Al Qaeda’s New Bodyguards

by Nathan Hamm on 9/27/2004 · 2 comments

CSM reports that Arab fighters have been ordered out of Pakistan and Afghanistan and that Uzbeks are taking over as Al Qaeda’s protectors.

Hundreds of Uzbek militants now form the bulwark of Al Qaeda’s defenses in South Waziristan. The Central Asians are filling the ranks left by Arab fighters who left the region for the Middle East on the orders of Mr. bin Laden months ago, say tribal sources.

“The Arab militants hardly participate in the [South Waziristan] fight as they have handed over control of the battlefield to these Uzbeks. This saves their ranks from losses,” says tribesman Mohammad Noor. “They are using the Uzbeks cleverly here. Many locals are now unhappy with the Uzbeks” for drawing attacks from Pakistani forces.

With Al Qaeda’s leadership focused on broad planning, command of the day-to-day fighting in the tribal region has been delegated to Qari Tahir Yaldashev…

n the past, “Al Qaeda never let militants from other regions enter the inner circle, which is purely of Arab origin. But Al Qaeda leadership is aware of the qualities of Uzbek militants and their women…. Both are known as staunch jihadis,” says Peshawar-based analyst, Mohammad Riaz.

The report mentions that Yo’ldosh (he dropped the Slavic ending a long time ago–and, Tatyana, there’s that word again!) draws fresh troops from the Meshud tribe.

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– author of 2991 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Nathan is the founder and Principal Analyst for Registan, which he launched in 2003. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uzbekistan 2000-2001 and received his MA in Central Asian Studies from the University of Washington in 2007. Since 2007, he has worked full-time as an analyst, consulting with private and government clients on Central Asian affairs, specializing in how socio-cultural and political factors shape risks and opportunities and how organizations can adjust their strategic and operational plans to account for these variables. More information on Registan's services can be found here, and Nathan can be contacted via Twitter or email.

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TM Lutas September 28, 2004 at 11:31 am

So what do the Uzbek’s get out of this deal?

Nathan September 28, 2004 at 11:52 am

The article suggests they have nowehere to go. That’s not entirely true–Uzbekistan has offered amnesty to some. I think they’re just doing it because they can. I don’t know how reputation works in the Jihadi world, but Yo’ldosh’s Uzbeks seem to be building up a good one lately.

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