Taliban, IMU form Ansar al Aseer to free jihadist prisoners


From left to right: Abdul Hakeem, Adnan Rasheed, and Yassin Chouka. Image from the SITE Intelligence Group..

In a recent video, the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan announced the formation of the Ansar al Aseer, a unit tasked to free jihadist prisoners and support their families. The video features Adnan Rasheed, a dangerous Pakistani jihadist who was freed in a jailbreak last year; Yassin Chouka, a wanted German commander in the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan; and Abdul Hakeem, a Russian IMU member.

The video, which was released on jihadist Internet forums on Jan. 29 and obtained and translated by the SITE Intelligence Group, was co-produced by Umar Media and Jundallah Studio, the media arms of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, respectively. The video includes English subtitles.

Rasheed, Chouka, and Hakeem were videotaped reading prepared statements while seated under a tree. Rasheed led off by announcing the formation of the Ansar al Aseer, defining its mission, and praising the Taliban for his release.

“The first purpose of this group is to make your release possible by all means,” Rasheed said. “And the second purpose is to take care of you in jail, provide for your families, fulfill your needs and necessities and arrange finances for your trials. And finally the third purpose is to take revenge against the enemies.”

“You should send us the names and addresses of those who serve the police, ISI, army, as well as those jail wardens, officers and their aides and spies, plus the names of those who dared to harass your families and your old parents and those who still treat you inhumanely,” he continued. “We, the mujahideen in Khorasan, promise you that we will, Allah willing, take revenge against them.”

He also warned the Pakistani security forces against harassing the families of jihadist prisoners, and said that they “are all on our hit list.”

Rasheed is a Pakistani terrorist who was involved in the Dec. 14, 2003 assassination attempt against then-President Pervez Musharraf. A member of the Pakistani Air Force, Rasheed was sentenced to death for his role in the assassination attempt.

Rasheed worked for Amjad Farooqi, the Pakistani terrorist who engineered the two assassination attempts against Musharraf in December 2003 at the behest of al Qaeda leader Abu Faraj al Libi; Farooqi is suspected of involvement in other terror attacks as well. Farooqi was a member of the Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan; the Harkat-ul-Ansar and its successor, the Harakat-ul-Mujahideen; Harakat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami; and Jaish-e-Mohammed. He served as a close aide to Qari Saifullah Akhtar, the leader of the Harakat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami. In addition, Farooqi served as the group’s representative to al Qaeda’s International Islamic Front.

On April 15, 2012, the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan launched a successful operation to free Rasheed and nearly 400 prisoners, including an estimated 200 Taliban fighters and jihadists, being held at a prison in Bannu. The operation was directed by Hakkemullah Mehsud, the emir of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, and Waliur Rehman Mehsud, the group’s emir for South Waziristan. More than 150 fighters assaulted the prison. Rasheed was later featured in a videotape celebrating the jailbreak.

Next to speak on the videotape announcing the formation of the Ansar al Aseer is Abdul Hakeem, a previously unknown Russian operative in the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. Hakeem chastised the Muslim Ummah, or community, for doing nothing to further the release of prisoners.

“Our beloved brothers and sisters have had to live in captivity,” Hakeem complained. “When they spit, they spit blood. Yet this 1.5 billion-strong Ummah is doing nothing about it.”

Hakeem also claimed he was detained by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate, or ISI, and accused it of working in concert with the US.

“When I was in jail I witnessed how hypocritical the ISI agents were,” he said. “This anti-Islamist institute of Pakistan fights against the Muslims standing shoulder to shoulder with the USA. When they interrogated us these two devils would work together.”

Yassin Chouka praised jihadists who are in prison, but his statement takes a considerably more conciliatory position toward Muslims “who have not yet dedicated their love to the Muslim prisoners worldwide” than does Hakeem’s.

“Look into your hearts and see whom you have dedicated your love to, whom you hate and whom you love,” he advised. “Let me give you a piece of advice: Force your unconcerned soul to love the Muslim captives around the world.”

Chouka, better known as Abu Ibrahim al Almani, is a German citizen originally from Morocco who, along with his brother Mounir, features frequently in the IMU’s propaganda. In February 2011, Chouka released a report that described his travels from Europe to Pakistan, which included a stop in Yemen and several meetings with Anwar al Awlaki, the American-born terrorist who served as a senior ideologue and operational commander for al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula before his death in a Predator strike. Both of the Chouka brothers were added to the US’s list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists in January 2012. [For more information on the Choukas, see LWJ report, US adds IMU, IJU operatives to list of global terrorists].

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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  • Birbal Dhar says:

    I’m guessing the Russian intelligence such as the KGB probably know who this Abdul Hakeem guy is. I believe the name “Abdul Hakeem” is a pseudonym and his real name is something else.
    I know he also appeared in another IMU propaganda video, where he spoke only for less than one minute but I believe he is an ethnic Russian who converted to Islam and is not an ethnic Muslim from the Caucasus region or east of the Ural mountains in Muslim majority areas such as Tatarstan.

  • gb says:

    I hope the Russians really go after anyone in this sphere of influence, they are ruthless. We could really use this type of Allied influence in the region moving forward. Signs indicate there will be an SF presence in the AO after the 2014 troop withdrawal. Hopefully there will be a low intensity campaign for years to come.

  • michael says:

    Longwar is wrong on Abdul hakeem. He is a well known imu jihadist who has been appearing in imu propaganda for atleast 3 years.


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