Akramiya’s Turn to Terrorism

by Nathan Hamm on 8/9/2005 · 4 comments

Kabul Parpiyev’s interview with The Globe and Mail came as quite a shock. The Andijon uprising leader played into the hands of the Uzbek government by backing up its claims that those involved were all terrorists.

Writing for the Eurasia Daily Monitor, Igor Rotar discusses Akramiya and terrorism.

Parpiyev’s statement serves as yet more indirect proof that “Akramiya,” the group blamed for the Andijan uprising, was indeed a terrorist organization. However, there is still no definitive evidence whether Akramiya is a terrorist organization or not. Members of Akramiya have categorically denied that they embrace violence and insist that they are involved exclusively in social and moral activities.

If past descriptions of Akramiya were correct, adherents’ involvement in violence began with Andijon. If Parpiyev’s statements indicate that the group is embracing violence, it appears to be something new. But then again, because “membership” in Akramiya has never appeared to involve much more than having an affinity for a set of ideas, Parpiyev might not be leader of many, let alone the one who calls the shots for Akramiya. He may be another Bakhtiyor Rakhimov.

Rotar goes on,

The bloody events in Andijan serve as yet more proof that Akramiya, in fact, was a terrorist organization and a highly trained force at that. For example, the rebels managed to easily seize the second-most fortified penitentiary in the CIS and released several hundred inmates. They also handily routed a military unit. It is doubtful that amateurs could achieve such stunning results. Furthermore, in a calculated move, the insurgents placed a group of hostages, with their throats tied by wire, around the regional administration building. Women and children were placed behind them, and armed militants took up positions close to the building (Izvestiya, July 20).

Regardless of whether Akramiya was a terrorist organization in the past, Parpiyev’s statements indicates that the organization is ready to become one today. The Andijan events demonstrated that this organization already has sufficient forces to organize armed resistance to the authorities.

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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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Brian August 9, 2005 at 7:42 pm

I don’t think this article changes what we have already learned too much. What did people already know/suspect before the interview?
That there was an armed prison break and an army post was overrun.
The perpetrators of the armed uprising were friends/family of the alleged Akramiya members in prison.

This interview pretty much confirms that, which is neither surprising nor new.

What the Uzbek government claims, however, is that there were foreign Jihadists amongst the group, that the revolt was staged as an attempt to precipitate an Islamic uprising in the entire country (not over an unjust trial), and that government forces don’t have any innocent blood on their hands.

Parpiyev denies that there were foreign Jihadists, denies that this group is part of any global Islamic fundamentalist org (in fact he denies that he’s an extremist or fundamentalist), and says that the Uzbek government account of what happened in Andijan is incorrect.

What is disturbing, however is what may happen in the future. In many ways, though, it’s not surprising that he should consider violence after what’s happened. And although it’s unfortunate and disturbing that he uses the word “terrorism” I believe that he probably means “insurrection” (i.e. attacking government institutions, not civilians).

jonathan p August 9, 2005 at 11:28 pm

Brian, I couldn’t have said it any better. So I won’t even try.

Yes, I agree.

Brian August 11, 2005 at 5:20 pm

Well it seems that the Uzbek government isn’t taking kindly to Igor Rotar either:


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