Jund al Khilafah strikes again in Kazakhstan?

An “Islamist militant” rampaged in the southern Kazakh city of Taraz today, killing six people, including four security personnel. From Reuters:

The prosecutor-general’s office said a 34-year-old “follower of jihadism” killed four members of the security forces and two civilians in gun battles in the city of Taraz. He blew himself up when cornered, killing another policeman…

The prosecutor-general’s office said a man it identified as M.K. Kariyev killed two members of the National Security Committee who had him under surveillance, before embarking on a spree of violence.

He raided a weapons store, killing a security guard and fatally wounding a visitor before escaping with two semi-automatic rifles, the office said.

It said the assailant hijacked a car and shot dead two policemen in pursuit, before collecting a grenade launcher from his home and shooting at the local building of the National Security Committee, the successor to the Soviet-era KGB.

In all likelihood, this attack was carried out by the Jund al Khilafah, or Brigade of the Soldiers of the Caliphate, a small jihadist outfit based along the Afghan-Pakistan border. Rawil Kusaynuv, the emir of the Zahir Baibars Battalion, a sub-unit in the Jund al Khilafah, has recently reiterated the group’s desire to continue attacks in the former Soviet Republic. The terror group had claimed the Oct. 31 bombings in Kazahkstan.

The Jund al Khilafah has conducted attacks on US forces in Khost province, Afghanistan, where the al Qaeda-linked Haqqani Network is active. A senior US intelligence official said 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.

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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