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Interview with the “Deceased” Takhir Yuldashev. Objectives and Tasks of the IMU in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Central Asia. (Part I.)

Thursday, July 29, 2010 - 17:49

In recent time there were numerous statements in mass media about the death of Takhir Yuldashev — the leader of the IMU — Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. Contradictory data from various sources must be surely checked and treated cautiously. Several newspapers start even making predictions of the possible directions in the activity of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan under the command of new leaders. Thus, EurasiaNet (article The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan Undergoing Dangerous Transformation by Deirdre Tynan) informs us about a new dangerous transformation: “The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) is undergoing a metamorphosis that could transform the Islamic militant group into a far more dynamic foe for Central Asian governments, as well as for the US and NATO troops in Afghanistan…
The Afghan Ministry of Defense estimates that there are at least 4,000 IMU-aligned "foreign mercenaries" in northern Afghanistan. The increase in IMU activity is occurring amid changes in the movement’s composition. According to some reports, the death of the group’s long-time leader, Tahir Yuldashev, has allowed more daring and innovate leaders to assert themselves within the movement. Specifically, an ethnic Tartar named Abdur Rahman is believed to have assumed the helm of the IMU, replacing Yuldashev, who reportedly died from wounds suffered in a US missile attack in August” (EurasiaNet). "It’s hard to imagine [Yuldashev’s death] having much impact on the IMU. Yuldashev’s reputation, as far as we have heard of one, was of an uncharismatic and rather dogmatic person," said Paul Quinn-Judge, the Central Asia project director for International Crisis Group. Although Yuldashev’s death has not been definitively confirmed, what is beyond question is the fact that the IMU is now employing bolder tactics. This would suggest at the very least that the old guard has given way to a younger, more aggressive group of commanders. "I think Yuldashev was quite content operating as an armed wing for the Taliban in Pakistan, working as a supporting group, as opposed to doing what [the IMU] was initially set up to do, which was overthrow the Uzbek government and set up a caliphate in Central Asia," said Bill Roggio, a expert on the region who edits The Long War Journal, a blog covering the Af-Pak conflict. "Yuldashev was very conservative about his role in Central Asia. But we’ve seen over the last couple of months that the IMU is stepping up efforts to secure northern Afghanistan and attack Tajikistan. Maybe they [militants] are just waiting for the right moment," he said.
From the vantage point of Andrei Grozin, director of the Central Asia Department at the CIS Institute in Moscow, conditions in Central Asia are presently ripe for an IMU comeback. "The IMU’s influence could grow because of the worsening social and economic situation in Central Asia," Grozin said in an interview with EurasiaNet on October 19. "These countries are getting less and less money for aluminum and cotton and for other resources. Consequently, the opportunity for the IMU to influence the population is expanding." If reports that Rahman has assumed the leadership of the IMU are accurate, it would signal a significant expansion of the IMU’s base. "If true, this would underline the way IMU has become a trans-national, not just an Uzbek jihadist movement," Quinn-Judge told EurasiaNet. A trans-national identity could cause a corresponding expansion of its strategic aims. Already, the IMU is reportedly attracting militants from Chechnya and Dagestan, two unsettled regions of Russia, into its ranks, Quinn-Judge added. A Pakistani government offensive in Waziristan could well stir up more IMU activity in Afghanistan and other Central Asian states. Some estimates say as many as 5,000 IMU fighters have been using Waziristan as a safe haven. It’s very possible that rather than take on the Pakistani military, IMU fighters will opt to return to Central Asia, said Grozin. "If that happens, one of two scenarios will develop," Grozin continued. "More radical IMU factions might start active operations [in Central Asia], or they might try not to attract attention. The first scenario is more likely because they don’t have rules and the security forces in the Central Asian republics are not very professional, to put it mildly."
In order to respond to this and other information of this kind the IMU leader recorded a number of interviews refuting the rumors about his death. There is no doubt about the authenticity that the materials posted at www.furgon.сom (Ozbekiston Islomi Harakatining rasmiy saity): it is really Yuldashev’s voice.
As usual, the leader of the terrorist organization starts with an ideological preview and expands on the IMU and Taliban allies, prospects and plans, on the perspective of the situation in Afghanistan and Central Asia.
Below you will find and extract from the interview with Takhir Yuldashev.
Question: What can you say about the activity and role of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan after the breakdown of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan?
Reply: Praise be to Allah, who exalted Islam and abased polytheism and polytheists. Peace be to the head of the mujahidins, the honorable of the Prophets and Forerunners, and peace be to his descendants, supporters and all those who followed his directions. In September 2001, after the terroristic acts in New York the world split in two parts. The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan arrived in the territory of Afghanistan and found shelter there together with its faith associates — the Taliban Movement; then it participated in repelling the attack of the West that started a “crusade” to Afghanistan. We followed the principles of our faith and stuck to the heritage of mujahidins and shakhids (warriors fallen at war for faith). Today we are together with Arab and other mujahidins in the same trenches in the South and in the West of Afghanistan, and also in the West of Pakistan keeping on fighting the “crusade” forces. The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan is fighting at two fronts: in Afghanistan and in Pakistan. The Movement is very active and initiative. The IMU is making up for the fallen mujahidins by attracting and recruiting new warriors. This fight is the fight between the truth and injustice. We are in Waziristan together with the Taliban, and we are allies opposing the polytheists — the enemies of Islam. We also support other mujahidins who fight in the territory of India and China. The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan will never change or mitigate its objective and will steadily pursue it.
Question: What is the reason for the delay in large-scale Jihad operations of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan in Maverannahr (meaning in Central Asia on the whole)? How would you respond to the opinion of the population that supports you, but is dissatisfied with the fact that the IMU is fighting in Afghanistan and Pakistan without paying any attention to its original targets?
Reply: Of course, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan originates from Maverannahr. Originally we targeted at the establishment of the Islamic shariat in Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and further in the whole Maverannahr. Our movement has passed several steges in its development. The first stage began in the 80 s and 90 s as a fight against communism and atheism. Our teachers did a great amount of work in this direction. Many of them became shakhids and are in prison now. The second stage began after Uzbekistan gained independence. It was a period of open davaat (preaching) that led to the formation of the first mujahidin divisions in 1991. When the persecution started many of the true Uzbekistani Muslims had to escape to Tajikistan and further to Afghanistan. Therefore, the origins of the IMU lie in Tajikistan, where in March 1992 Jihad began, and we took part in it from its first days. During the Soviet times Islam was taught secretly, and the mujahidins who acquired religious education at that time later formed the basis of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. Ansars (associates) in Tajikistan helped us and supported us, and in Afghanistan the situation was the same. After the Jihad ideas in Tajikistan were betrayed in 1993–1996 we separated from them and created an independent movement in the territory of Afghanistan. Within the frames of this movement political, economic and military organizations were established on the basis of shariat. The first Jihad operations of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan took place in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan in 1999. Internal political intrigues in Tajikistan made the IMU members leave the country as the members of the movement did not want to kill their fellowman. Thus, the movement relocated to Afghanistan. In 1996, after the Taliban came to power and Muslim scientists declared the Emirate of Afghanistan as a state under the laws of shariat, all the Muslim Jamaats took an oath to the Taliban emir Mullo Omar, and the IMU was one of them. In 2001 the IMU managed to enter the large political area. The IMU objective in Maverannahr is the protection of Muslims. But as we are located in Afghanistan, we must protect and defend the shariat system here. After the “crusade” against the Muslims of Afghanistan began in 2001 by the confounded Bush, the IMU decided to defend the shariat state and the Muslim lands. This objective is of higher priority for us today than our aims in Maverannahr. In this fight we are in the forefront. During this “crusade” the IMU performs the role of a shield protecting the Muslims and their lands.
During the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan we lived in this country and suffered intrusion under a fake pretext fabricated by the “Kafiri states.” One of the pretexts for the intrusion into Afghanistan was an attempt to capture our brother Osama bin Laden and submit him to the USA. However, Mullo Omar did not intend to submit Osama bin Laden, as well as other mujahidins-muhajiruns. And Mullo Omar was resolute about it. One more American objective in Afghanistan was an attempt to eradicate the shariat system of management and to introduce the Western model. Mullo Omar sacrificed the whole state in an attempt to keep the promise and defend all the mujahidins-muhajiruns in the territory of the Emirate of Afghanistan. The Taliban Movement leader displayed his allegiance to Islam and shariat and did not submit any of the mujahidins to the enemy. On the basis of Alkoran and the legacy of the ancestors the Islamic movement of Uzbekistan is fighting together with Mullo Omar at the same war. Today there is not a single state in the world that defends Muslims. The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan is the only state that gave shelter to muhajiruns who took an oath to the Almighty to perform Jihad on His way. Therefore, we fight against the NATO and US forces together with the Taliban to restore the shariat state of Afghanistan. Other countries in the world have their own territory, policy, state management, legislation… We also want to have these rights. Praise be to Allah that the Taliban controls over 10 regions in Afghanistan. The fight is going on under the command of Mullo Omar. Therefore, the IMU suspends all the large-scale actions in the territory of Maverannahr. Our actions did not stop for good, and they will be resumed with time. We will definitely return to our Motherland. We have taken an oath to do it and fulfill our objective. We will return with glory holding the Koran in one hand and weapons in the other. We will never forget the enslaved Muslims of Maverannahr. We have no right to forget them. Those who want to live according to the laws of the Koran, can achieve this only if they take the way our Prophet Mohammad took. The history of Afghanistan shows that the people of this country has fought many times against foreign invaders: the English, the Red Army of the USSR and others; and 2 million Afghans died fighting for the freedom of their country. In my opinion, the Almighty Allah chose the Afghan people as a force capable of opposing the invaders and protecting Islam. The IMU will keep on fighting together with such faithful allies. Our future objective is to establish the Islamic caliphate with our Afghan brethren.
Afghanistan was attacked by 100 thousand military men from the USA and 38 NATO states . Today they are confronted by Afghans and muhajiruns from various countries. This war is the third war in the history of Afghanistan. The first to invade this country were the English, then came the USSR and now — the NATO and the USA. They came to eradicate those who live by shariat and to eradicate the Islamic state. During this war the Afghans did not have enough weapons. This was the reason for a great number of casualties among civilians. Those countries who try to impose democracy here, will share the fate of the USSR and they will cease to exist on the world map. Today those who fight in Afghanistan, who want to exalt the Word of Allah are devoted mujahidins who will eventually defeat the NATO forces.
The Muslims of Maverannahr and especially the Muslims of Tajikistan must not think they are forgotten. We will soon enter Central Asia victorious, and all the circumstances favor this outcome. But our objective is not to establish Caliphate Maverannahr alone. We want to restore the Islamic Caliphate and the Koran dominance in Afghanistan, Pakistan and other countries. Our forces are capable of fighting against the NATO and US, as well as with the SCO, and therefore it will not represent any difficulty to submit the puppet states that emerged in Central Asia after the disintegration of the USSR. Our efforts in Central Asia have become less notable, but this is not caused by weakness. Today the IMU deals with the forces of a powerful enemy who is trying to invade Afghanistan.
We will respond to the brutal attack on Afghanistan by the forces of the West and take an oath to fulfill our objectives. (to be continued).

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