IMU claims 2010 attack on Bagram Airbase was executed ‘in coordination and cooperation with other jihadi groups’


Abbas Mansoor, an Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan military commander. Image from the SITE Intelligence Group.

The al Qaeda-linked Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan said the May 19, 2010 suicide assault on the US military airbase in Bagram, Afghanistan was executed “in coordination and cooperation with other jihadi groups and that the assault team included “Turks, Tajiks, Arabs, Pashtuns, and Afghans.”

The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, or IMU, made the claim in a propaganda videotape that was released on jihadist forums on Oct. 17 and was obtained by the SITE Intelligence Group. The 28-minute-long video has an English-language voiceover and English subtitles. The video features “Ali the Sniper,” who is described by SITE as “a married Tajik man with three children.”

The IMU video includes two senior IMU leaders: Abu Usman Adil, the emir of the terror group, and Abbas Mansoor, a military commander. Mansoor claimed the IMU carried out the May 19, 2010 assault on Bagram Airbase in conjunction with other terror groups operating in Afghanistan.

“We were not the only organizers of this operation; rather, it was done in coordination and cooperation with other jihadi groups,” Mansoor said. “Twenty best sons of the Ummah were chosen for the team. There were Turks, Tajiks, Arabs, Pashtuns, and Afghans.”

The IMU provided a dramatic depiction of the assault; the video included a map that zoomed in on Afghanistan, and Google Earth footage of Bagram Airbase.

Mansoor said that “as many as 20 martyrdom-seekers were armed with 6 RPGs, 6 sub-machineguns, and assault rifles, each equipped with grenade launchers, and this is how they had prepared for the attack. What is more, each and every one of them was wearing explosives-laden vests, as strong as capable of blowing up an entire house.” Images were shown of IMU fighters who were identified as Ali the Sniper, Khalid, Qari Muawiz, Abdul Ghani, Noorullah, Abu Bakr, Farooq, and Abdul Wahab.

Abu Usman Adil said the Bagram operation will “inspire other brothers to follow examples by carrying out martyrdom operations,” and said the group seeks to help with establishing a global Islamist caliphate.

“Our goal is to make the word of Allah superior,” Adil said, echoing the rhetoric of al Qaeda and other allied Islamist terror groups. “We want the law of Qur’an, the law of Sunnah [traditions of the Prophet Muhammad], to be implemented all over the globe. We want Shariah to prevail. We want the Islamic state, the Caliphate, to be reestablished.”

Background on the Bagram attack

The May 2010 suicide assault on Bagram shocked US and NATO military commanders as Parwan province, which is just north of Kabul, is considered by ISAF to be an area that is relatively secure. Attacks in the province are rare, and a coordinated assault against the airbase and another attack against the Parwan Detention Facility earlier this year were not expected.

In the videotape, the IMU claimed that an estimated 20 fighters carried out the Bagram Airbase attack, and said they penetrated the base’s perimeter. The US military said an estimated 30 to 40 enemy fighters carried out the assault, but were beaten back at the main gate. Sixteen enemy fighters were confirmed killed during the attack; a US military contractor was also killed..

Bekkay Harrach, a German national who operated along the Afghan-Pakistani border, is thought to have been killed while leading the assault on Bagram. Harrach led a team of 20 fighters made up from the ranks of al Qaeda, the Pakistani Taliban, and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, according to a previous statement released by the IMU. The various terrorist groups carry out military operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan under the aegis of the Lashkar al Zil, or the Shadow Army [for more information, see LWJ report, Al Qaeda’s paramilitary ‘Shadow Army’]. The Lashkar-al-Zil is also called the Jaish-al-Usrah. The US military has previously called this group, which also includes elements from the Haqqani Network and the Hizb-i-Islami Gulbuddin, the Kabul Attack Network.

For more information on the IMU, see LWJ report, Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan claims Panjshir suicide attack.

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



  • gudien says:

    Great, let them have their Caliphate in the afterlife. Let’s send them there quickly.

  • Eddie D. says:

    Our soldiers will kill or capture Pashtuns, Afghanistanis, Turks, Tajiks, Arabs and any of you that are stupid enough to go up against them. A global Islamist caliphate will never be establised, no matter how hard you idiots try.

  • Jim Cregg says:

    He may be correct, just hope he disappears!

  • Where can we get copies of the video? They may have revealed some useful tactical information. In any case, it sounds like a good example of a propaganda film, from which we can learn.

  • Witch Doctor says:

    As cited in the above article Abu Usman Adil said the Bagram operation will “inspire other brothers to follow examples by carrying out martyrdom operations,” and said the group seeks to help with establishing a global Islamist caliphate.
    It is fine for them to continue to blow themselves up, Turks, Pashtun’s, Uzbecks. It doesn’t matter. We are getting smarter everyday to their not -so-sophisticated ways and tactics. Soon their will be less and less to carry out a global caliphate. without us having to spend a single round.
    My medic friends who treat the locals said that the most common illness they see is genital warts in the rectums of the male locals. These are the people they recruit to carry out global jihad.? Good luck.
    If it were many groups united against our presence would that come to anyone as a surprise?

  • Soccer says:

    I have looked at many bases in Afghanistan via Google Earth before… it doesn’t do them justice as to how big they really are. I think the main reason the assault was such a failure for them was due to the fact that were so ill prepared to attack such a massive base in the first place.
    20 foot soldiers attacking Bagram is a bad move. They would need something like thousands to even stand a chance of making it halfway into the base, and even then they wouldn’t make it out alive.

  • Uzbek says:

    IMU should delete the U from its name because the Uzbeks share nothing with these terrorists who fled the country, ensconced in lawless territories of Pakistan and Afghanistan and claim they somehow are related to Uzbekistan. B.S! I feel ashamed to be Uzbek when I read such stories. I wish the international forces terminated all of them. These savages bring a bad name to honest, hard-working people of Uzbekistan.

  • Eddie D. says:

    Not now or ever will you people succeed in making Sharia law.

  • Mr. Nobody says:

    I would never claim credit for such a failure of an operation.

  • the video is here:
    i really hope all intelligence services got this one
    thanks for your great work Bill!

  • JT says:

    Any news over the last couple of days related to operations regarding the reported “massing of [US] troops” on the Afghanistan side of the border?

  • Liked you article, but only the english translation has been released on Oktober 17th. The video appeared for the first time in July this year, in a russian version.


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