Russian “Analyst”: IMU threatens Central Asian Presidents (and America lurks in their shadow).

by Bertrand on 9/15/2006 · 8 comments

Tohir Yuldash, leader of the al-Qaida linked terrorist group Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) has gone public with a threat to the leaders of Uzbekistan, Kyrgystan and Tajikistan, saying those leaders will be punished for the persecution of Muslims. The statement was published on the website, and has been picked up in the Western press.

“We demand that all regimes in the region stop persecuting, terrorizing and repressing Muslims,” the statement said, further stating that the presidents of the three countries will be “punished for the crimes they keep committing.”

The statement especially singled out Uzbekistan’s president, Islam Karimov (whom the IMU has reportedly “sentenced” to death). Referring to the killing of what most believe to be hundreds of innocent citizens in Andijan in May of 2005, Yuldash’s statement said, “we haven’t forgotten the Muslims shot dead in Andijan.”

So who is REALLY behind all of this? Well, according to one Vladimir Anokhin, in an “analysis” published on the Russian website, the United States is lurking behind and controlling the IMU. On the website, Mr. Anokhin is described as a “political scientist, Vice President of the Academy of Geopolitical Problems.”

Interestingly, the statement appears on the Russian language version of, but not on the English version. Ever since the events at Andijan, the Uzbek government has darkly hinted (and sometimes outright accused) the West – especially the U.S. – as having organized and financed the uprising at Andijan.

Mr. Anokhin writes that the “nearest partners of the IMU,” including Al-Qaida and the Taliban were “the children of the CIA, created for struggle against the Soviet Union,” and “have never left the sphere of influence of ‘silent Americans'” and are operated by them “to this day.” Anokhin says the degree of activity and aggression of (the IMU) has always been regulated by the “western special services.”

So now we know from this learned analysis that – notwithstanding the IMU is on the U.S. list of terrorist groups – and is being chased up one side of Afghanistan and down the other by U.S. troops – they are really a TOOL of the U.S., when it comes to trying to destabilize Central Asia.

Sometimes it seems this kind of goofiness will never end.

Subscribe to receive updates from Registan

This post was written by...

– author of 5 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

For information on reproducing this article, see our Terms of Use


Brian September 15, 2006 at 9:07 pm

In a related note, Ahmed Rashid, in a curent commentary claims that :

In the past six months up to 1,000 Uzbeks, escaping the crackdown in Uzbekistan after last year’s massacre by government security forces in the town of Andijan, have found sanctuary with al-Qaida in Waziristan.

This is the first I’ve heard of this, and this claim seems rather dubious to me. It would be a rather long journey, through at least 3 tough borders to get to a region where most Ubzeks have no cultural or linquistic connection. Al-Qaida beckons 1,000 Uzbeks and thus they come? Why not just stay in the ethnically Uzbek northern Afghanistan, or go to Russia like a normal Uzbek for that matter?

Bertrand September 16, 2006 at 2:47 am

First I’ve heard such a thing, as well. I agree this claim really stretches credulity, for the reasons Brian suggests, as well as others. Most of the IMU is thought to be hanging out in the Afghan/Pakistan border area (where Namangani was killed), as well as the Tajik/Uzbek border.

Mr. Rashid is a recognized, British-educated journalist and best-selling author, but I would be interested in knowing where he got this information, and if he has any proof.

Nick September 16, 2006 at 4:31 am

All sorts of colourful geopolitical interpretations can be applied to this region. As to why IMU militants are hiding out in Waziristan and not ethnically-related north Afghanistan, well, that’s Rashid Dostum’s patch, and since he’s reckoned to be in cahoots with the Uzbek government on all sorts of dodgy stuff, it’s probably the last place IMU militants would want to hang around.

Ahmed Rashid always seems to have the colourful stories, not least the one about how Russian security forces provided helicopter transport for the IMU during the ‘hot’ summer of 1999. That explained then how IMU was able to cross the complex and tricky regional borders.

I’ve also heard other Western experts assert that unnamed major powers were behind the uprising in Andijan, citing the level of training and access to weaponry the rebels appeared to have.

Sean Paul Kelley September 16, 2006 at 10:33 am

Of course you all realize that Juma Namangani is alive and well in the tribal areas waiting for the right moment to strike. I hear he’s even enlisted Elvis!

W. Shedd September 17, 2006 at 9:18 pm

What is Putin’s famous remark, regarding Andijan? “We know better than you, what happened at Andijan!”

At the same meeting “Karimov took a swipe at the United States, which was evicted from its military base in Uzbekistan after criticizing Andijan. ‘We are seeing very serious challenges and attempts by powers from outside the region to establish a presence,’ he said”. So even in May this year, 1 year after Andijan, there were hints of this spin on events.

Ataman Rakin September 18, 2006 at 1:54 am

“Of course you all realize that Juma Namangani is alive and well in the tribal areas waiting for the right moment to strike. I hear he’s even enlisted Elvis!”

Bollocks. In fact, Juma Namangani and Tahir Yuldash are both coordinating the whole thing from Michael Jackson’s mansion in Dubai. It’s all said here:

Talking about *official* bollocks: manmanman it seems there’s an auction in it lately!

Yet, as far as ‘faciliation’ and instrumentalisation of the IMU goes, there is something to say for that… about Russia in particular.

To start with, Russia (part of its establishment, Kremlin analysts and media that is) may now do its bery best try to cry wolf, it has a quite well-filled, recent history of proxy warfare and destabilisation itself: Transnistria; Abkhazia; South Ossetia; certain Tajik and Chechen factions during the wars there; …

But the IMU? Yes. Central Asia watchers will certainly remember the IMU attacks in Batken and Chatkal in 1999 and 2000.

First, there was the timing. The IMU first appeared in Batken within months (August 1999) after Uzbekistan left the Russian-dominated CIS Collective Defense Treaty (March 1999) and joined the pro-Western GUAM pact (, April 1999). Coincidence? Maybe. But worth considering.

Second, there is the sheer geography of the events. The IMU launched its Batken incursions from small bases in Tajikistan’s Tavildara area where they were covered by former UTO commanders from the area who hold government posts following the 1997 Tajik peace accord. Yet the IMU’s main foothold were bases in Northern Afghanistan, near Kunduz and Mazar-i-Sharif in particular. In other words, to carry out the 1990 and 2000 attacks they had to cross the Afghan-Tajik border which, at that time, still guarded by troops of the the Russian 201st Gachinskii MR division.

There was also the bizarre Russian airlift of 250-300 IMU fighters from Tavildara back to Kunduz in January 2001. Coincidence? Maybe. But worth considering.

Eric September 18, 2006 at 12:29 pm

Some great commentary.

Rashid’s track record is quite good and he was not the only one to report the IMU flight from Garm to Afghanistan.

And the timing of the 1999 Batken attacks WAS remarkable.

Also consider that the Russian 201st Motor Rifle Division has always had the airpower necessary to hit the IMU safe havens in the Talvadera Valley…but they never did.

I think its always in the Russians interest to keep Karimov a little scared of the “Islamic Contagion.” Russia has always wanted to have Tashkent be their surrogate in the region. The more insecure Karimov feels, the more he will need to turn to Russia.

With the US out of K2, Karimov was compelled to sign the Nov 05 bilateral agreement with Moscow.

On the issue of the 1000…I hadn’t heard that either. But Rashid is generally quite accurate.

Consider that Uzbek intel can likely operate effectively in Bishkek and with immpunity in Osh, anyone associated with the IMU or other Islamic resistance would feel the need to put some distance between them and Tashkent.

Rumors have abounded for years that the IMU has sleeper cells in the Fergana Valley. Perhaps things got to hot and they bugged out.

As for Afghanistan, Dostum has long been reported to be Karimov’s surrogate there.

David September 20, 2006 at 1:19 am

I don’t think it is terribly difficult to get from Uzbekistan to Afghanistan/Pakistan, with or without documents. There were rumours of people doing it pre-Andijan, although not much proof. I think all these borders are fairly porous, if you have the right connections/money. 1,000 sounds like a lot, though. If its true, its unlikely they were all paid up IMU members pre-Andijan. But a few months in Waziristan, and they will be shooting NATO forces with the best of them. Which is one of the problems with Karimov-style policies. They don’t solve the problem, just move it elsewhere in a more virulent form.

Previous post:

Next post: