Cemaat-ul-Islam emir Abu Bara’a Turki. Image from the SITE Intelligence Group.
A Turkish jihadist group known as the Cemaat-ul-Islam [Jamaat or Assembly of Islam] has an agreement with the Afghan Taliban to run training camps and to train foreign jihadists.
The agreement was disclosed in a statement released on March 31 by another group, the Turkish Islamic Liberation Front, on Gazavat Media, a jihadist propaganda website that caters to Turkish jihadists belonging to the Taifatul Mansura, or the Victorious Sect. The statement was translated by the SITE Intelligence Group.
In the recent statement announcing its first official meeting, the Turkish Islamic Liberation Front [TILF] said that it had an agreement in 2010 to train fighters at camps run by Abu Bara’a Turki, the leader of Cemaat-ul-Islam, who is also known as Abu Yasir. But the Turkish Islamic Liberation Front said that the “agreement did not go into effect in the passage of time, as the required conditions did not develop.”
“[T]he Turkish Islamic Liberation Front decided that their domain is not the Afghan region, and that the presence of its members is not dependent on the group hierarchy, but that it is individual,” and “the group’s main domain is Turkey.”
The Turkish Islamic Liberation Front also republished the video of Abu Bara’a Turki from 2010, in which he announced that his group, the Cemaat-ul Islam, “is affiliated with the Afghan Taliban” and that the Taliban “authorized” his group to train members of the TILF at his camps.
“The Cemaat-ul Islam Brigade is authorized by the Taliban to provide training to the mujahideen. With this authority, the mujahideen of the Turkish Islamic Liberation Front will be staying at our camps and training centers,” Turki said.
While Turki did not disclose the location of his training camps in his video statement, Turkish jihadists from the Taifatul Mansura, or the Victorious Sect, are known to train in camps in Pakistan’s tribal areas, and Turkish fighters have been killed in both Afghanistan and Pakistan.
In November 2011, Gazavat Media released a statement that announced the deaths of 21 “Turkish mujahideen affiliated with the Haqqani group,” a powerful Taliban subgroup, in a US airstrike in Afghanistan, and four more Turkish fighters in a drone strike in Mir Ali in North Waziristan [see LWJ report, Jihadists announce deaths of 21 Turks linked to the Haqqani Network]. And in February of this year, Gazavat Media announced that a commander named Sinan Tekin was killed in Waziristan in July 2010.
Although the Afghan Taliban attempts to portray itself as fighting a nationalist cause, it has alliances with numerous international jihadist groups, including al Qaeda, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, the Islamic Jihad Group, the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Party, the Caucasus Mujahideen in Khorasan, Jund al Khilafah, Cemaat-ul Islam, and Taifatul Mansura.
Are you a dedicated reader of FDD's Long War Journal? Has our research benefitted you or your team over the years? Support our independent reporting and analysis today by considering a one-time or monthly donation. Thanks for reading! You can make a tax-deductible donation here.