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Central Eurasia and Central Asia Terrorism

Map of Central Asia Terrorism oeprational area


Imirat Kavkaz (IK), founded in late 2007 by now-deceased Chechen extremist Doku Umarov, is an Islamist militant organization based in Russia’s North Caucasus. Its stated goal is the liberation of what it considers to be Muslim lands from Moscow. The group, now led by Abu Usman Gimrinskiy, also known as Magomed Suleymanov, regularly conducts attacks against Russian security forces in the North Caucasus. In the period 2010-2013, it carried out high-profile suicide bombings against civilian targets in Moscow and elsewhere in Russia that killed dozens. The group has been badly weakened by recent defections of senior leaders and fighters to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), and it remains unclear how many extremists remain loyal to IK in the North Caucasus. Nonetheless, at least one militant group fighting Bashar al-Asad in Syria composed partly of North Caucasians remains loyal to IK leadership and Gimrinskiy. The US State Department in May 2011 designated Imirat Kavkaz as a Specially Designated Terrorist Group under Executive Order 13224.

The Islamic Jihad Union (IJU) is an extremist organization that splintered from the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan in the early 2000s and is currently based in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas. The IJU, which is committed to toppling the government in Uzbekistan, conducted two attacks there in 2004 and one in 2009. The IJU is also active in Afghanistan, where the group operates alongside the Taliban-affiliated Haqqani Network. The group has had particular success in recruiting German nationals and achieved international notoriety following the 2007 disruption of an IJU plot by the so-called Sauerland Cell to attack various targets in Germany. The US State Department in June 2005 designated the IJU a Foreign Terrorist Organization.

Imirat Kavkaz flag
Imirat Kavkaz flag

The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) is an extremist organization that formed in the late 1990s and is currently based in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas. The IMU seeks to overthrow the government in Uzbekistan and establish a radical Islamist caliphate in all of “Turkestan,” which it considers to be the Central Asian region between the Caspian Sea and Xinjiang in western China. The IMU has become increasingly active in the Taliban-led insurgency in northern Afghanistan, providing the IMU with a springboard for future operations in Central Asia. A known IMU spokesperson in a video message delivered to Radio Liberty’s Tajik service claimed responsibility for a September 2010 ambush against a military convoy in Tajikistan. The IMU in June 2014 joined Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan fighters in a deadly siege of Karachi International Airport that killed 37. IMU has made public claims in support of ISIL, potentially fracturing their longstanding ties with the Afghan Taliban. The US State Department in September 2000 designated the IMU a Foreign Terrorist Organization.