Jund al Khilafah claims attack in Kazakhstan

A terror group based along the Afghan-Pakistan border has claimed responsibility for last week’s attack in Kazakhstan that killed four security personnel and two civilians, and has vowed to continue attacks in the central Asian country.

The Jund al Khilafah, or Brigade of the Soldiers of the Caliphate, said it carried out the Nov. 12 attack in the southern Kazakh city of Taraz that killed six people. The terror group claimed the attack in a statement that was released yesterday on jihadist web forums.

“No one should think that the killing of a solder in our brigade will possibly stop or hinder our movement, because in place of one there are tens and hundreds of lions who are ready to pounce upon the regime’s ruined remnants,” the statement said, according to a translation by the SITE Intelligence Group.

“In Taraz, you saw with your own eyes what one soldier can do to you, and Allah willing, you will see woes at the hands of men who are unafraid of death and who sacrifice their lives cheaply to support the religion of Islam and to defend the honors of Muslims,” the statement continued. “The tyrant [Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev] should know that we are keen for death just as his soldiers are keen for life, and his fight with us will never [be] on the same level.”

The group said that Nazarbayev “will never win this fight, because he simply bid on the losing horse.”

On Oct. 25, the Jund al Khilafah first threatened to attack the Kazakh government after it imposed laws banning the hijab, or headscarf, for females and closing prayer rooms for Muslims in government buildings. Six days later, a member of the terror group killed himself while planting bombs in the city of Atyrau.

The Jund al Khilafah has recently emerged in jihadist propaganda, and has released two videos of attacks on US bases in Khost province, Afghanistan, where the al Qaeda-linked Haqqani Network is active. A senior US intelligence official told The Long War Journal that the group is “almost certainly part of the Haqqanis’ foreign legions.”

A host of foreign terror groups cooperate with the Haqqani Network in eastern Afghanistan and shelter in Haqqani areas in North Waziristan, Pakistan. Others include the Islamic movement of Uzbekistan and its offshoot, the Islamic Jihad Union; the Caucasus Mujahideen in Khorasan; Taifatul Mansura (Victorious Sect); and the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement.

Rawil Kusaynuv, the leader of the Zahir Baibars Battalion, which he claims is one of several sub-units in the Jund al Khilafah, recently granted an interview with the Minbar Media Project, a jihadist propaganda outlet. In the interview, Kusaynuv said his organization seeks to aid in the restoration of an Islamic caliphate and has devoted a significant portion of its resources to fight in Kazakhstan.

For more information on the Jund al Khilafah, see LWJ report, Kazakh jihadi leader seeks restoration of Islamic caliphate.

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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  • Not A Hero says:

    Hey, Bill, from where did you learn that “The Jund al Khilafah … said it carried out the Nov. 12 attack in the southern Kazakh city of Taraz …”?
    I follow SITE too but didn’t catch any sign of the Brigade’s responsibility for the Taraz bombings… Can you clarify?

  • Bill Roggio says:

    Not A Hero,
    I just quoted the SITE translation of the Jund al Khilafah statement, above.


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