Islam, Islamism and Politics in Eurasia Report (IIPER) 55

SPECIAL REPORT: Jihadist and Islamist Trends in Eurasia in 2011, Parts I and II

By Gordon M. Hahn, Senior Associate, Russia and Eurasia Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies

16 April 2012 


          Islamist and jihadist trends in Russia and Eurasia during 2011 showed points of continuity and change.  Russia remains the center of gravity for jihadi activity in Eurasia, with the North Caucasus functioning as the global jihadi revolutionary alliance’s bridgehead into Russia.  In particular, Russia’s North Caucasus saw the Caucasus Emirate mujahedin suffer a very slight decline in operational capacity, but a more pronounced decline in the capacity of its suicide bombing and special operations unit, the Riyadus Salikhiin Martyrs’ Brigade (RSMB) was registered.  The CE mujahedin continued and in some ways strengthened its ties to the global jihadi revolutionary movement and maintain a level of jihadi violence on a par with the high mark it achieved in 2010.  In Russia’s Volga and Urals, both Tatarstan and Bashkortostan continued to experience very low levels of jihadi activity with little or no organizational connection to the CE’s activity.  Outside of Russia, the North Caucasus’s neighboring Azerbaijan saw increased political dissension connected with issues related to the rights of Muslims and one allged international plot.  In Central Asia, Kazkahstan emerged for the first time as a locus of significant jihadi activity, including suicide bombings and other a few other jihadi attacks.  Also for the first time, Kyrgyzstan witnessed as much or more jihadi activity than Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.  In short, Kazkahstan’s and Kyrgyzstan’s increased jihadi activity compensated for a decline in jihadi activity across the rest of the region as compared with 2010.  I review these trends in more detail below.


Jihadi Terrorism in Russia in 2011 in Figures

IIPER’s data for 2011 shows a 6.3 percent decline in the number of insurgent and terrorist attacks and related violent incidents in Russia – 546 – as compared with 583 in 2010.  All or almost all of these attacks were carried out by the Caucasus mujahedin network of insurgent and terrorist jamaats (see Table 1).


Table 1. Estimated Number of Jihadi Terrorist Incidents and Casualties in Russia during 2011.

Region  Attacks/ Violent Incidents State Agents Killed State Agents Wounded Civilians Killed Civilians Wounded Jihadists Killed Jihadists Wounded Jihadists Captured/ Surrendered
Chechnya     59     33      70      9      4    51      2      56
Ingushetia     69     18      33    11      5    44      8      14
Dagestan   315   131    126    77    97  145      7    117
Kabardino-Balkaria    87    45      51    23    11    63      2      64
Karachaevo-Cherkessia      6      5       6      0      0    11      0        5
Adygeya      0      0       0      0      0     0      0        0
North Ossetia      1      0       1      1      0     1      0        4
Stavropol, Krasnodar, and Rostov      4      5       1      0      0     4      1        3
North Caucasus Total   
















Tatarstan       0       0       0      0      0      0       0       0
Bashkiriya**       0       0       0      0      0      0       0      20
Astrakhan**       2       0       0      0      0      2       0       6
Rest of Russia***       3       0       0    38   180      1       0       0
Total   546   237   288  159   297  322     20   289

* The data that forms the base for this table’s figures were researched by Gordon M. Hahn as well as Anna Nevo, Sara Amstutz, Mark Archibald, Michelle Enriquez, Seth Gray, John Andrew Jones, Casey Mahoney, Daniel Painter, and Elizabeth Wolcott.

** A theo-ideological connection between these incidents and the CE is likely but operational ties remain unclear. The data come from non-jihadi sources only.

*** We have included the assassination of Col. Yurii Budanov but retain reservations about CE amir Dokku Umarov’s claim of responsibility.  The mujahed killed in Moscow was the January 24th Moscow Domodedovo Airport suicide bomber.  We removed the would-be suicide bomber who died on New Year’s Eve when she was preparing her suicide vest for the failed plot targeting Moscow’s holiday celebrations because her death occurred before midnight. Also included is an explosion in Volgograd carried out by Chechen and ethnic Russian jihaidts tied to the Astrakhan Jamaat. See Vladislav Mal’tsev, “Vtoroi front terroristicheskoi voiny,” Nezavisimaya gazeta – Religiya, 6 July 2011, http://religion.ng.ru/problems/2011-07-06/5_terror.html.

Methodology: The data in this table are estimates. The estimates represent where possible the average of the mimimum jihadi-reported figures and of the average of the minimum and maximum figures from non-jihadi sources. The logic behind this methodology is based on the tendency of Russian and local government and non-jihadi Russian and local media (often tied to or dependent on government reporting) to underreport the number of terrorist incidents and their resulting casualties as well as the tendency of jihadist sources to exaggerate the jihadists’ capacity by sometimes claiming responsibility for attacks carried out by others for criminal, ethnic, or clan purposes and exaggerating the numbers of casualties caused by their own attacks. Data for mujahedin killed comes from averaging figures reported by the CE-affiliated IslamUmma website and the human rights organization Memorial’s website Kavkaz-uzel.ru. Data for mujahedin wounded, captured and surrendered typically come from non-jihadi sources. Incidents include not only attacks carried out, but also counter-terrorist operations and successful and attempted arrests. They do not include prevented attacks (deactivated bombs, etc.). The estimated number of CE attacks and jihadi-related violent incidents was derived from an average between the number of attacks/incidents as reported individually on CE websites and on non-jihadi sources. An average between this number from jihadi sources and the number of attacks as reported in non-jihadi sources was used to derive our estimated number of CE attacks and jihadi-related violent incidents.  Where possible a similar methodology is used to derive the figure for the number of mujahedin killed, wounded, and captured.

Sources: The jihadi sources’ data for attacks in the North Caucasus comes from monthly figures reported by the CE-affiliated website UmmaNews.com as well as reports and claims of responsibility for individual attacks appearing on the CE websites Kavkaz tsentr (www.kavkazcenter.com), Hunafa.com (http://hunafa.com), VDagestan.info (http://VDagestan.info), and Guraba.info (http://guraba.info), and Islamdin.com (www.islamdin.com).  Non-jihadi sources include official statements and independent reporting, especially that of the oppositional Russian human rights organization ‘Memorial’ and its website Kavkaz-uzel.  Other non-jihadi sources used include: www.regnum.ru, kommersant.ru, www.rian.ru, and http://www.gazeta.ru.  For the Moscow Domodedovo Airport attack see “V osushchestvlenii terakta v aeroportu Domodedovo uchastvovali, kak minimum, 5 chelovek,” Ekho Moskvy, 8 February 2011, 21:00, http://echo.msk.ru/news/748417-echo.html and “Terakt v Domodedove podgotovili i proveli, kak minimum, 5 chelovek,” Ekho Moskvy, 8 February 2011, 22:03, http://echo.msk.ru/news/748430-echo.html.


Approximately 10 percent were initiated by security, military or police agencies in the form of special counter-terrorist operations.  The 2011 decline occurred in the second half of the year.  As of July 1st the CE was on a pace to exceed its 2010 record of 583 attacks/violent incidents in a single year, having participated in 342 operations from January through June 2011; this half-year total nearly equaled IIPER’s estimate of 373 such violent CE-related incidents for the entire year of 2008.  For further comparison, during the first six months of 2010 and 2009, IIPER estimated there were approximately 213 and 236 attacks/incidents, respectively.  Notwithstanding the slight dip in CE operational activity in the second half of 2011 and for the year overall, 2011 was the CE’s second most capacious year, exceeding the 2008’s 373 total number of attacks/incidents and 2009’s 511.

           The CE’s 546 attacks/incidents last year killed some 237 state agents (civilian officials and military, police and intelligence personnel) and wounded 288, for a total of 525 casualties among state agents across Russia in 2011.  This represents a sharp decline in the efficiency of CE’s insurgent/terrorist attacks.  For comparison, 2010’s 583 attacks/incidents killed approximately 288 state agents and wounded 533, for a total of 821 casualties among state agents.  Thus, whereas the number of attacks/incidents fell by 6 percent, the number of casualties inflicted among state agents by the CE mujahedin fell by 36 percent.  Civilian casualties in 2011 also declined by 8.6 percent from 2010.  Last year’s 546 attacks produced 456 casualties (159 killed and 297 wounded) as compared to 2010’s 608 civilian casualties (112 killed and 496 wounded) in 583 attacks.  This had much to do with the decline in the number of successful suicide bombings discussed below.  In sum, 2011’s 546 CE attacks inflicted 981 casualties (396 killed and 585 wounded) as compared with 1,184 casualties (400 killed and 784 wounded) in 2010.  This marks a decline of some 17.1 percent in the total number of casualties annually from 2010 to 2011.

Looking at the individual regions, the CE’s Dagestan network of mujahedin, the Dagestan Vilaiyat (DV), continued to be the jihad’s center of gravity throughout 2011 as it has been since April 2010 See Graph 1).  The DV’s 315 attacks/incidents marked an 18 percent increase over its 2010 total on the background of an overall decline of 6 percent in the number of attacks/incidents for the CE as a whole.  Thus, the DV’s position as the CE’s vanguard vilaiyat/network was strengthened in 2011.  Whereas the DV’s number of attacks comprised 45.8 percent of the CE’s total in 2010, the DV’s 315 attacks comprised some 57.7 percent of the CE attacks in 2011.

As has been true since mid-2010, the United Vilaiyat of Kabaradiya, Balkariya and Karachai (OVKBK), the CE’s network responsible for Russia’s republics of Kabardino-Balkaria (KBR) and Karachaevo-Cherkessiya (KChR), stands as the second most powerful of the CE’s vilaiyats.  As in 2010, the KBR is still seeing the second highest level of jihadi violence after Dagestan among Russia’s 83 regions, with some 87 attacks/incidents in 2011.  There were 6 additional OVKBK attacks in the KChR, giving the OVKBK a total of some 93 attacks/incidents in which its mujahedin were involved in 2011.  This represents, however, a decline of 20.5 percent as compared to 2010, when the OVKBK had some 117 attacks/incidents (113 in the KBR and 4 in the KChR) to its log.  The CE’s networks in Ingushetiya and Chechnya continued to be the laggards in terms of operational capacity in 2011.  The CE’s Galgaiche Vilaiyat (GV) network, which covers the republics of Ingushetiya and North Ossetiya, retained its third place position among the CE’s four active vilaiyats, responsible for some 70 attacks/incidents (69 in Ingushetiya and 1 in North Ossetiya).  This represents a decline of 68.6 percent from the GV’s estimated total of 102 attacks (99 in Ingushetiya and 3 in North Ossetiya) in 2010. After moving ahead of the GV mujahedin as of the half-year mark for the first time in many months, Chechnya’s jihadi network, the Nokchicho Vilaiyat (NV), slipped back and again brings up the rear among the four CE vilaiyats in 2011 as it did in 2010, despite having patched up its break from CE amir Dokku ‘Abu Usman’ Umarov and returned to the CE fold in late July.[1]  Moreover, the CE’s Chechen NV experienced a second consecutive year of operational decline, being involved in a mere 59 attacks/incidents in 2011 as opposed to 80 in 2010 and 159 in 2009.

Graph 1

            In terms of casualties inflicted, Dagestan remains the most dangerous and deadly North Caucasus republic for state agents and civilians alike by far (see Graph 2 below).  Only Moscow, with the high casualty rate from the January Moscow Domodedovo Airport suicide bombing, approaches Dagestan in terms of jihadi-inflicted casualties.  Approximately 131 state agents were killed and 126 were wounded in Dagestan last year, for a total of 257 state agent casualties and equaling 49 percent of the number of state agent casualties inflicted by the CE as a whole.  This also marks a sharp decline of more than one-third (33.6 percent) in the number of casualties inflicted among state agents in Dagestan by the DV from the 387 state agent casualties in Dagestan during 2010.  Thus, the OVKBK, Chechen NV, and Ingush GV inflicted 20.4 percent (107 – 96 in the KBR and 11 in the KChR), 19.6 percent (103), and 9.7 percent (51) of the state agent casualties, respectively.

Graph 2

             Civilian casualties were highest in Dagestan as well (except for Moscow as a result of January’s Moscow Domodedovo Airport suicide bombing), with approximately 174 (77 killed, 97 wounded), followed in descending order by 34 civilian casualties in the KBR (23 killed, 11 wounded), 16 in Ingushetiya (11 killed and 5 wounded), and 13 in Chechnya (9 killed, 4 wounded).  In addition to the 34 civilian casualties inflicted by the OVKBK in the KBR, the 11 civilian casualties (5 killed, 6 wounded) inflicted in the KChR are also likely the product of its mujahedin, giving the OVKB a total of 45 civilian casualties inflicted.  Similarly, in addition to the 16 civilian casualties inflicted by the Ingush GV mujahedin in Ingushetiya, 1 civilian was killed in a jihadi-related attack in North ossetiya, which is part of the GV’s territory of operations, bringing the GV’s total number of civilian casualties to 17.  In sum, the DV’s Dagestani mujahedin inflicted 73.1 percent of the civilian casualties in the North Caucasus and 38.2 percent across the country by the CE.

            Regarding overall casualties, the DV leads by having inflicted approximately 431 (208 killed and 223 wounded) in Dagestan last year.  This makes up 56.5 percent of the 763 casualties inflicted by the CE in the North Caucasus and 43.9 percent of the 981 casualties inflicted nationwide in 2011.  The DV was followed by the OVKBK’s total of 130 casulaties inflicted (68 killed and 62 wounded) in the KBR and KChR, 116 by Chechnya’s NV (42 killed, 74 wounded), and 67 in the Ingushetia (30 killed, 37 wounded).  Dagestan is now experiencing 57.9 percent (431 out of 744) of the overall number of casualties in the four main Muslim republics (Dagestan, Chechnya, the KBR, and Ingushetiya) where almost all jihadi activity occurs (see Graph 3).

Graph 3

In terms of efficiency, the DV mujahedin’s attacks saw a sharp decline in efficiency in terms of number of casualties per attack in 2011, falling behind the Chechnya-based NV. In 2011, DV attacks inflicted approximately 1.4 casualties per attack on average.  In 2010, the DV’s attacks caused 2.3 casualties per attack.  In both 2010 and 2011, the Chechen NV produced approximately 2.0 casualties per attack, the OVKBK – 1.4, and 1.0 in Ingushetiya.

Despite the difficulty in garnering an accurate count of mujahedin killed, wounded and captured, it is clear that losses among the mujahedin remain high.  Almost all losses are the result of death or capture, as the Table above shows.  Primarly using the reports of ‘Kavkaz uzel,’ a North Caucasus-focused website project of the Russian human rights organization ‘Memorial’ (see Table 1), there were 611 mujahedin neutralized – 322 mujahedin killed and 289 captured – in 2011.[2]  Dagestan’s DV mujahedin suffered the most losses – 262 (145 killed and 117 captured).  The OVKBK lost the second largest number of mujahedin – 144 (63 killed and 65 wounded in the KBR and 11 killed and 5 wounded in the KChR).  Chechnya lost 107 mujahedin – 51 killed and 56 captured.  The GV lost 63, with 44 killed and 14 captured in Ingushetiya and, assuming their loyalty to the CE and GV, 1 killed and 4 captured in North Ossetiya.

Despite CE amir Dokku ‘Abu Usman’ Umarov’s threats earlier this year to raise hundreds of suicide bombers and some recent Russian media reports regarding a supposed cadre of some 50 or 60 suicide bombers trained and ready to be deployed, the record of the CE’s suicide and special operations unit, the Riyaudus Salikhiin Martyrs’ Brigade (RSMB), was far from impressive in 2011 compared to recent years.  Its six successful suicide bombings fell short of the 14 suicide bombings of 2009 and the 16 of 2010.

            Moreover, there was not a single successful istishkhad (martyrdom) operation during the last four months of the year.  There were four successful suicide bombings in the first quarter of 2011: the January 24th suicide attack carried out by the 20-year old ethnic Ingush Magomed Yevloev at Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport which killed 37 and wounded 180 and the two February 14th suicide bombings by the ethnic Russian couple and mujahedin Vitalii Razdobudko and Maria Khorosheva in Gubden, Dagestan hours apart.  The former killed 1 and wounded 22; the latter killed 1 MVD police and wounded 5 MVD police.  The fourth suicide attack of 2011 occurred on March 4th when 30-year old Khamzat Korigov exploded a bomb when police tried to check his documents.  The explosion only wounded one officer.[3]  These 4 successful attacks left 3 suicide bombers dead and killed 39 (2 state agents and 37 civilians) and wounded 207, at least 6 of which were state agents.  Thus, after the four suicide attacks carried out by CE-tied jihadists during the first quarter of this year compared to just one in the same period in 2010, it seemed that Umarov might approach realizing his threats.

The fifth successful suicide attack of this year occurred on May 10th when 32-year old Abakar Aitperov detonated a bomb as he apparently tried to enter a military hospital in Dagestan’s capitol Makhachkala.  Russia’s MVD chief Ruslan Nurgaliev was there at the time visiting with police and soldiers wounded in a recent battle with mujahedin in Kizlyar, Dagestan.  The attack killed the policeman who stopped Aitperov to check his papers as he tried to enter the hospital and wounded another and several a passers-by.[4]

The sixth and last successful suicide attack of 2011 occurred almost four full months later on August 30th, when three suicide bombers detonated bombs in the Lenin district of downtown Grozny, the capitol of the Republic of Chechnya, killing 9 and wounding 22.  According to police, the first explosion occurred when police attempted to detain a suspicious man.  Two more suicide bombers then detonated their bombs when police rushed to the scene of the first detonation.  Among the 9 killed were 7 police, 1 Emergency Ministry worker, and 1 civilian.  Both police personnel and civilians were among the 22 wounded.[5]  This was the third time in Grozny this year that mujahedin detonated grenades, IEDS, or suicide belts when police or security forces attempted to apprehend mujahedin.  There have been two such cases this year in Ingushetiya as well: one successful as mentioned above and one unsuccessful, producing no casualties other than that of the bomber himself.  In Grozny, on February 15th two mujahedin detonated bombs when security forces attempted to apprehend them in one of the mujahedin’s homes.  On April 25th, two fighters did the same when they reportedly ran out of ammunition in a firefight with security forces during a special counter-terrorist operation against them.  No one was injured in either of these cases.[6] Another mujahed blew himself up to avoid capture when he was interdicted in Galashki, Ingushetiya on July 12 and Chechnya on August 24th.  The mujahed tried to plant a bomb, was stopped by police, and detonated a grenade killing himself.[7]  This year’s six successful and several interdicted suicide bombing attacks have expended the lives of 12 suicide bombers: 11 men and one woman.

Excluding the 22 wounded in the recent Grozny attack, for which we have no breakdown between state agents and civilians, the six successful attacks in 2011 killed 11 and wounded at least 28 state agents and killed 38 and wounded at least 184 civilians.  Counting the 22 wounded in the recent Grozny attack, there were 283 casualties – 49 killed and 234 wounded, as a result of the CE’s six successful suicide attacks.

The CE’s Geographical Expanse

At the end of 2011 the CE’s geographical reach remained approximately as it had been a year earlier.  The center of its jihad remains in Dagestan where, as noted above, 58 percent of the CE’s attacks and related violent incidents occur.  The CE has been able to retain its weaker networks in Chechnya, Ingushetiya and Kabardino-Balkariya, with some, perhaps not statistically significant reduced capacity in each.  The CE’s OVKBK was able as it was last year to extend a handful of operations into the KChR, but the KBR remains its base of operations.  The DV was probably responsible for the handful or so of operations carried out in Stavropol –  for example the February 14th twin shicide bombings in Gubden, Dagestan carried out by the ethnic Russian couple of Islamic converts.  The CE’s Ingushetiya-based GV had little success in North Ossetiya and, as noted below, less than last year.

Regarding the geography of suicide bombings in 2011, as in 2010, it was the CE’s Dagestan network that led the way in istishkhad operations.  But the DV, which reportedly has its own “Riyadus Salikhiin Jamaat,” succeeded far less often in executing such operations just as the rest of the CE did.  Dagestan saw just 3 successful attacks in 2011, compared to 6 such bombings and in 2010.  Chechnya experienced 1 successful attack last year, compared with 2 in 2010.  Ingushetia saw 1 successful attack in 2011, but 2 in 2010.  North Ossetiya had no suicide attacks last year, compared to 2 in 2010.  The 24 January 2011 Moscow Domodedovo Airport suicide attack was the only CE suicide attack executed outside of the North Caucasus, but it utilized a suicide bomber from Ingushetiya.  Last year Moscow was victim to two simultaneous suicide bombings on the Moscow subway carried out by two female suicide bombers who were the wives of two high-ranking DV amirs that killed 38 and wounded 208.  There still has never been a suicide bombing in any other of Russia’s regions besides Dagestan, Chechnya, Ingushetiya, and Moscow city.  In short, the CE showed little or no geographical expansion in 2011 as compared with 2010, though both 2010 and 2011 showed expansion over previous years.

Jihadism and Islamism in Russia Beyond the Caucasus

In terms of expanding operations beyond the Caucasus, the single operation in Moscow last year equates with the single operation there in 2010.  Astrakhan saw several violent incidents involving alleged jihadists.  In Russia’s Volga and Urals, both Tatarstan and Bashkortostan continued to experience very low levels of jihadi activity with little or no organizational connection to the CE’s activity.  However, this activity was almost certainly inspired by the CE and its global jihadi takfirist theo-ideology, continuing a trend that emerged in 2010.  In the Volga and Urals mega-regions, neither Tatarstan nor Bashkortostan saw violent jihad-related incidents in 2011 unlike in 2010 when there was 1 in the former and there were 4 in the latter (see Graph 4).

Graph 4

            However, both Tatarstan and Bashkortostan saw increases in Islamist activity.  Islamism serves as a potential stepping stone to joining violent jihadist groups.  There is evidence of growing non-violent Islamist activity in Tatarstan, in particular the growth of underground ‘kitchen Islam’ with perhaps as manay as twenty mosques and madrassahs unregistered with the official Mulsim Spritual Board of Tatarstan.  These independent Islamic communities are often established or infiltrated by Islamists, some from such international organizations like Hizb ut-Tahrir Islami (HTI), the Muslim Brotherhood, and the less political Tabligh Jamaat.  In Bashkortostan, the authorities reported the arrest of some 20 members of HTI in 2011 and claimed they were were planning terrorist attacks.  However, there is no evidence these cells had ties to the CE or the self-declared Idel-Ural Vilaiyat that emerged in winter 2010 appealing to CE amir Umarov to assist them in training and carrying out jihadi attacks in the Volg-Urals area.

Internationally, in April of 2011, as IIPER reported, a Dagestani cell tied to the CE and its DV network was uncovered in the Czeck Republic raising funds and recruits for the CE and possibly planning attacks in an unidentified third country.  But this does not exceed the presence in Europe in 2010 represented by the CE-tied Chechen-Moroccan cell that was arrested in stings across parts of Europe and was planning attacks on NATO targets in Belgium.

CE Leadership Trends

Despite CE amir Umarov’s July victory in bringing back to the CE the breakaway Chechen amirs, who accounted for the overwhelming majority of the NV’s amirs and broke with him in August 2010, there is still reason to believe that his authority weakened over the course of the year.  First, Umarov’s authority was already weakened prior to 2011.  His resignation followed by its retraction in early August 2010, which included references to his declining health, placed Umarov’s continuation in the top leadership position squarely on the agenda.  Umarov has been wounded several times, is reportedly a diabetic, and was reportedly poisoned by the secret services in 2009.

Second, Umarov undermined his own credibility by making threats in early 2011 that he was unable to fulfill.  In the wake of the successful suicide bombing attack inside Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport in January 2011 that kicked off the year, CE amir threatened in several video statements to deploy sixty or even one hundred suicide bombers through the CE’s RSMB.  Certain Russian news reports in June claimed to have a list of 52 suicide bombers depoloyed for action.[8]  Despite this, the CE and its special suicide bombing brigade, the Riyadus Salikhiin Martyrs’ Brigade (RSMB), produced the lowest number of successful attacks since 2008.  Compared to 16 successful (producing casualties) suicide attacks in 2009 and 14 in 2010, this year saw only 6 successful suicide bombings.  Umarov’s unrealized threats and bluster could tell on his authority within the CE, something he can hardly afford given the history of the August 2010 break with NV.  It was precisely because of the NV amirs’ distrust of his leadership skills along with other issues that led to the split.

Third, Umarov’s leadership of the CE is undermined by the continued decline of the Chechen mujahedin relative to the Dagestanis.  Indeed, the NV’s continued poor performance has occurred in tandem with the meteoric rise of the Dagestani DV since April 2010.  As noted above, the DV’ pre-eminence among the vilaiyats held and indeed strengthened throughout 2011, consolidating the trend begun in April 2010.  As the Dagestan branch of the CE’s network continues to outperform the CE ‘center’, the Chechen NV network, as well as all other CE vilaiyats operationally and theo-ideologically, the logic of continuing with a Chechen rather than a Dagestani amir is further undermined.  Dagestan’s rise once again poses the ancient question of whether a Dagestani or a Chechen should be at the helm of North Caucasians’ efforts to establish an Islamist emirate in the region.  In the mid-19th century, there was considerable tension between the Dagestani ethnic Avar imams, like Imam Shamil, and Chechen leaders like Tasho Hajii over who should hold the top leadership position and what strategy should be adopted for the gazavat/jihad.

Fourth, This logic seems even more faulty when one compares the personal qualities of Umarov and the transforming essence of the CE’s jihad.  The charisma of the aging Umarov seems to pale on the background of a plethora of energetic young Dagestani amirs.  In addition, Umarov possesses little in the way of real Islamist theo-ideological credentials, whereas the Dagestanis display just the opposite – a fervent belief in violent takfirist Islamism, strong knowledge of its tenets, and an ability and energy in promoting those ideas in numerous Internet videos carried on many of the CE’s websites.

Some basic authority already seems to be slipping from Umarov’s hands to the Dagestanis.  The Dagestani qadi of the CE, Abu Ali Mukhammad al-Dagistani, maintains virtually a permanent presence of CE websites.  His video lectures and question-and answer sessions are posted on DV websites weekly.  The number of videos in which top DV leaders appear in one week often exceeds the number Umarov appeared throughout all of 2011.  Although neither Dagistani (so far) nor Umarov possesses the charisma of a Basaev, Buryatskii, Vagabov or Astemirov, it is Dagistani who possesses more.  In terms of Weberian charismatic authority, which is of special importance for one who wants to lead a religiously oriented movement, in particular one that relies on extreme tactics such as suicide bombing, Umarov also suffers a deficit by virtue of the extraordinary jihadi performance or ‘miracles’ engineered by the  Dagestani mujahedin in contrast to the fading Chechens of the NV.  Also in contrast to Umarov, Dagistani and DV qadi and DV Mountain Sector amir Mukhammad Abu Usman al-Gimri speak increasingly with authority and displays strong knowledge of the holy texts and Arabic language, frequently citing from the former from memory, without reference to written text.  This is  something to which CE amir Umarov could not even aspire.

In short, the CE’s and Umarov’s leadership, while not poor, is hardly optimal.  One way or another, this issue is likely to be resolved soon.  Given that Dagestani DV is likely to continue leading the CE in terms of operational, theo-ideological and propaganda performance, it seems unlikely that Umarov’s success will be a Chechen.  The issue will likely be decided in favor of a Dagestani ethnic Avar – the Avars are the largest ethnic group in Dagestan – or a compromise figure from among, for example, the Kabards of the OVKBK, given the latter’s status as the second most prolific of the CE’s four permanently acting vilaiyats.



There were few jihadist episodes in the North Caucasus’s neighboring Transcaucasus during 2011.  Azerbaijan experienced no homegrown jihadi violence and little Islamist presence in 2011.  However, last month’s demonstrations which broke out in northern Azerbaijan not far from the border with Dagestan in response to the Aliev’s regime’s continuing authoritarianism along with th Azerbaijan authorities’ greater restrictions on Islamic female dress, which provoked a series of demonstrations in the first half of last year, could lead to radicalization of the populace and provide a potential opening to the country’s limited jihadist and Islamist elements and even the CE to the north for recruitment.  In the past, Azeris have been found fighting along with the CE mujahedin, and on occasion CE, in particular Dagestani mujahedin have crossed over the border south into Azerbaijan.  There possibly is an Azerbaijan jihadist jamaat, as evidenced by the websites Milleti Ibragim (www.milleti-ibrahim.com/az/) and Azeri Jihad Media (http://azerijihadmedia.com), and it may be connected to the possible CE operative, former Russian military officer and Islamic covert Richard Kosolapov, whose articles occasionally appear on the noted Milleti Ibragim site.

In January of this year, Azerbaijani security forces uncovered a plot sponsored from abroad by the Iranian state to attack the US and Israeli embassies in Baku and arrested 22 apparently Azerbaijani conspirators, who were trained in Iranian camps, returned to Baku, and began reconnoitering diplomatic missions, Western companies including British Petroleum’s office, public organizations including the Jewish centre Sohnut, a US fast-food restaurant, and other targets.  The first two conspirators arrested in January were said to be planning to assassinate the Israeli ambassador in Baku and a local rabbi and to have been assisted by an Iranian citizen tied to Iranian intelligence.  More arrests were made in February, though it remains unclear whether with these later arrests the Azeri authorities are tacking on new trumped up conspirators to the original plot in an effort to clean out suspected Islamists.  Azerbaijani intelligence announced the uncovering of a similar plot in 2007.  News of this new Baku plot came almost simultaneously to a February 13th IED attack on Israeli diplomatic personnel in New Delhi, India and similar, thwarted Iranian plots in Thailand and Azerbaijan’s neighbor of Georgia on the same day.


The interdicted attack in Georgia, prevented when police discovered and defused a bomb under an Israeli diplomat’s car, was the only jihadi violence in that country during 2011.  Georgia therefore may come to regret its decision last year to grant visa-free travel to Iranian citizens and as well as North Caucasians from Russia, opening a route of free travel that effectively extends from Pakistan along a southern arc through Afghanistan, Iran, Azerbaijan, and Georgia to Russia’s North Caucasus.  Iraq and Turkey might also become more accessible as a result of Tbilisi’s policy.  As in Azerbaijan, the thwarted Iranian attack in Georgia was the only jihadist-related event recorded in that country during 2011.  Armenia shows no jihadi or Islamist activity.



In Central Asia, Kazkahstan emerged for the first time as a locus of significant jihadi activity, including suicide bombings and other a few other jihadi attacks.  The first successful suicide attacks ever to occur in Kazakhstan took place on 17 May and 24 May.[9]  July saw firearms attacks by four alleged mujahedin in the villages of Kenkiyak and Shubarshi that killed two policemen.[10]  A Kazakhstani jihadist group calling itself ‘Jund al-Khilafa’ (sometimes ‘Jundallah al-Khalifa’) or JaK, meaning ‘Soldiers of the Caliphate’, claimed responsibility for two 31 October 2011 blasts that killed one civilian in Atyrau, Kazakhstan.  The attack was said to be a warning against the government of Kazakhstan to repeal a recent ban on prayer in state institutions.[11]  Kazakhstani security captured three perpetrators of these attacks, alleging they are followers of the CE GV’s notorious suicide attack operative Sheik Said Abu Saad Buryatskii.[12]  As IIPER readers will know, Buryatskii, born Aleksandr Tikhomirov and a Buryat-Russian, was based in Ingushetiya with the GV but worked closely with the CE’s suicide operations jamaat, the Riyadus Salikhiin Martyrs Birgade (RSMB), until his demise at the hand of Russian forces in March 2010.[13]  On 12 November 2011 there was a series of additional attacks across Kazakhstan.  The most deadly occurred in the southern city of Taraz (Dzhambul) and killed seven people. The man responsible for this attack is 34-year-old, Maksut Kariyev, a Kazakhi citizen.[14] Other incidents on that same day around Kazakhstan have led authorities to believe that Kariyev was part of a larger plot. Another bombing attempt also in Taraz was foiled that day. A checkpoint attack and another shootout between two policemen were not.[15]  On December 3rd a shootout between mujahedin and Kazakhstan security forces took place.

The CE has played a role in propagating the Kazakhstani mujahedin, providing a venue for their propaganda statements for more than a year and following this trend led IIPER (No. 37) to predict jihadi violence in Kazakhstan months before the fact.  The CE’s main website Kavkaz tsentr carried official statements and claims of responsibility for many of the abovementioned attacks in Kazakhstan made by the Kazakh-staffed and Waziristan-based jihadi ‘Jund al-Khalifat’ or JaK.  For example, as reported in IIPER, No. 30, the first tie between Kazakhstani mujahedin and the CE was an appeal by the former sent to the CE’s Ingushetiya Republic-based network, the Galgaiche Vilaiyat (GV), which was promptly posted on the GV’s website, Hunafa.com, in November 2010.  A jihadi jamaat from Kazakhstan calling itself ‘Ansaru-d-din’ appealed to the CE GV mujahedin and Hunafa.com to help in promoting its call to Kazkahstan’s Muslims to make jihad using the material in “a file with information highlighting the theme of jihad” called ‘The Commandment of Jihad and Related Situations’ (Hukm dzhikhada i polozheniya, svyzannyie s etim).”  The appeal contains a link to “Hukm dzhikhada i polozheniya, svyzannyie s etim”, and both the appeal and the propaganda article call Kazakhstan’s Muslims to the global jihadi revolutionary movement.[16]  Also, the JaK issued on CE websites it claim of responsibility for the December 3rd clash with Kazakhstani security forces in southern Kazakhstan and threatened Russia with attacks for its alleged “call for the murder of the Muslims of Kazakhstan.”[17]

Like the Uzbek, Tajik and North Caucasus mujahedin before them, Kazakhstani mujahedin have been emerging within the global jihadi revolutionary movement, training and operating in Waziristan, Pakistan alongside mujahedin from Turkey and other Muslim countries.  In November 2011 CE websites posted two videos featuring Kazkhstani mujahedin, perhaps JaK fighters, based with the IJU in Waziristan.  One was an inspirational videotape produced by Badr al-Tawhid, the media arm of the Pakistan-based Islamic Jihad Union (IJU), an offshoot of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) active across Central Asia and in recent years internationally.  Like the CE, both organizations are allied with the global jihadi revolutionary movement and Al Qa`ida.  Over the last eight years the IJU has carried out operations in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Central Asia, and Western Europe.  Both videos are combined in a single video titled ‘Appeal of the Kazakh Mujahedin Taking Part in the Jihad to the Muslims of Kazakhstan’ (Obrashchenie Kazakskikh mudzhakhidov, uchastvuyushikh v Dzhikhade, k musul’manam Kazakhstana).  The first video introduces some 10-15 mujahedin from Kazakhstan as well as Uzbekistan, Turkey, and “East Turkestan” – that is, Uighuristan or Xingjiang.  The second video is an appeal to Kazakhstan’s Muslims, which also extends a special greeting to the CE mujahedin, noting that they have chosen an amir and fight on the path of Allah.  The Kazkah amir emphasizes in the appeal that although the CE mujahedin hail from different North Caucasus republics, they have united ideologically and asks why the mujahedin of Central Asia have not been able to do the same.[18]  All of the above suggests the possibility of a joint CE-IJU-JaK plots in Eurasia, as do CE-IJU ties, of which there is strong evidence.[19]


Kyrgyzstan also saw an unprecedented level of jihadi activity in 2011, though this is not as great a departure from the past as is the jihadi emergence in Kazakhstan.  The IJU and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), from which the IJU split off in the early 2000s, have been active in Kyrgyzstan through the Ferghana Valley stretching into southern Kyrgyzstan’s Osh district.  Last year Kyrgyzstan got through only the first three days before it suffered a jihadi attack.  On January 4th four alleged mujahedin shot and killed three policemen during a search and document check operation.[20]  Nine days later, two suspected IJU fighters were killed and one was captured after gunfire broke out in Bishkek; they were allegedly trained in Pakistan and Afghanistan.[21]  This prompted a large-scale special operation against jihadist and other extremists in Osh and along Kyrgyzstan’s border with Tajikistan,[22] which was in the midst of concluding operations against a jihadist upsurge that began in summer 2010 and carried over into early 2011 as discussed below.

On May 6th a bomb with 1 kilogram of TNT was found in a Bishkek School No. 20.  The Kyrgyzstan security forces arrested nine people allegedly involved in the plot and confiscated over 15 kilograms of explosive material and readied explosives.  The cell was reported to be part of the terrorist organization Zhayshul Mahdi (ZhM).[23]  The leader was identified as a 49-year-old resident of Kara-Sui district in Osh.[24]  In a previous statement in March a Kyrgyzstan-based jihadist jamaat calling itself ‘Jaish Jamaat al-Mahdi’ (Amir-ul-Mu’minin) announced taking the Islamic loyalty oath or bayat to the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan and Mullah Muhammad Omar Mujahid and urged the Kyrgyz faithful to jihad.[25]  The similarity in the group’s name suggests ‘Jaish Jamaat al-Mahdi’ may be one and the same group as ZhM.  It remained unclear whether the group is part of the IJU, IMU or some other Central Asian-oriented jihadi organization linked to the Taliban or even AQ.

Matters remained quiet until September, when 18 people were arrested on September 9th and accused of plotting a terrorist attack.[26]  Following a security operation in the south in October, the Kyrgyzstan’s State Committee for National Security reported the capture of 10 alleged IJU members, who were allegedly planning several bombing attacks across the region.  This operation came in the wake of a hijacking incident on October 8th when a suspected jihadist while fleeing police boarded a bus traveling from Kara-Suu to Osh and took the 15 passengers hostage.  The alleged terrorist was eventually killed by sniper fire, and all passengers escaped unharmed.[27]  Although the government claimed that these were stand-alone acts, the incidents suggest a continuing pattern of jihad-related violence that suggests a growing, perhaps coordinated jihadist movement in Kyrgyztan.

Indeed, the Kyrgyz security forces reported the creation in 2011 of an Islamic Movement of Kyrgyzstan (IMK), a previously unheard of movement.  Perhaps, it is an affiliate of the IMU or IJU, or Kyrgyz authorities may be using the name as a catch-all phrase for the permanent presence of homegrown jihadst groups in the country with ties to global jihadist revolutionary groups across Central and South Asia.  In a parliamentary initiated hearing in April, the head of the Kyrgyz National Security said that “400 citizens of Kyrgyzstan, mainly ethnic Uzbeks, are currently training in terrorist camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan.”[28]  True or false, this is a likely consequence of the interethnic fighting between Kyrgyz and Uzbeks that broke out in Osh and other regions of Kyrgyzstan in June 2010.  Allegedly, these IMK mujahedin fighters left for AfPak after the ethnic clashes that occurred that summer.  If even approximately accurate, such a large number of Kyrgyz mujahedin training in AfPak spells years of at least sporadic jihadi terrorism for this already weak state and ethnically divided society.

There were other signs of Kyrgyzstan’s growing vulnerability.  Islamism also may be posing a growing problem in Kyrgyzstan.  In a speech delivered before the Kyrgyz parliament’s committee for defense and security issues on January 18th, Kyrgyz Interior Minister, Zarylbek Rysaliev, announced that there were 1,279 registered “terrorists,” a term that is often applied to extremists in general, whether they belong to peaceful Islamist or to violent jihadi groups.  Specifically, Rysaliev noted that in Kyrgyzstan there are 1,192 support HTI members and 32 members of ‘Akromiya,’ an HTI offshoot that originated in Uzbekistan.  In terms of jihadists, he cited 49 “Wahhabis” and two IMU members.[29]  According to a high-ranking Kyrgyzstan MVD officer, the number of detentions of religious extremists in the country increased during 2011 by two and a half times.[30]  In addition, Kyrgyzstan is becoming a more frequently used crossroad if not a target for AQ operatives. In May, Kyrgyz security detained Ali Osman Zor, a Turkish journalist wanted in Turkey for alleged links to Al Qaeda and support of terrorism in the past.  The 43-year old Zor is a member and a spokesman of the Great East Islamic Raiders Front, an extremist organization responsible for a recent bombing in Istanbul.[31]

In total, Kyrgyzstan’s record for 2011, like Kazakhstan’s, looked more like that of Uzbekistan or Tajikistan in previous years.


In 2011, jihadi-related activity was centered around cleaning up the remnants of the IMU mujahedin’s August 2010 jailbreak from the Dushanbe prison that led to a series of violent clashes and insurgent attacks that lasted into spring 2011.  In the process they eliminated leading Tajik mujahedin Mullo Abdullo Rakhimov and ‘Ali Bedaki’ Alovuddin Davlatov, who were tied to the IMU, including many of the jailbreakers, and allegedly to AQ.  Rakhimov had been on Tajikistan’s wanted list for 14 years for involvement in many armed insurgency operations in Tajikistan along with his supporters.  Once a United Tajik Opposition field commander during the Tajik civil war in the 1990s, he rejected the 1997 peace accords and moved to Afghanistan, where he played a leading role in the IMU from 2000 to 2009.  After a 19 September 2010 attack on the military convoy, the Tajik government mounted special operations targeting Rakhimov and Davlatov.  Additionally, blame was placed on former United Tajik Opposition (UTO) leader, Mirzokhudzha Akhmadov, who denied the allegations but agreed to help the government in finding Ali Bedaki and Mullo Abdullo.[32]  By January 2011 a reported 20 mujahedin had been killed or arrested by government troops in counter-terrorist operations following the prison break, which likely involved mujahedin once involved in the activities of Rakhimov and Davlatov (Bedaki).[33]  Davlatov was killed by government forces on January 4th in the Runob settlement of Rasht district in the mountains of East Tajikistan along with 7 other militants.  By February, Tajik authorities were claiming they had already arrested 50 alleged IMU members, seized 270 firearms, including 6 submachine guns and 18 pistols in 2011.[34]

Rakhimov may have been behind several attacks that occurred weeks after and possibly to avenge Davlatov’s demise.  Rakhimov and the IMU were suspected of being behind the bombing of January 21-22 outside the Sughd Oblast Interior Department in January in addition to the 2010 bombings of the National Security Committee building in Khujand and the law enforcement agencies’ headquarters in Istaravshan.[35]  Rakhimov’s militants are likely to have perpetrated the Sunday, January 23rd, assault on the Tajik military convoy killing at least 23 people.  Machine guns and grenade launchers were used in the attack, and Tajikistan Defense ministry spokesman Faridun Makhmadaliyev said the attack was led by former UTO field commander Rakhimov.[36]  The military convoy was searching for those who managed to escape from the Dushanbe prison.[37]  The Tajik military thus continued that pursuit in addition to its search for Rakhimov and new search for one Muhammadkarim Ibrohimov, known as Kamol, who joined Davlatov’s group earlier.[38]  Tajik law enforcement also categorized as an act of terrorism a blast from an IED equivalent to 50 grams of TNT that occurred outside a restaurant on March 8th, International Women’s Day, and wounded a teenager.[39]

On 15 April, Rakhimov and perhaps as many as 10 or more of his followers were killed by aircraft and heavy armor fire in the mountains of the Rasht district in the village Samsolik in the Nurabad area.  At least two Tajik military service officers were killed in the battle.[40]  Amir Rakhimov and his followers allegedly were planning a series of bombings in Dushanbe during the 20th anniversary of Tajikistan’s independence in September 2011.[41]  A group likely tied to Rakhimov and the IMU calling itself ‘Jamā’at Anṣār Allah Tājīkistān’ released an appeal in Tajik addressed to the Muslims of Tajikistan praising Rakhimov and his martyrdom.[42]  In addition, a previously unknown group ‘Mujohidini Tojikiston’ (The Mujahedin from Tajikistan) threatened attacks to avenge Rakhimov’s killing.  The group, claiming to include fighters from across Tajikistan and not just from Rasht and Badakhshan provinces, warned on their Tajik-language site that they will carry out new attacks on the government to oust the leadership, pointing to Egypt and Tunisia as precursors.[43]  The militant group is unknown to the Tajik government, but the authorities are theorizing that they are also from among the many former UTO fighters who crossed into Afghanistan after the signing of peace agreement in 1997 to wage under the IMU banner.[44]

Tajikistan authorities continued with special operations and security measures throughout the year in an effort to re-incarcerate the 25 jihadis who escaped prison in the August 2010 jailbreak.  On 19 April, 31-year-old Fahriddin Kokulov was killed while resisting arrest in the Rasht Valley.  With that, nine fugitives remained at large, and twelve fugitives have been arrested.[45]  The last of the prison escapees, Azamsho Ziyoev, known as “Azami Panjara,” was recaptured in Khatlon province on 13 November 2011.[46]

In the March trial of eleven fugitives recaptured after the IMU’s 2010 Dushanbe jailbreak, it was revealed that two were Russian citizens from Dagestan, likely from the Caucasus were the operation’s masterminds: the leader of the escape Ibragim Nasreddinov, known as Qori Ibrohim Hikmatullo Azizov, and Magomed Akhmedov.[47]  The above lends some further support to the thesis of growing ties between Central Asian and North Caucasus Islamic extremists.  Similarly, in August Kyrgyz authorities extradited and in October they deported back to Russia a Russian citizen with the surname Akhtakhanov for alleged involvement in terrorism and forming an armed group.[48]  Conversely, in May a 35-year-old female Islamist citizen of Tajikistan was arrested in Moscow.  She the terrorist wanted list in Tajikistan since 2006 and is alleged to have been involved in extremist activities both in Tajikistan and internationally, “calling for the overthrow of the constitutional system and the creation of an Islamic republic in its place.”[49]

On April 24th a firefight broke out on the Tajik-Afghan border on the night of 24 April between a group of predominantly Tajik mujahedin from near the village Sarigor Shuroabad and border guards.  One Afghan insurgent reportedly was killed, but the rest including some wounded, managed to escape to Afghanistan.[50]  There ensued a relative lull until September 3rd when a Tajik jamaat calling itself Jamaat Ansarullah (JA) attacked a  police station.  Later, it released a video claiming responsibility for the attack and calling for all Tajik Muslims to wage jihad against the secular government.[51]

Although Rakhimov’s IMU militants were very likely behind attacks on military convoys in the Rasht Valley, critics accused Tajikistan President Emomali Rakhmon of artificially promoting the threat of religious extremism in order to fight political dissidents opposed to his regime.  Tajik authorities are rightly concerned about the growing spread of Islamic extremism, but like most of their Eurasian counterparts, with the possible exception of Kyrgyzstan, their methods are overly repressive and thus ineffective.  Thus, President Rakhmon, in an effort to ensure that mosques be used for prayer, not as a platform for religious extremist propaganda, is stepped up efforts to make sure that all are registered with the state.  Reportedly, there are as many as 1,250 unregistered and therefore illegal mosques in Tajikistan.  In Khatlon province, teachers were told to keep their students out of mosques on Fridays in effect to enforce a Tajik law that makes it illegal for those under the age of 18 to pray in mosques.  Minors caught missing classes on Fridays to go to prayer can be prosecuted under the law.[52]

In February Rakhmon also urged all those studying in madrassahs abroad to return home, fearing that religious education abroad makes one prone to Islamic extremism.[53]  Soon, under a new law the government began to prosecute Muslim parents who have sent their children abroad for religious Islamic education.  Five criminal cases were brought in the Khatlon region against parents who send their minor children abroad.  According to Tajikistan’s Committee for Religious Affairs, there are 2,388 Tajik citizens, most of whom are school age, studying in foreign madrassahs.[54]  Although such measures are undertaken as a security precaution, they could instigate the very Islamist radicalism they are intended to control.


Uzbekistan, as a front-line state in the war against AQ, the Taliban, and global jihadi revolutionaries in Afghanistan and Pakistan.  Because of this factor as well as the harshest authoritarian regime of any Eurasia, it continues to be under a jihadi threat, especially from organizations like the IMU and IJU.  These organizations, which once solely focused on establishing an Islamist state in Uzbekistan, have expanded their vision to all of Central Asia and the creation of an emirate there as part of the global caliphate sought by the likes of the Taliban and AQ.  The IMU – now an internally-oriented group strongly tied to Al Qa`ida, Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP)  and other groups in the global jihadi revolutionary alliance – has exhibited a presence across Central Asia, especially in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, as well as in Germany, Turkey, Russia, and Tunisia.[55] Although there is evidence that Central Asians went into Pakistan as early as 2000, some are reporting now that Uzbeks in particular have been committing suicide bombings there, with the caveat that often it is difficult to distinguish among Russian-speaking and other militants.  Much perhaps most of the fighting in some areas of Pakistan is said to be under the IMU banner which now includes Turks and Germans.[56]  According to ISAF, the IMU has also shown signs of integrating its operations with the Haqqani Network in eastern Afghanistan.[57]  Thus, in April the U.S. Department of State issued a travel warning to U.S. citizens in Uzbekistan to exercise caution when traveling because of information indicating planned attacks against U.S. interests in Uzbekistan.[58] Jihadists in Uzbekistan claim that the U.S., Israel, and other Western entities are bankrupting Uzbekistan. [59]

Uzbek president Islam Karimov continues to use the harshest authoritarian methods of any post-Soviet state leader with a credible Islamist threat.  In Russia, for example, only Chechnya’s Ramzan Kadyrov’s methods approach the repressiveness of those carried out by Karimov.  Heavy military force has been rapidly deployed when mujahedin were suspected to have gathered.  For example, according to Uzbekistan officials, 52 IMU militants were killed in 2010, mostly in air raids.[60]  No data was available for 2011.  Suspected non-violent Islamists are still quickly arrested and routinely charged with membership in banned groups like Tabligh Jamaat, HTI, the IMU, and the IJU.  Islamists are still unable find much room for propagandizing radical interpretations of Islam.    Circulating Islamist literature remains a crime, with numerous arrests and conviction being dealt out by Uzbek courts.[61]  In March twenty religious bookstores as well as the Kitoblar Dunyosi (World of Books) book trading center were shut down in Tashkent, Uzbekistan by the Uzbek National Security Service (NSS).  The government was seeking out-of-print Islamic books that could lead readers to extremism.[62]  Uzbek human rights groups claim that the criminal conviction of one group of jihadists in early February was based on confessions extorted through torture, and the families of the convicted were fired from their jobs and expelled from universities.[63]

Ironically, the other side of the coin of Islam Karimov’s harsh authoritarianism is limited room for maneuver and conducting jihadi operations.  Uzbekistan appears to have seen less jihadi activity than any other Central Asian state, with the likely exception of Turkmenistan, about which little can be known given its even more harsh regime.   Thus, the IMU’s activities in Uzbekistan last year seem to have been confined largely to issuing videos, albeit, rather prolifically.  Its media departments released more than ten in just the first five months of 2011.  These tended to show IMU activities and operations in Afghanistan and the IMU’s German mujahedin, rather than Central Asia, no less Uzbekistan.[64]

Central Asia and AfPak

Almost all Uzbek jihadi activity occurred along the border with Afghanistan or in the AfPak region.  As in the rest of Central Asia, there is no doubt that the political upheaval and revolutionary situation in much of the outside Muslim world poses a threat to Tajikistan’s stability.  Tajikistan and Uzbekistan are especially vulnerable given their proximity to AfPak.  The Afghan-Uzbek border is the crossroad for IMU and IJU operatives, many coming from or going to Central Asia and captured in one state or the other.  It became a flashpoint on the night of 16-17 November, when a blast on a railway line between the border of Afghanistan and Uzbekistan occurred on the Termez-Kurgan line in Uzbekistan’s Surkhandarya region.[65] The line is used to transport supplies to NATO forces in Afghanistan. There were no causalities, and no one claimed responsibility for the attack. The explosion destroyed a bridge on the Galaba-Amuzang stretch of the line.[66]  Numerous IMU leaders and operatives were killed and captured in Afghanistan this year, and many would have been Uzbeks from Uzbekistan (as well as Uzbeks from northern Afghanistan and Tajiks from both Tajikistan and northern Afghanistan and Kyrgyz from Kyrgyzstan).[67]  In Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, Afghan-based jihadi insurgents of the IMU, IJU, and affiliated jamaats continue to pose a threat, especially as the weather warms, and may be able to leverage persistent ethnic tensions in order to gain influence in the region.

Border Tensions

As the jihadi threat persists not only along the Uzbek-Afghan border, but all along the borders of Central Asia and even in some capitals, the governments of Central Asia remain increasingly concerned about border security internal to the region and the ability of their Central Asian neighbors to maintain their own borders and suspicious that their neighbors may seek to strengthen their security at the expense of others.  After the Uzbek-Kyrgyz violence in June 2010, the Uzbekistan government closed its border with Kyrgyzstan and heightened security along the Tajikistan border.  The border closure with Kyrgyzstan created not only economic but also personal problems for people living on both sides of the border.  While Uzbekistan is concerned about their security, residents in Tajikistan and even more so in Kyrgyzstan are feeling isolated and frustrated as a result of the border closures.  Since then, there have been increasing regional tensions and further clashes between ethnic groups.  Kyrgyz authorities report that there have been two dozen border-related skirmishes in 2010 and the frequency of such occurrences is rising.[68]

Although the border with Uzbekistan continues to be closed, Tajikistan and increasingly Kyrgyzstan view the Afghan-based IMU and IJU to be a looming threat.  Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan remaining failing or at least weak states that are ill-prepared to counter the growing jihadist threat.  Their militaries are small and poorly equipped.  Kyrgyz Interior Minister Zarylbek Rysaliev notes that there were only 8,000 policemen in the entire country.[69]  Border clashes broke out between Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan this year, giving evidence of the sense of insecurity and substituting conflict in place of cooperation in combating the common threat along their shared border.  Thus, the IMU continues to use its cross-border movement and drug trafficking operations to sew conflict between the Central Asian states.  Rather than conducting a more subtle policy at home or demonstrate leadership in building cooperation regionally and internationally, Uzbekistan President Karimov continues to play scapegoat card by accusing the West of funding Arab revolts.  In his address, he explained that foreign financing was also the biggest component of terrorism in the Middle East.  He issued a warning to his people on Victory Day to be vigilant and help the authorities to prevent any uprisings.[70]

The Persistence of Islamist Threats in Central Asia: HTI and Tabligh Jamaat

There is not just a jihadi threat; peaceful but extremist Islamist threats, such as HTI, continue challenge Central Asia as well, though it is sometimes to separate real cases from trumped up charges.  In October, BBC Reporter for Central Asia, Uronboi Usmonov, was sentenced to three years in jail in Tajikistan for allegedly having ties to HTI.[71]  The BBC World Service claimed that Usmonov dealt with the group exclusively for professional purposes.  Prosecutors reduced the charges following condemnation by U.S. and E.U. officials, and Usmanov was soon granted amnesty and released.[72]  In the same month, four men were sentenced for alleged membership in HTI by Tajikistan’s Soghd Oblast court.[73]  In April, the same court sentenced 11 HTI members (9 Tajikistan citizens and 2 Uzbekistan citizens) to prison terms of 3 to 20 years for participation in a banned organization, inciting ethnic, racial, and religious hatred, and trying to overthrow the government violently.[74]  In more democratic Kyrgyzstan, two women were arrested in October in the capitol Bishkek for their involvement in HTI and propagating religious extremism, but two others were not charged despite promoting an Islamic state in Central Asia.[75]  Central Asia’s governments persist in repressing members of the largely apolitical Pakistani-based global Islamic fundamentalist group ‘Tabligh Jamaat’, which is banned throughout Central Asia and in Russia.  A Kazakhstani judge, Aghyzbek Tolegenov, was fired in September for having ties to the organization, and in October the Kazakh Supreme Court upheld the legality of his release.[76]  In Tajikistan, a member of Tabligh Jamaat, was sentenced to over three years in prison for recruiting followers and allegedly attempting to overthrow Tajikistan’s constitutional system.[77] Even more than Russia, Central Asian governments continue to undertake repressive actions that are likely to consolidate Islamist and jihadist theo-ideologies as the main ideological orientation for opposition-minded citizens.


2011 brought only a slight, even statistically insignificant decline in the level of jihadi violence to the North Caucasus.  The CE mujahedin proved capable of maintaining its core networks based in Chechnya, Ingushetiya, the KBR, and Dagestan.  The last remained the epicenter of CE operations, theo-ideological leadership, and propaganda.  If the CE is the spearhead of jihadism in Russia and Eurasia, which it surely is, then Dagestan is the point on the spearhead.  The network was able to carry out operations in Karachaevo-Cherkessiya, Stavropol, and Moscow and perhaps in North Ossetiya and Astrakhan, where attacks may have been theo-ideologically inspired rather than organized by the CE.  Similarly, in Tatarstan and Bashkortostan jihadi and Islamist activity appears to have been inspired rather than organized by the CE.  In addition to expanded influence across Russia, the CE was also again found to be working in Europe (the DV cell in the Czeck Republic) and maintaining ties to global jihadi groups like the IMU and IJU in Central Asia and Waziristan, Pakistan, confirming its place within the global jihadi revolutionary alliance along with organizations like AQ, its affiliates, Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, the IJU, and the IMU.

In Central Asia, Kazkahstan’s and Kyrgyzstan’s increased jihadi activity more than compensated for a slight decline in jihadi activity across the rest of the region as compared with 2010, marking a diffusion and more even spread of jihadi networks across the region.  The IMU became more active, and IMU and IJU offshoots emerged as well.  Central Asia remained acutely vulnerable to infiltration by IMU and IJU groups based in Afghanstan and Pakistan, showing that like the North Caucasus, Central Asia remains in the radar screen of AQ and the global jihadi revolutionary alliance.  Another key trend appears to have been increased cooperation and overlap between mujahedin in the North Caucasus and Central Asia, in particular between the CE and the IJU as well as perhaps between JaK.


The imminent withdrawal of U.S. and Western troops from Afghanistan combined with this year’s withdrawal from Iraq could lead the CE’s allies in the global jihadi revolutionary alliance to devote even fewer resources towards supporting the CE’s efforts against Russia and to expand internationally.  The late 2011 shura of Al Qa`ida, Afghanistan and Pakistan Taliban, and IMU leaders that decided to combine and concentrate resources on the jihad in Afghanistan and Pakistan underscores this possibility.[78]  On the other hand, smaller groups on the fringes of the AfPak jihad such as the IJU, IMU, and JaK (the emerging Kazakhstani mujahedin) could pool resources with the CE in response to such a move, and this might lead to some better coordinated and improved jihadi capacity across the former Soviet Union.  The purported to plot to assassinate Vladimir Putin involving a Kazakhstani mujahed and two Chechen mujahedin, as discussed in IIPER 53, could be a case in point.

Despite the CE’s expansion into Belgium in 2010 and the Czech Republic in 2011, it remains off the radar screens of most Western state, security and intelligence officials, though some intelligence analysts and military officers are well aware of the emerging threat the CE is posing.  There was only one fleeting allusion to the Caucasus mujahedin in the Worldwide Threat Assessment for 2012 and, moreover that mention came not in connection with the CE’s jihadist activities but in a tangential mention of Russian concern over Georgian interference in the region: “the Kremlin has been suspicious about Georgian engagement with ethnic groups in Russia s North Caucasus.”[79]  Yet ‘extremist’ – that is, jihadist elements – are mentioned in the Assessment in regard to Central Asia, where they are in fact much farther and fewer between:

Central Asia’s ability to cope with violent extremist organizations—especially militants based in Pakistan and Afghanistan—represents an additional focus, particularly in light of the planned US withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2014. The region’s violent extremism is also a growing security concern for Moscow. In 2011, Kazakhstan experienced labor unrest and minor clashes with militants, including the country’s first-ever suicide attack in May. Tajikistan is particularly important due to its extensive border with Afghanistan and its history of internal and cross-border violence. In 2010, Dushanbe had to contend with small groups of militants, an indicator that Tajikistan is also potentially vulnerable.” [80]

Ultimately, the CE’s most potent ally may be the inattention paid by Western security and intelligence officials and analysts to the jihadi nature of the CE and its significant and recently growing capacity as compared to that devoted to other seemingly more dangerous groups.



[1] On the NV Chechens’ return to the CE, ss IIPER, No. 44.

[2] Russia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and (perhaps using adjusted figures) Kavkaz uzel reported a summary total of “more than 300 mujahedin” and 351 killed in the first 11 months of 2011, respectively, and there were few mujahedin killed in December. “Glavkom vnutrennykh voisk MVD: s nachala goda na Severnom Kavkaze unity bolee 300 boevikov,” Kavkaz uzel, 2 December 2011, 14:45, http://www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/articles/196869/.

[3] “Zhitel’ Ingushetii sovershil samopodryv pri zaderzhanii,” Kavkaz uzel, 5 March 2011, 02:57, http://www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/articles/181904/.

[4] “MVD: samopodryv v Makhachkale sovershil zhitel’ goroda Abakar Aitperov,” Kavkaz uzel, http://dagestan.kavkaz-uzel.ru/articles/185229/.

[5] “Chislo pogibshikh ot vzryvov v Groznom uvelichilos’ do devyati chelovek,” Kavkaz uzel, 31 August 2011, 14:22, www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/articles/191731/.  See also “V Dzhokare provedena krupnaya Shakhidskaya spetsoperatsiya,” Kavkaz tsentr, 31 August 2011, 09:21, http://www.kavkazcenter.com/russ/content/2011/08/31/84790.shtml.

[6] “Chislo pogibshikh ot vzryvov v Groznom uvelichilos’ do devyati chelovek,” Kavkaz uzel, 31 August 2011, 14:22, www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/articles/191731/ and “Vlasti Chechni soobshcayut o podryve dvukh smertnikov pri popytke ikh zaderzhaniya v Grosnom,” Kavkaz uzel, 15 February 2011, 15:55, www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/articles/181080/.

[7] “V Ingushetii vo vremya terakta pogib tol’ko smertnik,” Kavkaz uzel, 12 July 2011, 17:55, http://ingushetia.kavkaz-uzel.ru/articles/188877/.

[8] “52 smertnikov podgotovili dlya teraktov v RF,” Life News, 8 June 2011, 13:01, www.lifenews.ru/news/60641.  For the list, see http://ncontent.life.ru/media/2/news/2011/06/60641/1024_1.jpg.

[9] Kazakhstan Suicide Bombing Puts Spotlight on Western Regions,” Eurasianet.org, 24 May 2011, 2:10, http://www.eurasianet.org/node/63549; “Two die in Kazakhstan car blast,” AFP, 24 May 2011, http://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-world/two-die-in-kazakhstan-car-blast-20110524-1f1zk.html; “Suicide Bomber has Shahid Belt in Blast in Kazakhstan,” RETWA, 17 May 2011, www.retwa.com/home.cfm?articleId=11372;  and “Kazakh City Hit By Suicide Blast, First Known Attack Of Its Kind,” Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 17 May 2011, http://www.rferl.org/content/kazakhstan_suicide_bomber/24177028.html and “Suicide bomber attacks Kazakh secret police HQ,” Telegraph, 17 May 2011, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/kazakhstan/8518895/Suicide-bomber-attacks-Kazakh-secret-police-HQ.html.  The second attack, a car bomb, occurred outside the Kazakh security service detention facility in the capitol city of Astana and killed two, but authorities quickly began casting doubt on the version that this second explosion was indeed a terrorist attack.  “Blast Kills Two Outside Kazakh Security Service Building,” Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFERL), 24 May 2011 09:02, www.rferl.org/content/blast_outside_security_service_building_kazakh_capital/24184422.html.

[10] Two of the four men received 14-year jail terms and the other two, who were the leaders, were sentenced to life in prison. “Kazakhstan Imposes Tougher Measures to Stem the Rise of Religious Extremism,” Eurasia Daily Monitor, 21 October 2011, http://soc.kuleuven.be/iieb/cee/aggregator?page=5; “Kazakhs Sentenced For Islamic Extremism And Shoot-Out With Police,” RFERL, 7 October 2011, www.rferl.org/content/kazakhs_sentenced_for_islamic_extremism/24351916.html; Yelena Altman, “Four Sentenced for Jihadi Attacks in Kazakhstan,” IIPER, No. 46, 31 October 2011.

[11] “Kazakhstan: The responsibility for the bombings in Atyrau took the “Soldiers of the Caliphate”,” Fergana News, 1 November 2011, http://www.fergananews.com/news.php?id=17570&mode=snews.

[12] “Kazakh Officials Say Terrorist Group Involved In Atyrau Bombings,” Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty (RFERL), 9 November 2011, http://www.rferl.org/content/kazakh_officials_say_terrorist_group_involved_in_atyrau_bombings/24385923.html.

[13] Gordon M. Hahn, “Sheik Said Abu Saad Buryatskii: New Basaev of the Caucasus,” Islam, Islamism, and Politics in Eurasia Report, No. 1, 3 November 2009, http://www.miis.edu/media/view/19011/original/KAVKAZJIHAD_MonTREPsite_BuryatskiiArticle_3.doc.

[14] “Kazakhstan: The terrorist underground is, and it does not intend to sit idly by,” Fergana News, 23 November 2011, www.fergananews.com/article.php?id=7183 and Yelena Altman and Gordon M. Hahn, “Jihad Comes in Force to Kazakhstan,” IIPER, No. 48, 12 December 2011.

[15] According to Fergana News, Kariyev first shot two employees of the Department of National Security Committee of Dzhambul region, then attacked the owner of a Mazda-626, stole the vehicle, and continued to a gun shop. There, he killed a security guard and fatally wounded a passerby. After picking up semi-automatic weapons, a “Saiga” and CZ”, and ammunition, he managed to kill two police officers. Kariyev continued home where he took an RPG-26 and arrived at the regional department of the National Security Committee. There, he shot at the walls and windows of the building. After 12 hours and 45 minutes of running loose and managing to wound two more officers, Kariyev was finally detained. However, while being arrested he was able to detonate an explosive device killing both himself and the arresting officer. “Kazakhstan: suicide bombers carried out a series of attacks in Taraz. Seven people were killed,” Fergana News, 14 November 2011, http://www.fergananews.com/news.php?id=17619&mode=snews.

[16] “Obrashchenie Kazakhstanskogo dzhamaata ‘Ansaru-d-din’,” Hunafa.com, 10 November 2010, 1:01, http://hunafa.com/?p=3839 and Gordon M. Hahn, “Kazakhstan Jamaat ‘Anasru-d-din’ Issues Call to Jihad,” IIPER, No. 30, 29 November 2010.

[17] “Dzhundallah al-Khalifat o boe v Yuzhnom Kazakhstane,” Kavkaz tsentr, 9 December 2011, 18:35, www.kavkazcenter.com/russ/content/2011/12/09/87270.shtml and see Gordon M. Hahn, “Islamic Brigade ‘Jundallah Al-Khalifat’ Claims Responsibility for Kazakhastan Attacks,” IIPER, No. 50, 25 January 2012.

[18] The video of the obrashchenie disappeared from the right-hand video bar on the CE’s main website Kavkaz tsentr before it could be downloaded by IIPER.  See Gordon M. Hahn, “IJU Video Appeal from Kazakhstani Mujahedin in Waziristan,” IIPER, No. 49, 30 December 2011.

[19] For overviews of CE-IJU ties see Gordon M. Hahn, “Possible CE Plot to Assassinate Vladimir Putin Fioled,” IIPER, No. 53, 12 March 2012 and Gordon M. Hahn, “More Evidence of CE Ties to the Global Jihadist ‘Islamic Jihad Union’,” IIPER, No. , 45, 10 October 2011.

[20] The mujahedin were identified as Daniyar Kylychbekovich Kadyraliev (aka Abduvahab), Sovetbek Adilovich Islamov (aka Baro, Alex), Edil Alymzhanovich Abdrakhmanov, and Kairat Alybekovich (aka Abusalman). “Kyrgyzstan: V Bishkeke rastrelyali troye militsionerov,” Kavkazcenter.com, 5 January 2011, http://www.kavkazcenter.com/russ/content/2011/01/05/77871.shtml.

[21]Kyrgyzstan Kills Militants Claiming They Are Linked To Extreme Islamic Groups,” Fergananews.com, 13 January 2011, http://enews.fergananews.com/article.php?id=2679.

[22] “Kyrgyzstan Starts Large-Scale Anti-Terrorist Operations,” Eurasialift.wordpress.com, 04 February 2011, http://eurasialift.wordpress.com/category/kyrgyzstan/ and “Kyrgyzstan razvernul masshtabnyie antiterroristicheskie operatsii,”Centralasiaonline.com, 1 February 2011, http://centralasiaonline.com/cocoon/caii/xhtml/ru/features/caii/features/politics/2011/02/01/feature-01.

[23] “Powerful bomb placed in Bishkek school, amounted to 1 kg of TNT (Kyrgyzstan),” Regnum.ru, 6 May, 2011, http://regnum.ru/news/1402088.html.

[24] “Suspect held for attempted bombing of Kyrgyz school,” Central Asia Newswire, 13 May 2011,http://centralasianewswire.com/Kyrgyzstan/Suspect-held-for-attempted-bombing-of-Kyrgyz-school/viewstory.aspx? id=4049

[25] “Modzhahedi Kyrgyzstana prisyagnuli Amiry Islamskogo Emirata Afghanistan Myllo Omary,” Kavkaz tsentr, 22 March 2011, 12:51, http://www.kavkazcenter.com/russ/content/2011/03/22/80140.shtml.

[26]Kazakhstan: 18 Persons Arrested For Allegedly Preparation Of Terrorist Acts,” Eurasialift.wordpress.com, 4 September 2011, http://eurasialift.wordpress.com/category/kazakhstan/.

[27] “Kyrgyz Police Kill Bus Hijacker,” RFERL, 08 October 2011, http://www.rferl.org/content/kyrgyz_police_kill_bus_hijacker/24353517.html and “Kyrgyzstan: After Osh Hijacking, Police Target Uzbek Town,” Eurasianet.org, 9 October 2011, http://www.eurasianet.org/node/64290.

[28] “The head of Kyrgyzstan’s security services talks about the creation of the Islamic Movement of Kyrgyzstan,” Fergana News, 03 May 2011, http://enews.fergananews.com/article.php?id=2710.

[29]Kyrgyzstan: On List Of Registered Terrorist 1,279 People,” Eurasialift.wordpress.com, 23 January 2011, http://eurasialift.wordpress.com/2011/01/23/kyrgyzstan-on-list-of-registered-terrorist-1279-people/.

[30] “V Kyrgyzii nablyudaetsya rost religioznogo ekstremizma,” Pravoslavie.ru, 16 January 2012, http://www.pravoslavie.ru/news/50982.htm.

[31] “Turkish terror suspect appeals for political asylum in Kyrgyzstan,” Central Asia Newswire, 11 May 2011, http://centralasianewswire.com/Kyrgyzstan/Turkish-terror-suspect-appeals-for-political-asylum-in-Kyrgyzstan/viewstory.aspx?id=4026.

[32] “Tajikistan: Warlord Ali Bedaki is killed by special services,” Fergananews.com, 5 January 2011, http://enews.fergananews.com/news.php?id=1969&mode=snews and “Tajik troops kill al Qaeda warlord – official,” Reuters, 04 January 2011, http://af.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idAFTRE7032TD20110104?feedType=RSS&feedName=worldNews.

[33] “Tajikistan: Warlord Ali Bedaki is killed by special services,” Fergananews.com, 5 January 2011, http://enews.fergananews.com/news.php?id=1969&mode=snews.

[34] “Northern Tajikistan Tightens Security,” CentralAsiaOnline.com, 08 February 2011, www.centralasiaonline.com/cocoon/caii/xhtml/en_GB/features/caii/features/main/2011/02/08/feature-01.”

[35] Ibid.

[36] “Tajikistan Says Militants Were Behind Attack on Troops,” NewYorkTimes.com, 20 January 2011,  http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/21/world/asia/21tajik.html?_r=1&ref=tajikistan.

[37] “Tajikistan Says Militants Were Behind Attack on Troops,” NewYorkTimes.com, 20 January 2011,  www.nytimes.com/2010/09/21/world/asia/21tajik.html?_r=1&ref=tajikistan.

[38] “Tajik Forces Continue Search For Militant Leaders,” Radio Free Europe: Radio Liberty, 19 January 2011, www.rferl.org/content/tajik_forces_search_militant_leaders/2280540.html.

[39] “Tajik law enforcement authorities characterizes March 8 blast in Dushanbe as terrorist act,” news.tj, 9 March 2011,  http://news.tj/en/news/tajik-law-enforcement-authorities-characterize-march-8-blast-dushanbe-terrorist-act.

[40] “Mullah Abdullao planiroval terakti v Dushanbe,” Central Asia Online, 18 April 2011,
http://centralasiaonline.com/cocoon/caii/xhtml/ru/features/caii/features/main/2011/04/18/feature-02 and “Tajikistan: Islamist Fighters Killed,” Reuters, 15 April 2011, www.nytimes.com/2011/04/16/world/asia/16briefs-ART-Tajikistan.html?_r=2.

[41] “TAJIKISTAN. Marionetki soobshayut o Shahade Amira Mullo Abdullo v rezultate ozhestochennih boyev na vostoke Tadzhikistana,” Umma News, 17:38 15 April 2011, http://ummanews.com/news/last-news/1039-2011-04-15-14-40-15.html.

[42] “Tajikistan: Modzhahedi Tadjikistana vistypili s obrasheniem v svyaze s Shakadoii Amira Mullo Abdullo,” Kavkaz Center,” 21 April 2011, www.kavkazcenter.com/russ/content/2011/04/21/80912.shtml; “Tajikistan: Marionetki soobshayut o Shahade Amira Mullo Abdullo v prezultate ozhestochennuh boyev na vostoke Tadzhikistana,” Umma News, 17:38 15 April 2011, http://ummanews.com/news/last-news/1039-2011-04-15-14-40-15.html; and “New statement from Jamā’at Anṣār Allah Tājīkistān: “On the Martyrdom of Amīr Mullo Abdullo,”Jihadology.net, 24 April,  http://jihadology.net/2011/04/24/new-statement-from-jamaat-an%e1%b9%a3ar-allah-tajikistan-on-the-martyrdom-of-amir-mullo-abdullo/.

[43] “Tajik Militant Group Warns Of New Attacks, Calls For Uprising,” Radio Free Europe, 28 April 2011,  http://www.rferl.org/content/tajik_militant_group_warns_of_new_attack_calls_for_uprising/16796289.html.

[44] “Tajikskiye eksperti usmotrleli v ugrozah novovo dvizheniya “Tadzhikskie modzhahedi” pocherk Uzbekistana,” Regnum.ru, 29 April 2011, http://regnum.ru/news/1399942.html.

[45] “Tajikistan: Begletz ubit, 9 storonnikov Abdullo opredeleni,” Central Asia Online, 19 April 2011, http://www.centralasiaonline.com/cocoon/caii/xhtml/ru/newsbriefs/caii/newsbriefs/2011/04/19/newsbrief-07.

[46] “The last jailbreak fugitive detained in Tajikistan,” Asia Plus, 14 November 2011, http://news.tj/en/news/last-jailbreak-fugitive-detained-tajikistan.

[47] “9 Tajik nationals and two Russians stands trial for escaping from SCNS detention facility,” news.tj, 01 April 2011, http://news.tj/en/news/9-tajik-nationals-and-two-russians-stands-trial-escaping-scns-detention-facility. Most involved in the escape were sentenced to 30 years. Ibrokhim Nasreddinov, Akhmedov and two others were sentenced to life. “Begletzov iz tadjikskogo SIZO prigovorili k pozhiznennomy zaklyucheniyu,” Lenta.ru, 04 May 2011, http://lenta.ru/news/2011/05/04/prigovor/.

[48] “Kyrgyzstan Extradites Alleged Terrorist to Russia,” RFERL, 21 October 2011, http://www.rferl.org/content/kyrgyzstan_extradites_alleged_terrorist_to_russia/24367299.html.

[49] “Moscow mulls extradition of alleged Tajik female extremist,” Central Asia Newswire, 23 May 2011, http://centralasianewswire.com/viewstory.aspx?id=4101 and “Female activist of one of Tajik Islamist groups detained in Moscow,” News.TJ, 30 May 2011, http://news.tj/en/news/female-activist-one-tajik-islamist-groups-detained-moscow.

[50] “Afghanskiye boeviki zastrelili tadjikskogo pogranichnika,” Lenta. Ru, 25 April 2011, http://lenta.ru/news/2011/04/25/border/.

[51] “New Islamist group calls for jihad in Tajikistan,” Universal Newswires, 16 September 2011, http://www.universalnewswires.com/centralasia/tajikistan/viewstory.aspx?id=10205 and “Tajik authorities investigate Jamaat Ansarullah,” Central Asia Online, 29 September 2011,


[52] “Tajik teachers tasked with keeping students out of mosques,” centralasianewswire.com, 12 April 2011, http://centralasianewswire.com/Security/Tajik-teachers-tasked-with-keeping-students-out-of-mosques/viewstory.aspx?id=3800.

[53] “Tajik President Concerned over Expanding Religious Extremism,” CentralAsiaNewswire.com, 11 February 2011, http://centralasianewswire.com/Tajikistan/Tajik-president-concerned-overnbspexpanding-religious-extremism/viewstory.aspx?id=3239.

[54] “Sood Nag Roditelyami,” Ozodi.tj, 13 April 2011, www.ozodi.org/content/article/3555791.html and “Tajik Parents Prosecuted Over Kids’ Foreign Madrasah Studies,” Radio Free Europe, 14 April 2011, www.rferl.org/content/tajik_parents_prosecuted_foreign_madrasah_studies/3557112.html.

[55] “Jihadis Answer Call to Arms,” AsiaTimesOnline.com, 10 February 2011, http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/MB10Df01.html.

[56] “Central Asian militants carry out attacks in Pakistan.”

[57] “ISAF captures Taliban/Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan commander in Afghan north,” Long War Journal, 18 April 2011, www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2011/04/isaf_captures_taliba.php.

[58] “Travel Warning: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE: Bureau of Consular Affairs: Uzbekistan,” U.S. Department of State, 25 April 2011, http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/tw/tw_5441.html.

[59] “Jihadis enraged at Zionist/Crusader occupation of Uzbekistan, plotting attacks on U.S. interests there,” Jihad Watch, April 2011, www.jihadwatch.org/2011/04/jihadis-enraged-at-zionistcrusader-occupation-of-uzbekistan-plotting-attacks-on-us-interests-there.html.

[60]Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan: 52 militants killed during the current year,” sh22y.com, 28 December 2010, http://sh22y.com/vb/t97659.html?language=en.

[61] Thus, Shakhobiddin Shomirzayev of Bekabad, an alleged Islamic extremist, was convicted to a 13 year sentence simply for “circulating extremist literature in Russia and Uzbekistan.  Several others were similarly convicted and sent to prison for terms ranging from 3 to 13 years. “Uzbeks Convicted Of Extremism+ Steps To Combat Extremism In Kazakhstan,” Eurasialift.wordpress.com, December 31, 2010, http://eurasialift.wordpress.com/2010/12/31/uzbeks-convicted-of-extremism-steps-to-combat-extremism-in-kazakhstan/.

[62] “Uzbek authorities shut down 20 religious bookstores,” Central Asian Newswire, 30 March 2011, http://centralasianewswire.com/Uzbekistan/Uzbek-authorities-shut-down-20-religious-bookstores/viewstory.aspx?id=3680.

[63] “Uzbek jihadists’ confessions gained through torture, claims rights group,” Central Asia Newswire, 14 April 2011, http://centralasianewswire.com/Uzbekistan/Uzbek-jihadists39-confessions-gained-through-torture-claims-rights-group/viewstory.aspx?id=3821.

[64]IMU Releases Sixth Video on Activity in Afghanistan,” Site Intel Group, 6 April 2011, http://news.siteintelgroup.com/home/5-articles-a-analysis/290-global-threat-assessment-in-2011; “IMU Releases Sixth Video on Activity in Afghanistan,”  Site Intel Group, 6 April 2011, https://insite.siteintelgroup.com/component/customproperties/show/show?cp_post_type%5B0%5D=jihadist_news&cp_groups=&cp_leaders=&cp_text_search=&submit_search=Search; “IMU Releases Seventh Video on Activity in Afghanistan,” Site Intel Group, 8 April 2011, https://insite.siteintelgroup.com/component/search/?searchword=uzbekistan&ordering=&searchphrase=all; “German IMU Member Eulogizes Former Translator for German Army,” Site Intel Group, 20 April 2011, https://news.siteintelgroup.com/…/628-german-imu-member-eulogizes-former-translator-for-german-army; “German IMU Member Praises Convicted Female Jihadist,” Site Intel Group, 19 April 2011, https://news.siteintelgroup.com/…jihadist…/623-german-imu-member-praises-convicted-female-jihadist; “Jundullah Studies presents a new video from the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan: “The Mujāhid #2”,” Jihadology.net, 11 May 2011, http://jihadology.net/2011/05/11/jundullah-studies-presents-a-new-video-from-the-islamic-movement-of-uzbekistan-%E2%80%9Cthe-mujahid-2%E2%80%9D/; and “Jundullah Studios presents a new video message from the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan: “Usāmah Bin Lāden”,” Jihadology, 09 May 2011, http://jihadology.net/2011/05/09/jundullah-studios-presents-a-new-video-message-from-the-islamic-movement-of-uzbekistan-usamah-bin-laden/.

[65] “Uzbekistan: Government Commission Forms to Investigate Likely Terrorist Blast,” Eurasia Net, 19 November 2011, http://www.eurasianet.org/node/64545 and Uzbekistan: November 17 railway line near the border with Afghanistan explosion,” Fergana, 19 November 2011, http://www.fergananews.com/news.php?id=17660&mode=snews.

[66] “Rail line explosion prompts Uzbek investigation,” Universal Newswires, 21 November 2011, http://www.universalnewswires.com/centralasia/viewstory.aspx?id=10756.

[67] In the district of Burkah in Beghlan province of Afghanistan, an attack was launched against four IMU commanders “including the most senior IMU leader and Taliban liaison” in the province, responsible for several suicide bombings, and mortar attacks, according to the International Security Assistance Force. “ISAF strikes at 4 IMU commanders in ‘safe haven’ in Afghan north,” Longwarjournal.org, 20 March 2011, http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2011/03/isaf_strikes_at_four.php.  In Mazar-e Sharif district, Balkh province, Afghanistan, another IMU operative was captured on March 10, 2011. The leader was involved in “the recruitment and training of suicide bombers.” “Afghan coalition forces target Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan military leader in Balkh province,” ISAF:Nato.int, 11 March 2011, http://www.isaf.nato.int/article/isaf-releases/afghan-coalition-forces-target-islamic-movement-of-uzbekistan-military-leader-in-balkh-province.html.  Ukrainian and Kyrgyz citizens have been arrested for collaborating with the IMU network in North Waziristan, Pakistan. “Taliban fighters disobey orders,” Centralasiaonline.com, 17 March 2011, http://www.centralasiaonline.com/cocoon/caii/xhtml/en_GB/pakistan-features/caii/features/pakistan/main/2011/03/17/feature-02.  A Kyrgyz suspect was one of those arrested in Khost Province, Afghanistan is Bakhtiyor, son of Hotam, known as “Salimullah, son of Kalimullah.” “Afghans arrest Kyrgyz IMU suspect,” Centralasiaonline.com, 17 March 2011, www.centralasiaonline.com/cocoon/caii/mobile/en_GB/features/caii/newsbriefs/2011/03/17/newsbrief-11.  In the North, an IMU leader was targeted in the Dara Soof Payan district, Samangan province, Afghanistan “for direct attacks and IED attacks targeting Afghan civilians and Afghan and coalition security forces.” “ISAF Joint Command Morning Operational Update,” ISAF:Nato.int, 24 March 2011, http://www.isaf.nato.int/article/isaf-releases/isaf-joint-command-morning-operational-update-march-24-2011.html.

[68] “Closed Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan Border ratcheting Up Tensions,” Eurasianet.org. 06 April 2011, http://www.eurasianet.org/node/63237.

[69] “The Growing Threat Of Militants In A Corner Of Central Asia,” Radio Free Europe, 23 April 2011, http://www.rferl.org/content/militants_growing_threat_is_corner_of_central_asia/9503283.html.

[70] “Uzbekistan’s autocratic President has accused the West of funding this year’s Arab uprisings to gain access to oil, gas and mineral reserves, Telegraph.co.UK, 10 May 2011,


[71] “BBC Reporter Sentenced for Links to Islamist Group,” ABC News, 14 October 2011, http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/bbc-reporter-sentenced-links-islamist-group-14738661.

[72] “Tajikistan: BBC reporter gets three years in jail for ties to Islamic supremacist group,” Jihad Watch, 14 October 2011, http://www.jihadwatch.org/2011/10/tajikistan-bbc-reporter-gets-three-years-in-jail-for-ties-to-islamic-supremacist-group.html.

[73] “Tajik Court Hands Out Stiff Sentences To Hizb Ut-Tahrir Members, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFERL), 17 October 2011, http://www.rferl.org/content/tajikistan_hizb_ut-tahrir/24362237.html and “Four Hizb ut-Tahir activists get long jail terms,” Asia-Plus, 15 October 2011, http://news.tj/en/news/four-hizb-ut-tahir-activists-get-long-jail-terms.

[74] “V Tajikistane osydili 11 chlenov Hizb ut-Tahrir,” Lenta.ru, 26 April 2011, http://lenta.ru/news/2011/04/26/hizbut/ and “Tajik court convicts, sentences 11 for HT membership,” Central Asian Newswire, 26 April 2011, http://centralasianewswire.com/Tajikistan/Tajik-court-convicts-sentences-11-for-HT-membership/viewstory.aspx?id=3921.

[75] “Kyrgyz Women Detained For ‘Propagating Extremism’,” RFERL, 5 October 2011, http://www.rferl.org/content/kyrgyz_women_detained_for_propagating_extremism/24349373.html.

[76] “Kazakh Judge’s Sacking For Extremist Ties Upheld By High Court,” Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty, 17 October 2011, http://www.rferl.org/content/kazakh_judge_sacking_for_extremist_ties_upheld_by_high_court/24362604.html.

[77] “Tajikistan sentences recruiter for Islamist group,” Central Asia Newswire, 06 June 2011, http://centralasianewswire.com/Tajikistan/Tajikistan-sentences-recruiter-for-Islamist-group/viewstory.aspx?id=4199 and “Qurghon Teppa resident gets jail term of 3½ years for affiliation with Jamaati Tabligh,” News.TJ, 06 June 2011,


[78] “Khorosan: Modzhakhedy ‘al-Kaida’, ‘Taliban’ i ‘Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan’ ob”edinyayutsya dlya nastupleniya na kharbiev vesnoi 2012,” Kavkaz tsentr, 5 January 2012, 14:35, http://www.kavkazcenter.com/russ/content/2012/01/05/87928.shtml.

[79] James R. Clapper, U.S. Director of National Intelligence, Unclassified Statement for the Record on the Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, 31 January 2012, http://www.odni.gov/testimonies/20120131_testimony_ata.pdf, p. 21.

[80] James R. Clapper, U.S. Director of National Intelligence, Unclassified Statement for the Record on the Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, 31 January 2012, http://www.odni.gov/testimonies/20120131_testimony_ata.pdf, p. 22.



Gordon M Hahn’s article on Russia’s presidential election has been published on the CSIS website. “Why Putin Won: Seven Reasons,” Center for Strategic and International Studies, 14 March 2012, https://csis.org/publication/why-putin-won-seven-reasons.

The CSIS Russia and Eurasia Program published a special report in September 2011 by Dr. Gordon M. Hahn, “Getting the Caucasus Emirate Right” that IIPER readers may find of interest.  It can be downloaded at http://csis.org/files/publication/110930_Hahn_GettingCaucasusEmirateRt_Web.pdf.


* IIPER is written and edited by Dr. Gordon M. Hahn unless otherwise noted.  Research assistance is provided by Yelena Altman, Sara Amstutz, Mark Archibald, Michelle Enriquez, Seth Gray, John Andrew Jones, Casey Mahoney, Anna Nevo, Daniel Painter, and Elizabeth Wolcott.  IIPER accepts outside submissions.



               Islam, Islamism and Politics in Eurasia Report (IIPER) is a project of the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.  It focuses on all politically-relevant issues involving or bearing on Islam, Islamism, and Jihadism in Russia and Eurasia writ large.  All issues of IIPER will soon be permanently archived at http://csis.org/program/russia-and-eurasia-program.  All back issues temporarily remain archived at: http://www.miis.edu/academics/faculty/ghahn/report.

               IIPER is compiled, edited and, unless indicated otherwise, written by Dr. Gordon M. Hahn.  Dr. Hahn is a Senior Associate (Non-Resident) in the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington, D.C., Senior Researcher and Adjunct Professor at the Monterey Terrorism Research and Education Program (MonTREP), Monterey, California.  He is also a Senior Researcher at the Center for Terrorism and Intelligence Studies (CETIS), Akribis Group and an Analyst and Consultant for Russia Other Points of View – Russia Media Watch, http://www.russiaotherpointsofview.com.  He teaches courses on both politics and terrorism in Russia and Eurasia at MonTREP.  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 on any aspect of Islamic, Islamist, or Jihadist politics in Eurasia as well as financial contributions to support the project.  For related inquiries or to request to be included on IIPER’s mailing list, please contact:

Dr. Gordon M. Hahn

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

Email: ghahn@miis.edu or gordon-hahn@sbcglobal.net

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