ISAF pursues Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan in Afghan north

Just one day after announcing the capture of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan’s top leader in Afghanistan, ISAF reported on a recent raid that targeted an IMU “facilitator and explosives expert” in the northern province of Takhar. From the ISAF press release:

Afghan and coalition forces killed one insurgent and detained several suspected insurgents while searching for a facilitator during a security operation in Ishkamish District, Takhar province yesterday. The facilitator and explosives expert supports both Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and Taliban senior leaders in Ishkamish and Burkah Districts. He facilitates the construction and emplacement of improvised explosive devices.

The combined force targeted the facilitator’s suspected compound in the district based on intelligence tips. During initial clearance, an armed insurgent advanced towards the force with a pistol. The force gave several verbal warnings in multiple ethnic languages, but the armed insurgent continued to ignore the warnings. The force then escalated the use of force to warning shots. However, the insurgent continued to ignore the warnings advancing on the force with his weapon drawn in their direction, forcing them to engage him, resulting in one insurgent killed. One pistol was recovered. There were no other injuries.

Completing the mission, the force detained several suspected insurgents. No further shots fired. Women and children were protected throughout the operation.

The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and al Qaeda are known to have a presence in Takhar in the districts of Darquad, Ishkamish, Khwajah Bahawuddin, and Rustaq, according to ISAF’s press releases. Since September 2009, ISAF has reported on 12 raids against the IMU and al Qaeda in the province of Takhar.

As we’ve noted numerous times, the Taliban and the al Qaeda-allied IMU have become intricately linked in the Afghan north, as well as in the east.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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