Terrorism in Uzbekistan

Terrorism in Uzbekistan

Terrorism in Uzbekistan is more prevalent than in any other Central Asian state. Prior to the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, posed the greatest threat to the Karimov administration. The organization was classified as terrorist by the United States. [cite web
title=Redesignation of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan as a Foreign Terrorist Organization
author=Richard Boucher
date=September 25, 2002
publisher=United States Department of State
] Since the invasion the IMU has been greatly weakened due to U.S. military actions which cut off their supply of resources [http://www.dcaf.ch/_docs/CentralAsia_terror/Ch.7.pdf Republic of Uzbekistan against terrorism: Approaches, experiences, prospects] Geneva Center for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces] and killed their leader, Juma Namangani. [http://www.rferl.org/features/2003/10/30102003165203.asp U.S.: Diplomat sees growing terrorism challenge in Central Asia] RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty]

The largest terrorist attacks were the 1999 Tashkent bombings, IMU invasions of 2000-2001, and Tashkent attacks of March and July 2004.

tate terrorism

Human Rights Watch estimates there are over six thousand Uzbeks in prison for practicing Islam outside of the state-run religious establishment. [http://hrw.org/english/docs/2004/02/17/uzbeki7481.htm Status of International Religious Freedom: An Analysis of the State Department's 2003 Annual Report] Human Rights Watch] After visiting Uzbekistan in 2002 the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture found torture and ill-treatment of prisoners to be systematic. [http://web.amnesty.org/report2004/uzb-summary-eng Uzbekistan] Amnesty International]

According to HRW, "In addition to hundreds of reports of beatings and numerous accounts of the use of electric shock, temporary suffocation, hanging by the ankles or wrists, removal of fingernails, and punctures with sharp objects, Human Rights Watch received credible reports in 2000 that police sodomized male detainees with bottles, raped them, and beat and burned them in the groin area. Male and female detainees were regularly threatened with rape. Police made such threats in particular against female detainees in the presence of male relatives to force the men to sign self-incriminating statements. Police also regularly threatened to murder detainees or their family members and to place minor children in orphanages. Self-incriminating testimony obtained through torture was routinely admitted by judges, who cited this as evidence, often the only evidence, to convict. Courts did not initiate investigations into allegations of mistreatment by police." [http://www.hrw.org/wr2k1/europe/uzbekistan.html Uzbekistan, Human Rights Developments] Human Rights Watch]

Human rights organizations have detailed the improper "imposition of capital punishment" since Uzbekistan's independence. [http://www.extrajudicialexecutions.org/communications/uzbekistan.html Uzbekistan: Visits and Communications] Project on Extra Judicial Executions, New york University School of Law]

Huseyincan Celil

Uzbek government officials said on 5 May 2006 that evidence proved that Huseyincan Celil, a Canadian citizen, and Guler Dilaver, an Uyghur terrorist wanted for terrorism in China and Kyrgyzstan, are the same person. When Uzbek police arrested him he had documentation identifying him as Celil, but the Interpol National Central Bureau in Tashkent supports the Uzbek government's position. The Kyrgyz government wanted Dilaver extradited for his involvement in the March 2000 slaying of Nigmat Baizakov, head of the Uyghur Society in Kyrgyzstan, and the Chinese government wanted him for the May 2000 attack on a state delegation Xingjiang. [http://www.rferl.org/featuresarticle/2006/05/3bd42cf1-1e6d-4d4a-bc47-7b9f047cbc4a.html Uzbekistan identifies alleged Uyghur terrorist] RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty]


On February 16, 1999, six bombs exploded in Tashkent, killing 16 and injuring more than 100. The IMU was blamed. [ [http://www.iicas.org/english/Krsten_4_12_00.htm Unraveling the Mystery of the Tashkent Bombings: Theories and Implications* ] ]


The Uzbek government agreed on 7 October 2001 to allow U.S. troops and planes to use Uzbekistan's airspace and stay at Karshi-Khanabad airbase in return for "urgent" bilateral security talks with the United States if Taliban fighters spread fighting north into Uzbekistan. They agreed in a joint statement to "eliminate international terrorism and its infrastructure. For these purposes, the Republic of Uzbekistan has agreed to provide the use of its airspace and necessary military and civilian infrastructure of one of its airports, which would be used in the first instance for humanitarian purposes." A week earlier Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld visited Uzbekistan and met with President Islom Karimov. Karimov agreed to assist the U.S. in the War on Terror by lending Karshi-Khanabad for "humanitarian" search and rescue missions. Taliban officials warned the Uzbek government that they would be attacked if they helped in the U.S. invasion. 1,000 U.S. were sent to Karshi-Khanabad between Rumsfeld's visit and the second agreement of 7 October. At the same time the Taliban sent 10,000 troops to the Afghanistan-Uzbekistan border. An spokesman for the Uzbek Foreign Ministry said, "Concentrating 10,000 troops on the border would be a dangerous tactic for the Taliban, because they would become targets for US bombing raids." State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said Uzbekistan is "a country that we've worked with for many years in the past to help them with border security, to help them with anti-terrorism efforts and (there are) terrorism and threats coming at them from Afghanistan." [http://www.cdi.org/russia/johnson/5489-13.cfm US, Uzbekistan confirm deal on anti-terror military cooperation] Center for Defense Information]


Aspects of terrorism

Chris Seiple, the President of the Institute for Global Engagement, said in April 2004 that recent terrorist attacks, while planned in advance, were "prematurely implemented with several not taking place" and only targeted Uzbek government officials with suicide bombings. Police consistently acted quickly to remove signs of the attack. Officials from the local police, Interior Ministry, and the National Security Service manned checkpoints at the same time because rival clans, which each runs their own department, do not trust each other. Seiple said the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and Hizb ut-Tahrir may have been involved. [ Implications of Terrorism in Uzbekistan] Institute for Global Engagement] Igor Rotar, a journalist and human rights activist for Forum 18, said "we can only guess as to who is behind the recent terrorist acts in Tashkent – the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, Hizb ut-Tahrir, or some other radical Islamic organization." [http://jamestown.org/terrorism/news/article.php?articleid=236626 Terrorism in Uzbekistan: A self-made crisis] Jamestown Foundation] Svante Cornell, an expert on Central Asia at Sweden's Uppsala University, said, "The reigning assumption is that this is a work done by the most prevalent armed opposition to the government, which is the Islamic extremists. [It could be] in the form of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, which has a known track record for armed uprising. It could be linked to international terrorism with Al-Qaeda -- which does not exclude the IMU, which was tightly linked to Al-Qaeda. And a third version is that it's a splinter group of Hizb ut-Tahrir, which is a self-avowed peaceful grouping but which has been showing signs of not being as united in Central Asia as in other parts of the world." [http://www.cdi.org/russia/johnson/8147-18.cfm Uzbekistan: Who's Behind The Violence?] Center for Defense Information]

March-April violence

The IMU launched a series of attacks in Tashkent and Bukhara in March and April 2004. Gunmen and female suicide bombers took part in the attacks, which mainly targeted police. The violence killed 33 militants, 10 policemen, and four civilians. [ [http://www.rferl.org/reports/centralasia/2004/04/14-070404.asp Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty ] ] The government blamed Hizb ut-Tahrir [ [http://www.cacianalyst.org/view_article.php?articleid=2299 Central Asia - Caucasus Analyst ] ] , though the Islamic Jihad Union (IJU) claimed responsibility. [ [http://www.rferl.org/featuresarticle/2007/09/6ec8adad-f98f-413d-95e1-776074d74a24.html Germany: Authorities Say Uzbekistan-Based Group Behind Terrorist Plot - RADIO FREE EUROPE / RADIO LIBERTY ] ]

Embassy bombings

On July 30, 2004, suicide bombers struck the entrances of the U.S. and Israeli embassies in Tashkent. Two Uzbek security guards were killed in both bombings. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/3532518.stm BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | US FBI joins Uzbek blast inquiry ] ] The IJU again claimed responsibility. [ [http://www.rferl.org/featuresarticle/2007/09/6ec8adad-f98f-413d-95e1-776074d74a24.html Germany: Authorities Say Uzbekistan-Based Group Behind Terrorist Plot - RADIO FREE EUROPE / RADIO LIBERTY ] ]

Cooperation with Kazakhstan

Andijan massacre

Nazarbayev, while on a state visit to Uzbekistan, told Uzbek President Islom Karimov that the Uzbek government's actions in quelling unrest in the Uzbek city of Andijan on 12 and 13 May 2005 helped "protect the peace of 26 million Uzbekistanis. A different outcome would have destabilized the region today." He said that because terrorists had taken over government buildings and prisons, Karimov could not respond differently to the unrest, and other governments had responded similarly in the past. The Uzbek government attributed the unrest to Islamic extremist groups recognized as terrorist organizations in Uzbekistan. The Uzbek government estimated 187 people, made up of 94 terrorists, 60 civilians, 31 policemen, and two others died, and 76 terrorists were injured. Human rights groups dispute the government's estimate, accusing Uzbek security forces of killing about 700 civilians. [http://en.rian.ru/world/20060322/44646267.html Authorities' actions during Andijan riot justified - Nazarbayev] RIA Novosti] Ikrom Yakubov, a former major in the Uzbek secret services who defected, alleged that President Karimov himself ordered the troops to fire on the protestors, and that 1,500 were killed. He also claimed that the instigation was a false flag operation, and that the Uzbek government itself had "propped up" the Islamic group Akramia, whom Uzbek authorities blamed for initiating the incident. [ [http://www.rferl.org/content/Former_Uzbek_Spy_Seeks_Asylum/1195372.html Former Uzbek Spie Accuses Government Of Massacres, Seeks Asylum] 1 September 2008, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty]

Extradition of terrorist suspects

On 5 July 2005 Human Rights Watch called upon the Kazakh government to refrain from handing over Lutfullo Shamsudinov, the Andijan representative for the Human Rights Society of Uzbekistan, then held in Almaty, to the Uzbek government. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees had given Shamsudinov refugee status and planned to resettle him when Kazakh authorities detained him on 4 July. Earlier that day President Karimov visited Kazakhstan along with other regional nations' representatives as part of a Shanghai Cooperation Organization meeting. The Uzbek government requested Shamsudinov's extradition, charging him with five criminal charges including premeditated murder. Holly Cartner, executive director of the Europe and Central Asia division of Human Rights Watch, said, "Kazakhstan should step forward and protect this brave man. Instead of that, the authorities seem ready to hand over a refugee to be tortured, in blatant violation of international law." In response to statements made by a representative for the Almaty city prosecutor's office, in which the representative called Shamsudinov a terrorist, Cartner said, "The terrorist accusation is a perversion of international concerns about terrorism and an attempt to block international support for Shamsudinov. In reality, he is someone who worked tirelessly towards the rule of law in Uzbekistan." [http://hrw.org/english/docs/2005/07/05/kazakh11270.htm Kazakhstan: Do Not Deport Uzbek Human Rights Advocate] Human Rights Watch] Russia also deported an asylum seeker to Uzbekistan, Rustam Muminov, and Kyrgyzstan deported five Andijan-refugees - Jahongir Maqsudov, Yoqub Toshboev, Odiljon Rahimov, Rasuljon Pirmatov, and Fayoz Tojihalilov - to Uzbekistan in early August 2006. An Uzbek court later found Muminov, accused of participating in the unrest in Andijan, guilty of membership in Hizb ut-Tahrir and sentenced him on 15 March to five years and six months in prison. [http://www.mosnews.com/news/2006/10/25/uzbekdeported.shtml Russia Deports Asylum Seeker to Uzbekistan Despite Death Penalty Threat] MOS News] [http://www.rferl.org/featuresarticle/2006/08/47c5248f-294b-4f80-8ef5-986ed2e1e14e.html Kyrgyzstan: Five More Andijon Refugees Extradited To Uzbekistan] RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty] [http://www.rferl.org/featuresarticle/2007/3/90B144D0-7C8B-48AE-969B-65CD51355490.html Uzbekistan jails Hizb Ut-Tahrir member] RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty]

ecurity fence

Kazakh border officials began building a 28-mile long fence on the border with Uzbekistan on 19 October 2006. [http://www.rferl.org/featuresarticle/2006/10/f82907ac-59f0-4a12-8269-a140c8782ee9.html Kazakhstan To Fence Section Of Border] RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty] "The New York Times" reported that the fence will be "eight-foot-high [with] barbed-wire" and searchlights "along heavily populated towns and cities on the southern ridge" where drug smugglers operate. The area is a "flash point in a larger regional struggle against Islamic militants." [http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/20/world/asia/20briefs-008.html?_r=1&oref=slogin Kazakhstan: Fence for Part of Uzbek Border] The New York Times]

The governments of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan first created national border guard forces in 1992 and January 1998 respectively, far earlier than other post-Soviet Union nations. The Kazakh government raised the force in status, ending the State Security Committee's control until the Committee regained control in 1998. [http://www.dcaf.ch/pfpc/ev_reichnau_041105_papers_golunov.pdf Border security in Central Asia: Before and after September 11] Geneva Center for the Democratic control of Armed Forces]

Other Central Asian nations have had border disputes in the past. Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan had serious "issues" regarding their mutual border until May 2004. The Turkmen Foreign Ministry released a statement on 31 May saying disputes had been resolved. [http://www.rferl.org/specials/turkmenelections/timeline.asp Dates Related to Elections, Officials, and Policy] RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty]

Erik Roslyakov, second in command of Kazakhstan's southern border, said the fence will cover the Sariaghash and Maktaaral districts. Larisa Dmitriyuk, spokeswoman for Kazakhstan's border administration, said the border patrol's "task will now be easier. We will be in a position to use our weapons, as it is the rule when one wants to catch [trespassers] ."

In addition to tightening security, Bruce Pannier of "Payvand" noted increased military spending to strengthen Kazakhstan's border with Uzbekistan and Kyrgystan. [http://www.payvand.com/news/04/apr/1182.html Central Asia: Is Uzbekistan The Source Of Regional Extremism?] Payvand]

Cooperation with Pakistan

Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed, Chairman of the Pakistani Senate's Foreign Relations Committee, gave a speech to the Institute of Strategic and Regional Studies, a think tank run by the Uzbek government, on 13 January 2007. He discussed Pakistan-Uzbekistan relations and counter-terrorism cooperation between both countries, specifically how both countries, as neighbors of Afghanistan could work together to prevent it from becoming a center of terrorism and drug trafficking. Chairman Sayed suggested an annual dialogue between state-run think tanks to discuss counter-terrorism. [http://www.app.com.pk/en/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2038&Itemid=2 Pakistan and Uzbekistan to cooperate in campaign against terrorism: Mushahid] Associated Press of Pakistan Corporation]

Drug trafficking

Drug trafficking in Central Asia is a major source of funding for terrorist organizations, second only to direct donations of military equipment and financing from state sponsors of terrorism. The Tajik government asked Russia on 15 May 2004 to begin withdrawing some of its 20,000 troops from Tajikistan's border with Afghanstan. The withdrawal of troops concerned the U.S. government because the troop presence helped prevent cross-border drug trafficking. [http://www.cdi.org/program/issue/document.cfm?DocumentID=2250&IssueID=48&StartRow=31&ListRows=10&appendURL=&Orderby=DateLastUpdated&ProgramID=39&issueID=48 Action Update: May 24-June 6, 2004] Center for Defense Information]

President Karimov and Tajik President Imomali Rakhmonov said drug trafficking in Afghanistan needed to be solved by forces within the country on 28 May 2004. Illegal drug traffickers make a total $3.5 billion annually. [http://www.cdi.org/program/issue/document.cfm?DocumentID=2250&IssueID=48&StartRow=31&ListRows=10&appendURL=&Orderby=DateLastUpdated&ProgramID=39&issueID=48 Action Update: May 24-June 6, 2004] Center for Defense Information]


External links

* [ Threats of Islamic Extremism and formulation of Uzbekistan's foreign policy]

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