Image of “Abdullah from Essen,” a German citizen from Afghanistan who was known as Miqdad, from an IMU martyrdom videotape. Image courtesy of the SITE Intelligence Group.
A German citizen who fought with the al Qaeda-linked Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan was killed by US troops during a recent clash in Afghanistan, according to the terror group’s spokesman.
“Abdullah from Essen,” a German citizen from Afghanistan who was known as Miqdad, was killed while fighting US forces in northern Afghanistan, according to a martyrdom statement. Yassin Chouka, a spokesman for the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan who is better known as Abu Ibrahim al Almani (“the German”), made the statement in a videotape released on jihadist websites. The statement is titled “The Afghan Lightning” and was translated by the SITE Intelligence Group.
Miqdad, who was nicknamed “Afghan Lightning,” first arrived in Pakistan’s tribal area of Waziristan in November 2010. “In 2011, he concluded his training in a training camp, and traveled shortly after that to northern Afghanistan,” the IMU said. Miqdad was killed during a clash with US troops on March 23, 2011 in Baghlan province.
“Brother Miqdad recently came to Waziristan and he said to us: please send me right away to Kunduz, because I really want to kill Germans,” Chouka said, according to the SITE translation. “He recently lived in Germany and saw the criminal acts of the Germans, but when Allah the Almighty put him on the path and allowed him to carry a weapon, he didn’t hesitate and he hurried and went into action in the Cause of Allah.”
Miqdad also makes a brief statement in his martyrdom tape, in which he encourages Muslims worldwide to flock to Afghanistan and Pakistan.
“Praise be to Allah that the mujahideen came here to Afghanistan and Pakistan to fight NATO,” Miqdad said. “I advise all the brothers worldwide to join the mujahideen here in Afghanistan and Pakistan.”
In the tape, Chouka, the IMU spokesman, chastises his “Afghan brothers who live in Germany” for failing to fight in Afghanistan. He also defends the Taliban and denies that the group is made up of “radical extremists.”
“The fight is in your land, in your home, and you are where?” Chouka said. “You turned your backs to the battlefields and sought the transient worldly pleasures while the enemies are here in your land.”
“Some of you fled from jihad, and some others, on the other hand, speak badly about the mujahideen and say that the Taliban are tyrants and they oppress this land,” he continued. “Your tongues resemble that of the unbelievers, saying that that Taliban are radical extremists.”
Germans belong to the IMU, IJG, and al Qaeda
German jihadists flock to both the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and its splinter group, the Islamic Jihad Group (or Islamic Jihad Union). German leaders and fighters occasionally are killed or captured in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
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 Uzbek, Central Asian, and other foreign fighters belonging to the IMU are sheltering in North Waziristan.
Top leaders of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan have integrated into the Taliban’s shadow government in the northern provinces. Operating in conjunction, the Taliban and the IMU have expanded their presence throughout northern Afghanistan, and have established training camps in the region. ISAF has identified the presence of camps in Sar-i-Pul and Samangan provinces, while Taliban leader admitted the IMU has established camps in Kunduz.
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.
German Muslims make up a significant portion of the Islamic Jihad Group. Its fighters are often referred to as German Taliban, and they carry out attacks in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. In 2009, the Islamic Jihad Group released video of ‘German Taliban villages’ in Waziristan. Its fighters were seen training at camps and conducting military operations. The US killed Najmuddin Jalolov, the leader of the Islamic Jihad Group, in a Predator airstrike in North Waziristan on Sept. 14, 2009.
Several prominent German jihadists have been killed or captured in Pakistan and Afghanistan over the past year.
On April 28, 2010, Eric Breininger, a German member of the Islamic Jihad Group who was wanted for his involvement in the failed plot to attack US military facilities in Germany in 2008, was killed in Pakistan.
On May 10, 2010, Bekkay Harrach, a German national from Bonn, was killed while leading an assault on the Bagram Airfield in central Afghanistan. Harrach, who was also known as Al Hafidh Abu Talha al Almani, was also a member of al Qaeda external operations committee.
In July 2010, Ahmed Siddiqi, a German from Hamburg, was captured in Kabul, Afghanistan. Siddiqi disclosed a plot to carry out Mumbai-styled terror assaults in Europe.
Last fall, several Germans were reported to have been killed by the US in Predator airstrikes in the Mir Ali area of North Waziristan. The Germans were thought to be training for attacks in Europe. Both the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and the Islamic Jihad Group are known to run camps in the area.
And on May 9, ISAF captured a “‘Germany-based Moroccan al Qaeda foreign fighter facilitator” in Zabul in southeastern Afghanistan.
Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD’s Long War Journal.