During a raid yesterday in the northern Afghan province of Kunduz, Coalition and Afghan special operations forces killed yet another senior leader for the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan who was involved in suicide operations.
The raid took place in the province’s Chahar Darah district, a known stronghold of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and the Taliban. The International Security assistance Force identified the senior IMU leader as Khadim, or Qari Hamza.
Khadim and his fighters attacked the special operations team as it conducted the raid, and was one of two “insurgents” who were killed. Yesterday, ISAF said that “numerous suspected insurgents” were also captured during the operation [see Threat Matrix report, ISAF targets another senior IMU leader in Afghan north].
Khadim was an Afghan national, ISAF told The Long War Journal. In the press release announcing Khadim’s death, ISAF described him as “an explosives expert responsible for recruiting and training insurgents for suicide attacks” and who “was also responsible for planning and leading multiple attacks against Afghan and Coalition forces throughout the region.”
Background on the IMU and raids in Kunduz and the north
The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan is a key ally of al Qaeda and the Taliban, and supports operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan, as well as plots attacks in Europe. The IMU is known to fight alongside the Taliban in Afghanistan and has integrated into the Taliban’s shadow government in the north. [For more information on the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, see LWJ report, IMU cleric urges Pakistanis to continue sheltering jihadis in Waziristan.]
The IMU has been a prime target of special operations forces in Afghanistan. So far this year, special operations forces have conducted at least 24 raids against the IMU; in Badakhshan, Baghlan, Faryab, Logar, Helmand, Kunduz, Takhar, and Wardak, or eight of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces; according to International Security Assistance Force press releases compiled by The Long War Journal.
This spring, ISAF killed the two previous IMU leaders for Afghanistan, in raids just a few weeks apart in Faryab province. [See LWJ report, Special operations forces kill newly appointed IMU leader for Afghanistan, for more information.]
Special operations forces have conducted six raids against the IMU in Kunduz province so far this year. In one raid, on July 7, two IMU leaders who served as explosives experts and specialized in making suicide and improvised explosive devices were captured in a raid in Kunduz district, Kunduz province. The captured IMU leaders are Afghans of Uzbek ethnicity and are linked to the group’s top leadership.
Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD’s Long War Journal.