Central Asian Militancy

A Primary Source Examination

More than a decade after 9/11, Western forces in Afghanistan are drawing down and the ability of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) to secure their country remains uncertain. Within this context, the risk of reconstituted militant safe havens in Afghanistan cannot be ignored. If the Afghan security transition does go awry, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) and an IMU splinter group called the Islamic Jihad Union (IJU) could become more dangerous to Western interests. Both groups remain active in the Afghanistan-Pakistan theater and may use northern Afghanistan as a springboard for extending the banner of Sharia north of the Amu Darya River, the natural boundary separating Afghanistan from post-Soviet Central Asia.

The purpose of this report is to shed light on the IMU and IJU through an analysis of their media. What does the propaganda produced by these groups tell us about their ideology, the background of their fighters, their operational activities, and other important issues? Addressing these questions can help analysts and policymakers anticipate how the IMU and IJU may respond to a changing operating environment in Afghanistan.

Duncan Fitz is a senior consultant with Monitor 360, a consulting firm specializing in geostrategic challenges.

Sung In Marshall

Duncan Fitz

Thomas M. Sanderson