Coalition and Afghan forces captured a “senior Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan leader” during a raid today in the northern province of Kunduz. From the ISAF press release announcing the raid:
An Afghan and Coalition security force arrested a senior Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan leader in Chahar Darah district, Kunduz province, today.
The IMU leader directed improvised explosive device attacks in Kunduz province. He also acquired IEDs, weapons and rockets and distributed them to insurgents throughout the region.
The security force also detained two additional suspected insurgents and seized improvised explosive devices components during the operation.
Background on the IMU and raids in Kunduz and the north
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.]
The IMU has been a prime target of special operations forces in Afghanistan. So far this year, special operations forces have conducted at least 26 raids against the IMU; in Badakhshan, Baghlan, Faryab, Logar, Helmand, Kunduz, Takhar, and Wardak, or eight of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces; according to International Security Assistance Force press releases compiled by The Long War Journal.
This spring, ISAF killed the two previous IMU leaders for Afghanistan, in raids just a few weeks apart in Faryab province. [See LWJ report, Special operations forces kill newly appointed IMU leader for Afghanistan, for more information.]
Special operations forces have conducted eight raids against the IMU in Kunduz province so far this year. In one raid, on July 7, two IMU leaders who served as explosives experts and specialized in making suicide and improvised explosive devices were captured in a raid in Kunduz district, Kunduz province. The captured IMU leaders are Afghans of Uzbek ethnicity and are linked to the group’s top leadership.
In the last reported raid, on July 28, special operations forces captured an IMU explosives expert along with “numerous insurgents” in Archi in Kunduz.
And on July 24, special operations forces killed Khadim, an IMU “explosives expert responsible for recruiting and training insurgents for suicide attacks.”