Caucasus Emirate Central Asia Chechnya Dagestan Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan Islamism Jihadism North Caucasus Putin Russia

Islam, Islamism and Politics in Eurasia Report 31

Photo russian_mosque

December 17, 2010

Edited and Written by Gordon M. Hahn




CENTRAL ASIA by Yelena Altman


* IIPER is written and edited by Dr. Gordon M. Hahn unless otherwise noted.  Research assistance is provided by Leonid Naboishchikov, Daniel Painter, Seth Gray, and Daria Ushakova.



As reported in IPPER, No. 30, on November 23rd, eleven suspects were arrested in Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Morocco, and Saudi Arabia on suspicion of planning terrorist attacks in Belgium, recruiting “jihadist candidates” and financing the Caucasus Emirate.  It will be recalled that Europe has been on high alert for weeks over increased chatter and intelligence indicating possible holiday season terrorist attacks; something which received more confirmation after the Iraqis interrogated a recently detained Al Qa`ida (AQ) operative.  Two of those detained in the Belgium-based plot were reported to be Russian nationals, and news agencies reported they were ethnic Chechens and/or from Chechnya.  One of the Russian nationals was a 31-year-old “Chechen” arrested in Aachen, Germany and “was the target of a European arrest warrant issued by Belgium”…“suspected of having recruited young people to fight in Chechnya.”[1]

The suspects were said to have been using the jihadi website ‘Ansar al-Mujahideen’ in carrying out their activity.[2]  As IIPER No. 21 reported, there are ties between the CE and Ansar al-Mujahidin website.  On July 20th, the CE jihadi network and its substructure in the Kabardino-Balkaria and Karachai-Cherkessia, the so-called United Vilaiyat of Kabardia, Balkaria and Karachai (OVKBK), strengthened their ties with the global jihadi revolutionary movement when it announced its co-sponsorship of a joint internet project – the very same Ansar al-Mujahidin website ([3]  The website’s announcement published on the OVKBK’s website quotes the American-born and anti-American Yemeni-based jihadist ideologist and Al-Qa`ida recruiter, Anwar al-Awlaki, who continues to maintain a high profile on CE sites (See, for example, IIPER, No. 20).

Belgian police said the cell was based in Antwerp, where some of the arrests were made.  The cell had connections with an Islamic Center and had been under investigation since at least 2009.  The day after the first 11 arrests were made, another fifteen suspects were detained across Brussels in an apparently separate case.[4]  The two arrested ‘Chechens’ apparently were involved both in the recruiting and financing for the CE and the planning of attacks in Belgium.  The prosecutor’s statement said all detainees were involved in both recruiting and financing for the CE and in planning attacks in Belgium.  The Chechens and all the suspects held dual citizenship and belonged to a group called ‘Shariah4Belguim.’[5]

Later reports indicated the first group taken into custody for planning the Belgian attack and recruiting for and funding the CE was made up primarily if not exclusively of Moroccans and Chechens, including six Belgian citizens of Moroccan descent caught in Antwerp, three Belgian citizens of Moroccan origin arrested in the Netherlands, and two individuals, likely the Chechens, apprehended in the German city of Aachen near the Belgian border. The plot was apparently in its early stages, as the terrorism alert level in Belgium was never raised after the arrests and remains at level 2 out of 5.[6]

In an incident related to the first wave of arrests in Belgium, a third Chechen has now been arrested on December 1st at Vienna’s Schwechat airport on the basis of one of nine international arrest warrants issued by the Belgian government.[7]  The Austrians reported on December 4th that the detainee was “a supporter of Doku Umarov” and was detained upon his return from the hajj to Mecca in connection with an international plot to attack “a NATO facility in Belgium.”[8]  Identified in one report as 32-year old Aslambek I., this third detainee reportedly lived in the small Austrian town of Neunkirchen (population 12,000) with this family and was planning to bomb a train carrying NATO troops.  He reportedly lost both his hands in a grenade attack in Chechnya.  He also had been arrested in Sweden for smuggling weapons, was released, and then left for Mecca.  Local police are warning residents to keep an eye out for co-conspirators, since Aslambek I. could hardly have carried out an attack on his own, given his invalid status.[9]

According to Russia’s Nezavisimaya gazeta, Belgium has the largest Chechen diaspora in Europe with 17,000-25,000 out of a population of ten million, but these figures reportedly include only those Chechens with temporary residence and not those who arrived during the 1990s and now have permanent residence status.  Chechens have frequently been involved in mass fights in night clubs in Belgium, and there have been previous arrests of Chechens on suspicion of participating in terrorism plots.[10]

It should be recalled – as reported in IIPER No. 20 – that in July, French police and security carried out a counter-terrorism operation arresting five Chechens, three men aged 21-36 and two women, in several districts across the city of Le Mans.  Police confiscated paper documents, computer equipment, and telephones were confiscated.  One of the three males was described as an imam and father of five.  French counter-terrorism was tipped off by Russian security after they arrested a Chechen citizen in Moscow in possession of weapons, explosives, plans for making bombs, and a residence permit issued by France’s Prefecture de la Sarthe.  The three males were arraigned on July 9th and indicted for “criminal association in relation with a terrorist enterprise.”[11]

It remains unclear whether this possibly CE-sponsored plot was part of the reported Al Qa`ida plot to carry out a series of Christmas terrorist attacks in the U.S., U.K., and Europe, that also probably included the recent failed attack in Stockholm, Sweden.[12]  As developments emerge, IIPER will report on Belgian plot, perhaps the second confirmed case of Caucasus Emirate operatives undertaking an attempt to carry out terrorist attacks in Europe.




‘Khasan’ Israpil Velidzhanov, who replaced Seifullah Gubdenskii (born Magomedali Vagabov) as amir of the CE’s Dagestan Vilaiyat (DV) after security forces killed Gubdenskii in August, warned that a “Riyadus Salikhin jamaat” or “Riyadus Salikhin group” subordinated to him under the DV will “continue to inflict horrors” (prodolzhit nanosit’ uzhasy) on Russian territory.  Velidzhanov was alluding apparently to past attacks such as the March 2010 Moscow subway twin suicide bombings that killed 40 and wounded more than 100 people.[13]

As IIPER reported, those operations were carried out by two Dagestani female suicide bombers or shakhidki, who were wives of leading Dagestani amirs.  Indeed, one of those amirs was Umalat Magomedov (aka Al-Bara) who was Velidzhanov’s and Gubdenskii’s predecessor as amir of the DV and was killed by Russian security forces on 31 December 2009.  Velidzhanov’s claim that a Riyadus Salikhin Jamaat/Group is now subordinated to him suggests that the larger Riyadus Salikhin Martyrs Battalion (RSMB), founded by Basaev and Khattab in the early 2000s and revived by CE amir Doku ‘Abu Usman’ Umarov in spring 2009, may have been subordinated or at least closely tied to Gubdenskii and even Al-Bara as well.  Previously, I suggested that both the interpretation of a Dagestani connection and the interpretation that fomer Ingushetia-based mujahed Sheikh Said Abu Saad Buryatskii was the RSMB’s amir or chief recruiter have some validity.

However, Velidzhanov identified another previously unknown mujahed participating in the video and the Shura, one Essa, as head of what the amir called the “Riyadus Salikhin Jamaat” not the the Riyadus Salikhin Martyrs’ Battalion.[14]  This might indicate that each vilaiyat will now have its own RSMB unit or jamaat.  It seems less likely that the combination of Buryatskii’s death in March and the split within the Nokchicho in August has forced a rebasing of the RSMB to Dagestan.  Such an interpretation seems even less viable when one considers the implausability that the DV amir would be appointing the amir of the prestigious RSMB at all, not to mention appointing an unknown, such as Essa, as its leader.  Such authority would belong to CE amir Umarov alone.

Regardless, Velidzhanov’s threat suggests that a major suicide operation may be in the works for the upcoming Russian holiday season.  At the peak of last year’s holidays, New Year’s Eve, DV amir Al-Bara was killed by Russian forces, as noted earlier.

Velidzhanov and the amirs also renewed their bayats or loyalty oaths to Umarov in response to the latter’s request that all amirs do so in a recent statement and video in connection with the recent split within the CE’s Nokchicho (Chechnya) Vilaiyat covered in previous issues of IIPER.  Velidzhanov spoke in a video coming from a Shura of leading DV amirs held on October 19th, sitting along with five other amirs, including that of the Azerbaijan jamaat identified as Abdullah.[15]  We have noted in previous IIPERs the existence of such a jamaat and underscored the fact that Velidzhanov was formerly the amir of the DV’s Southern Sector that borders Azerbaidzhan.  There have been occasional CE mujahedin incursions into Azerbaidzhan and battles between Azeri mujahedin and security forces over the years.  The Azerbaidzhan jamaat’s seemingly rising profile could indicate that the CE and/or DV will be devoting more effort to spreading the jihad south into the Transcaucasus.

Velidzhanov also announced a reshuffling of cadres necesitated by Seifullah Gubdenskii’s death in August, including the appointment of two DV naibs (deputies of the amir), both of whom appeared in the video.  The Shura saw the appointment of Khasan as Velidzhanov’s first naib in addition to his retaining his previous post as amir of the Northern Sector, a sector never before mentioned in either CE or Russian sources.  Salikh was appointed Veildzhanov’s second naib while retaining his post as amir of the Central Sector.[16]  Salikh had been previously identified in June as amir of the Gubden Jamaat; the aforementioned Seifullah Gubdenskii traveled a career path from Gubden’s amir to the Central Sector’s amir to the DV’s amir.  The fact that the Northern Sector’s amir Khasan was designated as first naib suggests DV amir Velidzhanov, who hails from the Southern Sector, is trying to rotate the position of amir among the three main DV sectors: Northern, Central and Southern.  Also identified by Velidzhanov in the video was Abu Mukhammad Pushtun.  He was identified in a video from a Shura of the DV’s Central Sector in June as amir of the Temirkhan-Shurin Jamaat, as noted in a previous IIPER.[17]

Velidzhanov noted that a number of amirs, mentioning by name amirs Habib (Akhmed Abdulkerimov), amir of Tsumadin, Botlikh, and Tsuntin districts, as well as amir Al-Bara (a different Al-Bara from the abovementioned late DV amir Umalat Magomedov) were unable to attend the Shura for a variety of reasons.  He announced that Al-Bara was being appointed amir of a newly combined Makhachkala-Kaspiisk Sector, that the DV’s special operational groups were no longer needed, and that the DV’s special operational group along and its amir Daud were now subordinated to Al-Bara and the Makhachkala-Kaspiisk Sector.  Finally, Velidzhanov announced the appointment of one Abu Yasir as Shariah Court qadi of the Southern Sector.[18]

Thus, the leadership and organizational structure of the DV and its history looks as follows:



Vali/Amir – ‘Hasan’ Israpil Velidzhanov, appointed 30 August 2010 (last cited 1 December 2010).

Predecessors – Seifullah Gubdenskii, born Magomedali Vagapov (cited 15 July 2010, killed 21 August 2010); Rasul (acting amir), cited 10 June 2010 (; Umalat Magomedov (aka Al-Bara), (appointed April 2009, killed 31 December 2009) Nabi Mediddinov (cited 14 August 2009); Omar Sheyhullaev (killed 10 March 2009); Ilgar Mollachiev (aka Mauz), killed 5 February 2009; Malachieva Elgar (killed in November 2008); Abdul Majid (killed 1 October 2007); (Dagestan Front Amir) Rappani Khalilov (killed 17 September 2007); (Congress/United Jamaat of the Peoples of Chechnya and Dagestan Amir) Rappani Khalilov; Bagautdin Magomedov (fled abroad in early 2000s).


First Naib – Khasan, appointed 19 October 2010 (cited 1 December 2010).  Predecessors – ‘Hasan’ Israpil Velidzhanov; Zakir Navruzova (cited September 2009); Abduraham  Zakatalsky (Nabi Nabiev), killed 17 September 2007; Shamil Abidov.


Second Naib – Salikh, appointed 19 October 2010 (cited 1 December 2010).


Shariah Court Qadi – unknown; Predecessors – Ali Abu Mukhammad ad-Dagistani (appointed CE Supreme Qadi, 7 October 2010); Khalid (Abu Usama?), cited 26 May 2010, killed September 2010; Daud (Dzhabrailov?), killed as cited on 26 May 2010.



  • Riyadus Salikhin Jamaat/Group: Amir – Essa (cited 1 December 2010).
  • Shariat Jamaat, Gimri (; successor to the Ruslan Makasharipov’s Jannat Jamaat destroyed January 2005): Amir – unknown.  Predecessors – Ibrahim Gadhzidadaev (killed 12 September 2010); Umalat Magomedov (aka Al-Bara), February-April 2009; Shamil Gasanov (cited 10 January 2007); Murad Lakhiyalov (killed 2006); Ruslan Makasharipov (killed July 2005).
  • Shamilkala(Makhachkala)-Kaspiisk Sector: Amir – Al-Bara, cited 1 December 2010.  Predecessors – Marat Kurbanov (killed January 9, 2010); Gadhzimurad Kamalutdinov? (cited 8 October 2009); Omar Ramazanov (killed June 12, 2009).
  • Jamaat Tavakkul’: Amir – Khalid (cited 16 June 2010).
    • Naib – Khattab (cited 16 June 2010).
  • Makhachkala-based group: Amir – Khamza (cited 7 June 2010).
    • Former “Special Operational Group”: Amir – Daud (cited 1 December 2010).
    • Makhachkala-based jamaat: Amir – Gadhzimurad Kamalutdinov (cited 8 October 2009).
    • Makhachkala-based jamaat: amir – Madrid Begov, killed January 2010.
  • Khasavyurt Sector: Amir – unknown;  Predecessors – Khasan Daniyalov  (aka Khasan Bairam-Aulskii, killed August 2010; Ismail Yangizbiev, killed 2010.
  • Kizilyurt Sector – unknown.  Predecessors – Shamil Magomednabiev, killed 12 September 2010.
  • Central Sector (cited 3 May 2010): Amir – Salikh (cited 1 December 2010).  Predecessors: Seifullah Gubdenskii, born Magomedali Vagapov (cited 5 July 2010).

Central Sector Qadi – Sheikh Malik Temir-Khan-Shurinskii (cited 7 June 2010).

    • Gubden Jamaat: Amir – Salikh (cited 7 June 2010).  Predecessors – Seifullah Gubdenskii, born Magomedali Vagapov.

Naib – Anas (cited 7 June 2010).

      • Karabudakhkent and Sergokalinsk (aka Shuabkalin) Jamaat: Amir – Abdusalam (from Turkey), cited 7 June, 10 September 2010.  Predecessors – Seifullah Gubdenskii (born Magomedali Vagapov).
    • Kadar Jamaat, Karamakhi: Amir – Abu Mukhammad al-Kadari (cited 5 July 2010).  Predecessors – Dzhamaludin Dzhavatov, aka Khalif, killed 25 June 2010.
    • Kumtarkalin jamaat: Amir – Akhmad (cited 7 June 2010).
    • Levashin jamaat: Amir – Rabbani (cited June 2010).
    • Kaspiisk jamaat (folded into Makhachkala Sector in October 2010): Amir – Al-Bara (cited 7 June 2010).
    • TemirkhanShurin Jamaat: Amir – Abu Mukhammad Pushtun (cited 7 June 2010).

Naib – Usman (cited 7 June 2010).

      • ‘Seifullah’ Unit: Amir – Abu Mukhammad Pushtun (cited June 2010).
    • Buinaksk Jamaat: Amir –  Mutashev.
    • One of the Mountain groups (Gornaya gruppa): Amir – Askhab (cited 7 June 2010).
    • Tsumadin, Botlikh, and Tsuntin districts (cited 22 September 2010): Amir – ‘Adam’ Akhmed Abdulkerimov (aka Khabib), killed in 6 December 2010).
    • Botlikh Jamaat (cited 7 June 2010): Amir – unknown.
    • Azerbaijan Jamaat (cited 7 June 2010): Amir – Abdullah (cited 1 December 2010).
  • Northern Sector: Amir – Khasan (cited 1 December 2010)
  • Southern Sector: Amir – Unknown.  Predecessors – ‘Hasan’ Israpil Velidzhanov.

Qadi – Abu Yasir, appointed 19 October 2010 (cited 1 December 2010).

    • Derbent Jamaat: Amir – unknown.
  •  “Sury-Su” Nogai Jamaat (Untsukul, Karabudakhkent, and other Nogai-populated regions in Dagestan, last cited 2006): Amir – unknown.  Predecessors: Tagir Bataev (killed 21 March 2007).
  • Mujahideen Unit  ‘Seyfullah’: Amir – Abdulgafar (cited 22 January 2008).
  • Jamaat ‘Guraba’, website –, cited 4 October 2010 (–lr-.html).




CE website Kavkaz tsentr confirmed the death in battle of former Kizlyar mosque imam, Abdulmumin Abdulmuminov.  He was killed in Kislyar along with another mujahed in a shootout with security forces on November 28th.[19]  Abdulmuminov was the imam of a mosque in the Dagestan town of Kizlyar until May of this year when he defected to the jihadists.  Several of his speeches and declarations had been posted on Kavkaz tsentr.  One speech “Appeal of Dagestan’s Mujahedin to All (Infidels and Apostates)” [Obsrashchenie modzhakhedov Dagestana k vsem tagutami (kafirami i murtadami)] is dated from September 2010 and is archived from the CE’s television production outfit Kavkaz TV at  Another twenty-minute lecture was posted as an inset video without a URL on Kavkaz tsentr and the website of the CE’s Dagestan Vilaiyat ‘Jamaat Shariat’ in December after his martyrdom and was titled “Yasnoe raz’yasnenie dlya somnevayushchikhsya” (A Clear Explanation for Those Who Doubt).  Seated before the global jihad’s black flag, a Kalashnikov rifle and a grenade launcher, Abdulmuminov touches upon themes such as: Palestine, attacks on Muslims, and the obligation of jihad.  Another Abdulmuminov video was posted recently in which he speaks about why Allah permits the killing of Muslims.[20]

The veteran Dagestani mujahed and amir ‘Adam’ Akhmed Abdulkerimov (aka Khabib) was killed on December 6th.  The DV’s website carried a brief obituary.  Adam began fighting in Chechnya in 1996, was wounded in the invasion of Dagestan in 1999 that kicked off the second Chechen war, leading the mujahedin of Tsumadin.  He then left for the joint foreign-Caucasus jihadis’ base in Pankisi Gorge in Georgia where he was received medical treatment.  In the 2000s Adam is said to have led a group of mujahedin who eliminated the “most important and odious enemies of Allah in Dagestan.”  He also ran training for newly recruited fighters.  Amir Adam authored a book and, along with foreign mujahed and likely AQ operative Seif Islam, published a newspaper for the Caucasus mujahedin titled ‘Imarat Kavkaz’ (Caucasus Emirate).  The obituary closes: “Let Allah accept your good deed, your Jihad and your martyrdom on His path.  And let Allah lead you to the Janaat-ul-Fardain Gardens!!!  And let Allah make all of your descendants be followers of Jihad and unite you in the afterlife!”[21]




The website of the Dagestan Vilaiyat (DV),, recently posted one of many CE videos showing one of the mujahedin’s attacks.  This one films the planning for, and execution of an attack on “the central base of the infidel FSB in a mountain district,” perhaps meaning the Buinask mountain troops’ base.  Included in the attack is a large explosion and fire of some large object and explosion of the top of a lookout tower on the base.  The edited, five-minute video also shows an intense and prolonged exchange of fire and the mujahedin returning to their base.  The attack is said to have been carried out by the DV’s Dzhundallakh and Ansaru Sunna groups.[22]




A jihadist group said by an MVD spokeswoman to be likely part of Hizb ut-Tahrir Islami was uncovered and destroyed in Tatarstan in late November.  FSB and MVD troops descended on Nurlat District in a special counter-terrorist operation against three armed Islamists, who were locked themselves in a house and killed in a shootout.  Photographs of the shootout’s aftermath are available.[23]  The operation was led by Tatarstan MVD chief Asgat Safarov.[24]  The three mujahedin were identified as 34-year old Ruslan Spiridonov, 30-year old Albert Khusnutdinov, and 26-year old Almaz Davletshin.  All were previously on the federal wanted list.  Spiridonov was wanted for attempting to blow up a police car in Chistopol on November 11th.  On November 24th he fired on a hunter who recognized him in a forest in Nurlat.  On the morning of November 25th over 500 police and FSB forces arrived in Nurlat and tracked down the three terrorists in an abandoned house near the village of Staroe Al’metevo where they were killed.[25]  The CE website Kavkaz tsentr reported that “a diversionary group of the mujahedin of Tatarstan engaged (its) first battle” in covering the event, adding that the group had been involved in a series of clashes over several weeks including one on November 23rd.[26]  However, it remains unclear whether the apparent Tatar jihadi group was at all connected with the CE.



The following is but a small sampling of the global jihadi-oriented ideological tracts that have appeared in recent weeks on CE-affiliated sites.

Kavkaz tsentr posted an announcement and summary of the second issue of Al-Qa`ida’s English-language journal Inspire.[27]

The website of the CE’s United Vilaiyat of Kabardia, Balkaria and Karachai (OVKBK),, posted the third installment of Anwar Al-Awlaki’s “Akhira” (Judgement Day).[28]

The website of the CE’s Dagestan Vilaiyat (DV), ‘Jamaat Shariat’, posted an excerpt from a work by the infamous Pakistani Islamist and founder of Jamaat-e-Islami, Syed Abul Ala Maududi, titled by Jamaat Shariat as “Obedience and Ignorance.”[29]

The OVKBK’s website,, posted an excerpt from the book The Fruits of Jihad by its patron Jordanian sheikh and AQ ideologist Abu Muhammad Asim Al-Maqdisi.  The excerpt is titled “Caution, Secrecy, and Concealment: The Balance Between Neglect and Paranoia.”[30] also posted a question-and-answer session with the Saudi Arabian Sheikh Muhammad Salih al-Munajid titled “The Infidel and His Types” (Kufr i ego Vidy).  Munajid is most famous in the West for his fatwa condemning Mickey Mouse.  The piece was translated into Russian from Arabic by the CE-affiliated website IslamUmma.  Al-Munajid discusses three types of infidel: (1) infidel of denial, the infidel of denial due to arrogance, and the infidel-hypocrite.  He concludes asking Allah to protect Muslims from the infidels.[31]

The G’alg’aiche Vialiyat (Ingush Republic) mujahedin’s website,, posted a translation by Abdullah Abu Daud into Russian from Arabic of an article or fatwa by the London-based Syrian sheikh Abdu-l-munim Mustafa Halim Abu Basyr At-Tartusi titled “The Causes of Failures of Several Jihadi Movements.”  There is a link to the original Arabic version.[32]  Tartusi has condemned terrorism, such as the July 2005 London bombings, but he has also supported more targeted jihadi efforts around the world.  The OVKBK’s posted a biography of Tartusi on November 19th.[33]

The CE’s main website, Kavkaz tsentr, carried an article from Sunna Online addressing the question whether an Islamic ruler somewhere in the world.  The article frequently cites the leading medieval source of the contemporary jihadi ideology Ibn Taimiya as well as many other Middle Eastern Islamic scholars.[34]




By Yelena Altman

Twenty Tajik nationals were arrested by the Federal Security Service (FSB) in Moscow under suspicion of membership in the extremist organization Hizb ut-Tahrir Islami.  A homemade bomb, photos of the Moscow transportation system and literature allegedly were found.  Among those detained, Akmal Ghafurov and Alisher Otajonzoda, are reported to be the leaders of HTI’s Moscow cell recruiting among the Tajik migrant workers.  They and several others face charges of illegal storage of explosives.  Several were reported to have been deported from Russia.[35]




A classified cable “Chechnya: The Once and Future War” sent from U.S. Ambassador in Moscow, William J. Burns, to the State Department in May 2006 reported the growing influence of radical Islamism across the North Caucasus.  It also provides a detail assessment of the situation in Chechnya and of the Ramzan Kadyrov regime.[36]



By Yelena Altman



Violence in Tajikistan began in late August after a group of prisoners escaped from a top-security prison in the capital city of Dushanbe and moved east into the Rasht Valley where it has been generalized since.  Officials have been trying to determine which groups have been responsible for the violence.  Some attribute it to the IMU (Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan).  Others believe it was a previously unknown group calling itself Jamaat Ansarullah in Tajikistan, with apparent ties to the North Caucasus.[37] Authorities are working on stabilizing and containing the mujahedin, but the IMU has gone through a transformation in Pakistan’s Waziristan region. Although it began by trying to Islamize the Uzbek government, it now has expansive goals and has revived attacks in South and Central Asia.  IMU militants or its offshoots, Islamic Jihad Union (IJU) and the Taliban of Central Asia have been linked to Tajikistan attacks and violence in the Rasht Valley.[38]  Although it is as yet unclear which organization(s) stand behind these attacks, it is certain that jihadists have returned to Tajikistan in somewhat greater – though still small numbers – than in recent years.

The violence and arrests that broke out in August and continued through November stretched into December.  On December 2nd and 3rd, alleged IMU and Hizb ut-Tahrir members “30-year-old Istaravshan resident known as Kholid” and “56-year-old Khudzhand resident and a leader of Hizb ut-Tahrir with a criminal record” were arrested in Sughd Oblast.[39]  Another Tajik citizen, Abdulvosit Latipov, “allegedly involved in terrorist activities was arrested in Russia’s Chelyabinsk Oblast.”  He had been living in Russia under another name since 2004.[40]  Latipov is an internationally wanted Tajikistani terrorist charged with killing over 50 people. [41]  On December 8th, two more “suspected IMU members were detained.”[42]

According to Tajikistani news, a video was placed on the internet on November 10 showing 10 militants in the mountains of the Rasht Valley. The 3.5 minute video was taken on a mobile phone and shows mujahedin under the command of Alovuddin Dovlatov (aka Ali Bedaki) in November of 2010.[43]  Although there is no other evidence verifying that this was indeed Dovlatov, this appears to confirm Tajik authorities’ claims that Dovlatov and perhaps his former UTO colleague, ‘Belgi’ Mirzokhudzha Akhmadov, have indeed returned to Mullo Abdullo’s fold under a resuscitated IMU, as discussed in IIPER, No. 30.

It appears that the IMU is training and recruiting along the Afghan border and is now able to strike Tajikistan.  Others assert they have capacity to strike neighboring Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan as well.[44]  Certainly the Taliban’s control of 4 of 7 districts in Afghanistan’s northern province of Kunduz would facilitate the building of such capacity for its Central Asian allies, the IMU and IJU.  As others assert, and we concur, AQ and the Taliban, along with their IMU and IJU allies, can access farther north to Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, and Russia.[45]


Along with general Islamization, radical Islamization in Kyrgyzstan appears to be on the rise. Whether it is because the government is failing to provide social assistance to the people or not, terrorism is on the rise.  On November 22, an envoy of Hizb ut-Tahrir Islami (HTI) was detained in Kyrgyzstan. HTI pursues the establishment of a global caliphate by peaceful means.  Police found “books, journals, brochures and digital media with materials promoting the party’s ideas in Russian, Kyrgyz and Uzbek languages. It was reported that HTI is “occupying Kyrgyzstan” and its goal was to penetrate into the government and to exclude the party from the list of the illegal organizations.  HTI is reported to have as many as 20,000 and perhaps as many as 100,000 supporters and is reportedly recruiting state officials and businessmen.[46]

HTI in Kyrgyzstan is following missionary tactics by providing social needs for the people that the authorities are increasingly unable to provide given the growing political and social instability under a weak or even failing state.  Radical Islamization that is occurring in Kyrgyzstan is infiltrating government, security forces, as well as in grassroots society.[47]  There have been secret terrorist training camps or shelters discovered in the country. The mujahidin of Tajikistan could have crossed in Kyrgyzstan after the Tajik government pulled out of the Rasht Valley.[48]                                                                                                  


According to the Tajikistani Interior Ministry’s Department for the Fight against Extremism and Terrorism, there are two groups of extremists who are being imprisoned in the country: (1) those who have past offenses and were charged with having weapons as well as Islamist/Jihadist literature and (2) teens with literature intended to incite inter-communal antagonism.  Typically, these teens are in search of income and are recruited to pass out leaflets but they do not always know that organizations like Hizb ut-Tahrir Islami are on the list of terrorist organizations.  Often, the teens, who only have knowledge of the Tajik language, pass out leaflets written in Arabic and Russian and do not understand the leaflet’s contents.  Some who say they have repented are released from prison only to commit the same crimes, but there is no system for monitoring the activities of the released or free institutions available for teenagers besides the mosque.[49]




Author and editor of IIPER, Prof. Gordon M. Hahn, spoke at the “The Northern Caucasus: Russia’s Tinderbox” held at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C. on November 30-December 1, 2010.  Prof. Hahn spoke along with Prof. Akhmet Yarlykapov of the Russian Academy of Sciences Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, comprising a panel on “The Rise of Islam in the North Caucasus.”


The American Foreign policy Council has recently published on the worldwide web its exhaustive World Almanac of Islamism.  The Almanac contains detailed overviews of all of the world’s Islamist and jihadist groups.  The Almanac is available at  Gordon M. Hahn, wrote the chapter “Russia” for the World Almanac of Islamism which is available at


The Monterey Institute for International Studies has recently opted to combine its very popular and highly regarded M.A. International Policy Studies degree specializations in Terrorism Studies and Nonproliferation Studies into a combined new M.A. Program in Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies, a program that will now have an even higher profile and greater institutional autonomy. Apart from combining two of the Institute’s strongest academic programs, this will ensure that students take the introductory courses in both subjects but will also allow them to concentrate primarily on either terrorism or nonproliferation (or, if they prefer, to focus on both subjects equally, e.g., on CBRN terrorism). As you may already know, our students have an exceptionally high success rate getting jobs in these specialized fields.

The Institute is also introducing a new one-semester (or one-year) Certificate in Terrorism Studies for professionals or students who wish to obtain specialized academic training in this subject without spending an entire two years in residence. Prospective students can be admitted into this Certificate Program without meeting the somewhat stringent language requirements that regular students must meet.

If you know of any students or professionals who might find this new program of particular interest, or who wish to obtain outstanding preparation for careers in these fields, or who wish to obtain further specialized training before going on to obtain a doctorate, it would be very much appreciated if let them know about our new program.



[1] Stephen Castle, “Police Arrest Suspects in Plot Against Belgium,” New York Times, 23 November 2010,; Philippe Siuberski,Police arrest 11 over Belgium ‘terror plot’,” Agence France Presse, 23 November 2010,; and Philippe Siuberski, “Belgium arrests 26 in raids against terror,” NineMSN, 24 November 2010, 06:13,

[2] Stephen Castle, “Police Arrest Suspects in Plot Against Belgium,” New York Times, 23 November 2010,; Philippe Siuberski,Police arrest 11 over Belgium ‘terror plot’,” Agence France Presse, 23 November 2010,; and Philippe Siuberski, “Belgium arrests 26 in raids against terror,” NineMSN, 24 November 2010, 06:13,

[3] “V global’noi seti interneta otkrylsya novyi forum v podderzhku Dzhikhada,” Islamdin, 20 July 2010, 16:18,

[4] Stephen Castle, “Police Arrest Suspects in Plot Against Belgium,” New York Times, 23 November 2010,; Philippe Siuberski,Police arrest 11 over Belgium ‘terror plot’,” Agence France Presse, 23 November 2010,; and Philippe Siuberski, “Belgium arrests 26 in raids against terror,” NineMSN, 24 November 2010, 06:13,

[5] Valentina Pop, “Chechen Terror Suspects Busted in Belgian Raid,” EU Observer, 24 November 2010, 09:29, and Olesya Khantsevich, “Chechenskoe podpol’e raskryto v Belgii,” Nezavsismaya gazeta, 25 November 2010,

[6] Khantsevich, “Chechenskoe podpol’e raskryto v Belgii.”

[7] “Austria arrests Chechen fugitive in Belgium plot,” AP, 4 December 2010, 8:51:46,

[8] “Austrian police arrest Chechen over possible jihad attack on Belgian NATO facility,” Jihad Watch, 4 December 2010, and “Austrian police hold Chechen in Belgian attack probe,” Expatica, 4 December 2010, citing “Austrian police hold Chechen in Belgian attack probe,” Agence France Press, 4 December 2010.

[9] “Suspected Terrorist: A Ghost in Neunkirchen,” Die Presse, 5 December 2010, 18:19,

[10] Khantsevich, “Chechenskoe podpol’e raskryto v Belgii.”

[11] “Double anti-terrorist operation in Le Mans,” Lemans Maville, 5 July 2010,

[12] “Qaeda Plans US, UK Christmas Attacks: Iraq Official,” Reuters, 16 December 2010, 3:35,

[13] “Shura amirov Dagestana. Bayat Amira Dagestana Khasana, 19 October 2010,”, 1 December 2010, and Kavkaz tsentr, 1 December 2010,, last accessed 3 December 2010.

[14] “Shura amirov Dagestana. Bayat Amira Dagestana Khasana, 19 October 2010.”

[15] “Shura amirov Dagestana. Bayat Amira Dagestana Khasana, 19 October 2010.”

[16] “Shura amirov Dagestana. Bayat Amira Dagestana Khasana, 19 October 2010.”

[17] “Shura amirov Dagestana. Bayat Amira Dagestana Khasana, 19 October 2010.”

[18] “Shura amirov Dagestana. Bayat Amira Dagestana Khasana, 19 October 2010.”

[19] “Vilaiyat Dagestan: V Kizlyarskom raione proizoshol boi,  Soobshchaetsya o shakhade Adulmumin Abdulmuminov,” Kavkaz tsentr, 28 November 2010, 15:56,

[20] “Vilaiayat Dagestan – Sheikh Abdulmu’min (Shakhid inshallakh): Pochemu Allakh Dopuskaet Gibel’ Musul’man,” Jamaat Shariat, 13 December 2010, 16:16,

[21] Abu Hussein, “Vospominanii ob amire Adame (khabib) (Akhmed Abdulkerimov),”, 9 December 2010, 09:20,

[22] “Vilaiyat Dagestan: Ataka mudzhakhidov grupp ‘Dzhundallakh’ and ‘Ansaru Sunna’ tsentral’noi bazy kafirov FSB,”, 13 December 2010, 14:37,–qq-q-q.html.

[23] “Likvidirovannnyie v Tatarstane terroristy byli islamistami,”, 25 November 2010, 14:48,

[24] “V likvidatsii islamistckoi vooruzhennoi gruppy v tatarstane uchastvovala FSB,”, 25 November 2010, 16:59,;

[25] “Sotrudnikami militsii v Nurlatskom raione likvidirovany troe vooruzhennykh prestupnikov,”, 25 November 2010, 14:14,

[26] “Ozhestochennoi boi v tatarstane: Troe modzhakhedov stali Shakhidami (inshaallakh),” Kavkaz tsentr, 25 November 2010, 18:16,

[27] “V internete rasprostranen vtoroi nomer zhurnala ‘Al-Kaidy’ Inspire (Vdokhnovenie), Kavkaz tsentr, 12 October 2010, 12:07,

[28] Sheikh Mudzhakhid Anuar al’ Aulyaki (Anwar Al-Awlaki), “Akhira – Chast’ 3,”, 5 December 2010, 14:53,

[29] “Pokornost’ i nevezhestvo,” Jamaat Shariat, 25 September 2010, 16:59,

[30] Abu Mukhammad Asim Al-Makdisi, “Predostorozhnost’, sekretnost’ i utaivanie: balans mezhdu prenebrezhenie i paranoiei,”, 6 October 2010, 8:38,

[31] “Kufr i ego vidy,”, 8 October 2010, 18:03,

[32] “Prichiny neudach nekotorykh dvizhenii dzhikhada,”, 13 october 2010, 9:21,

[33] “Biografiya sheikha Abu Basyra At-Tartusi,”, 19 November 2010, 08:04,

[34] “Est’ li seichas v mire islamskii pravitel’?,” Kavkaz tsentr, 2 December 2010, 20:54,

[35] “Department for Fighting Extremism and Terrorism = ‘2 Groups of Extremists,”, 6 December 2010,

[36] “Cable 06Moscow5645 – Chechnya: The Once and Future War,” Wikileaks,, accessed 6 December 2010

[37] “Violence in Tajikistan,” The, 30 November 2010,

[38] “Militant group’s revival threatens Central Asia,”, 09 December 2010,

[39] “IMU, Hizb ut-Tahrir members captured in Tajikistan ,”, 03 December 2010, en_GB/newsbriefs/ caii/newsbriefs/2010/ 12/03/newsbrief-10.

[40] “Tajik Wanted For Murder, Kidnapping Arrested In Russia,”, 08 December 2010,

[41] “Tajikistan: The Strange Case of Abdulvosit Latipov,”, 09 December 2010

[42] “IMU Takes Root In Increasingly Insecure Northern Afghan Provinces,”, 08 December 2010,

[43] “Tajikistan: The video of Tajik mujahedeen march is placed in Internet,”, 10 December 2010,

[44] Ibid.

[45] Ibid.

[46] See Alexander Shustov, “Radical Islam attacks Central Asia,”, 26 November 2010,

[47] Ibid.

[48] “Terrorist camps possibly hidden in Kyrgyzstan,”, 20 November 2010,

[49] “Department for Fighting Extremism and Terrorism = ‘2 Groups of Extremists,”, 6 December 2010,



Islam, Islamism and politics in Eurasia report (IIPER) is a project of the Monterey Terrorism and Research and Education Program (MonTREP) at the Monterey Institute for International Studies (MIIS), Monterey, California.  It focuses on all politically-relevant issues involving or bearing on Islam and ethnic Muslim communities in Russia and Eurasia writ large.  All issues of IIPER can be found at

IIPER is compiled, edited and, unless indicated otherwise, written by Dr. Gordon M. Hahn.  Dr. Hahn is Senior Researcher at the Monterey Terrorism Research and Education Program and Visiting Assistant Professor, Graduate School of International Policy Studies, Monterey Institute of International Studies, Monterey, California.  He is also a Senior Researcher, Center for Terrorism and Intelligence Studies (CETIS), Akribis Group and Analyst/Consultant for Russia Other Points of View – Russia Media Watch,  He teaches courses on both politics and terrorism in Russia and Eurasia at MIIS.  Dr. Hahn is the author of two well-received books, Russia’s Islamic Threat (Yale University Press, 2007) and Russia’s Revolution From Above (Transaction, 2002) as well as numerous articles on Russian, Eurasian and international politics.

IIPER welcomes submissions of 1,500-6,000 words on any aspect of Islamic politics in Eurasia and financial contributions to support the project.  For related inquiries or to request to be included on IIPER’s mailing list, please contact or

For additional information, please contact:

Dr. Gordon Hahn

Senior Researcher and WMD Terrorism Database Manager

Monterey Terrorism Research and Education Program (MonTREP)

460 Pierce Street

Monterey, CA – 93940 USA

Tel: (831) 647-3535 Fax: (831) 647-6522


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