by Florian Flade
Two weeks ago, the Pakistan-based terrorist organization “Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan” (IMU) released its newest German-language propaganda video. According to IMU it is only the first part of a several new videos dealing with life and Jihad in the Pakistani tribal areas.
Though the 50-minute long piece of Jihadi propaganda – which of course featured German Jihadi brothers Yassin and Mounir Chouka – does not contain much new information about the situation in Waziristan or the current stage of German militants in the terror training camps, there is some quite interesting content worth mentioning. Here is what I noticed watching the new IMU-video:
The New German
IMU claims there is a steady stream of German nationals – including whole families and single women – coming to Pakistan to join the group in the Jihad against the Pakistani military and NATO-forces in Afghanistan. In reality, the number of those Islamists migrating from Germany is far lower than IMU wants its Internet supporters to believe. Nevertheless the latest video from Waziristan indeed shows a new German recruit named “Abu Laith”.
The man´s face is blurred but from his speech one can tell he is probably from among the second or even third generation of Muslim immigrants – born and raised in Germany. At the moment German counter-terrorism officials are trying to figure out if the real identity of “Abu Laith” is known.
IMU and the Tehrik e-Taliban
Of course it is not a secret that the Uzbek-founded IMU and the Pakistani Tehrik e-Taliban (TTP) are close allies, sharing training camps, fighters and resources. In the newest IMU-video three high-ranking TTP leaders are featured, two of them seen alongside IMU-fighters and leadership.
Wali ur-Rehman, TTP´s No.2 man, is seen giving a speech to a group mixed up with Taliban and IMU militants somewhere in the mountains of North Waziristan. He was choosen by the TTP Shura as the deputy leader of the organization.
Ur-Rehman´s boss, Hakimullah Mehsud, the Amir of TTP and Pakistan´s most-wanted terrorist, is seen in the new IMU footage, visiting the IMU´s new Uzbek leader Uthman Adil. Hakimullah Mehsud even tells some personal anecdotes on how he met and experienced the late IMU-leader Tahir Yuldashev (alias “Qari Tahir Jaan”), who was killed in a US-drone attack in 2009.
“The mujahideen of Tahir Jaan”, Hakimullah says, “have taught us the meaning of Jihad, long before I had ever heard of it (…) The blood of Tahir Jaan will awake thousands of new Tahir Jaans.”
Jihad in Tajikistan
IMU-Trainingcamp November 2010
A prison-break set free a number of IMU-members in Tajikistan last year. Only a few weeks later, on September 19 2010, militants attacked Tajik military targets including an army convoy in the Rasht Region, near the border with Afghanistan, killing at least 23 Tajik soldiers.
IMU´s streaming in to North Afghanistan has been described by many observers. From Waziristan the group tries to infiltrate Afghanistan and then declaring Jihad against the state governments of the former Soviet Republics of Central Asia – IMU´s Jihad is coming back to it´s birthplace.
The German militant Mounir Chouka confirms for the first time IMU´s Tajikistan agenda.”We have an army at the service of the Muslims, Chouka says, “Right now it is taking part in the Jihad of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Tajikistan.”
Qari Hussain´s Face
For the first time ever, the IMU´s German propaganda tape reveals the face of the Pakistan Taliban´s chief trainer for suicide bombers – Qari Hussain. The notorious militant ranks high on Pakistan´s most-wanted list and has avoided cameras and the media spotlight in the past. Hussain contacted Pakistani journalists several times via phone but refused being filmed.
IMU´s German spokesman Mounir Chouka describes Qari Hussain as “one of the heroes of the Jihad in Pakistan”.
IMU´s Arab Propaganda Chief?
During one scene of the new IMU video – labeled as a history lessons about Jihad in Waziristan – a militant named “Sheikh Abu Ahmad al-Madani”, with his face hidden under a Keffiyah scarf, appears sitting in front of a laptop computer. He is allegedly part of IMU´s media staff. The name reference “al-Madani” is not a clear indicator of where this Arab IMU fighter is from, but usually “al-Madani” refers to someone originating from the Arabian-Peninsula, often from Yemen.
Question is: How many Arabs are among IMU? It seems not all Arab Jihadis coming to Waziristan are ending up in al-Qaida.
“Islamic Emirate of Waziristan”
Gun Shop in Waziristan
German-born Jihadi Mounir Chouka tells the viewer of a fairytale Islamic Emirate being build by the mujahideen in Waziristan at this very moment. “We have our own treasury, doctors, hospitals, schools, judges, pharmacies, our own intelligence agency (…) there are gun shops”, Chouka claims, “We even have our own unit responsible for the well-being of the Muhajiroun, about 30 brothers tasked only with this work.”
IMU fighting German Troops in Afghanistan
German Spy Drone – Shot Down (?) in Kunduz
At least since IMU released a video in 2010, showing their members fighting in the North Afghan province of Kunduz fighting German troops, the presence of IMU in that region of Afghanistan is known and confirmed. IMU it seemed from the propaganda tape, was responsible for one of the deadliest attacks on German soldiers in Afghanistan. The so-called “Good-Friday Incident” was a bloody ambush on a German military convoy in the Char Darrah district of Kunduz in which three German soldiers were killed when an IED exploded next to a DINGO military vehicle.
In the latest IMU-video a German military drone is seen, allegedly shot down in summer of 2010. Worth noting is: German military admitted it had lost a drone during a survaillance flight due to technical failure. The spy plane was later discovered and taken by Taliban forces.
Last but not least – IMU presents a trailer for the next part of the video series, featuring a Western Jihadi training in Waziristan. The masked man has a strong English accent and my guess is he is most likely a Asian immigrant from either the United States or Australia.