Jund al Khilafah calls for overthrow of Kazakh president

Jund al Khilafah, or Soldiers of the Caliphate, an al Qaeda and Haqqani Network-linked terror group that is based along the Afghan-Pakistan border, has used last weekend’s deadly clash between oil workers and government forces to call for the ouster of the president of Kazakhstan. In a video statement released on jihadist forums, the terror group called for the removal of President Nazarbayev. The statement has been translated by the SITE Intelligence Group; an excerpt is provided below:

We call upon you to continue in your revolution against the Nazarbayev regime, because this regime aims to maim the Kazakh identity. Starting from today, we don’t just demand the abolition of the unjust laws, but we demand the ouster of Nazarbayev and his henchmen from the government.

Jund al Khilafah’s claim that it hadn’t previously demanded the ouster of Nazarbayev is somewhat odd, as one of the group’s leaders called for the restoration of the Islamic caliphate just this fall. This is what Rawil Kusaynuv, the emir of the Zahir Baibars Battalion, one of several units in the Jund al Khilafah, said in an interview released in November (the translation is from the SITE Intelligence Group):

We believe that the region of Central Asia, in addition to the Islamic Maghreb [North Africa] and Yemen, are candidates to be the nucleus for the return of the Caliphate State in the future.

Presumably Kusaynuv includes Kazakhstan as part of Central Asia, and it is probably safe to say he doesn’t believe Nazarbayev is suitable to lead a Kazakh Emirate after the restoration of the caliphate.

Jund al Khilafah has now claimed credit for three attacks in Kazakhstan this fall, and has also released two videos of attacks against ISAF forces in Khost province, Afghanistan. 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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