Is the IMU Still Alive?

by Laurence Jarvik on 8/19/2004 · 1 comment

Uzland.uz published this analysis, saying that a revived IMU is behind recent blasts in Tashkent:

The synchronized suicide bomber attacks against the American and Israeli embassies in Tashkent on July 30 reveal a number of disturbing realities. The first is that some issues in Central Asia, such as how governments liberalize their domestic policies, have changed only in the realm of rhetoric. Another reality, based on the target selection of the suicide attacks, indicate the involvement of the once brow-beaten Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (I.M.U.) — however, with a new twist from its original strategic mandate.

Inspired by the legacy of the Basmachi insurgency that faced off against the Tsar’s invading army in the early 19th century, the I.M.U. was born in 1996 under the tutelage of Tohir Yuldashev. Ideologically and politically, the I.M.U. philosophy emerged from Yuldashev’s experiences with the United Tajik Opposition that was later imbued into a radically politicized mandate encased within an Islamic message. This message was the formation of an Islamic empire that would span modern day Central Asia. The following year Jumaboi Khojiev, known as the infamous Namangani, joined forces with Yuldashev and together they formed a powerful force that eventually spread far beyond the Ferghana Valley.

The I.M.U.’s recently refocused interest on high value Israeli and U.S. targets is evidence of a strong readjustment compared to the organization’s old strategy. The tactical and symbolic targeting of the recent bombings draws evidence of fragmentation and political change within the group itself. Thus, this new shift may indicate a splintering of the I.M.U. in the midst of experiencing a tactical self-assessment in respect to both the expansion of its objectives as well as its own self-ascribed role within the context of a globalized “war on terrorism.”


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{ 1 comment }

Nathan August 19, 2004 at 11:23 am

Which is an unattributed reproduction of PINR’s analysis from the same day.

I’m not buying it. It assumes the IMU is to blame but doesn’t say why. I haven’t really seen too many other people going down that road. Last we’d heard from the IMU, they were insurgents for hire in Pakistan and Afghanistan. While it’s not beyond possibility that they’re doing terror for hire in Uzbekistan or were involved in training the guys behind the attacks, I find it much more likely that Uzbekistan is dealing with a new group.

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