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.