- Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) pledges allegiance to the IS leader.
- IMU together with it Chief Uthman Ghazi and its fighters have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (IS), leader AbuBakr al-Baghdadi.
- This comes after months of IMU propaganda in support of the militant’s terror activities.
- IMU has approximately 5,000 fighters under its command.
IMU pledging allegiance to IS comes days after the death of Taliban leader Mullah Omar was announced.
Although the IMU had no formal alliance with the Taliban militants, the IMU maintained close operational links with the group, particularly in northern Afghanistan.
The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan terrorist group has reportedly sworn allegiance to the Islamic State.
In a video posted on IMU controlled TV on July 31, a figure identified as the group’s spiritual leader, Sheikh Muhammad Ali, stands in front of the black flag of IS and pledges loyalty to the organization.
The rest of the video that runs for 16 minutes shows IMU militants carrying out attacks at army post in Zabul province which borders Pakistan.
Usman Ghazi has been the IMU’s leader since 2012.
Forecast & Summary
This is the first time the IMU’s central leadership has formally sworn allegiance to ISIS though it is not the first report of IMU-linked militants allying themselves with ISIS.
In September 2014, Ghazi pledged support to Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, criticizing Mullah Omar.
IMU had stated that their group no longer viewed Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar as a leader since he had not been seen in public since 2001. According to sharia (Islamic law) he can longer be leader.
In the coming days there may be conflict between the IMU and Taliban leadership and they may cut operational links between the two jihadists groups.
Although Central Asian leaders like to present the IMU as a threat to the region, the organization has not led a successful attack north of Amu Darya and allying with Islamic state may boost the militant’s image.