, IED, and other attacks by the IMU in the north. He had been freed from a Pakistani jail in 2010 and immediately returned to lead forces in Afghanistan [see LWJ report, ISAF captures Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan’s top commander for Afghanistan].
Over the past several years, Badakhshan has become a haven for the Taliban and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. Just two days ago, a suicide bomber killed Nazik Mir, an influential commander of the Afghan Local Police in Badakhshan’s Kishim district. On March 8, security forces captured two IMU leaders during a raid in Badakhshan. The commanders were involved in suicide attacks in northern Afghanistan, including one that killed a member of parliament. And in September 2011, ISAF and Afghan forces fought insurgents in Kishim in Badakhshan while hunting the IMU’s top leader in Afghanistan.
The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan is a key ally of al Qaeda and the Taliban, and supports operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan, as well as plots attacks in Europe. The IMU is known to fight alongside the Taliban in Afghanistan and has integrated into the Taliban’s shadow government in the north [for more information on the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, see LWJ report, IMU cleric urges Pakistanis to continue sheltering jihadis in Waziristan].