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Uzbekistan’s struggles with Islamist groups predate the formation of the country, as several Islamist groups were active in the former Soviet state before the collapse of the USSR. Uzbek militant groups hold sway and significant throughout the wider theater of Central Asia, most notably the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU). Prior to his death in 2016,1 President Islam Karimov attempted to control Islamists in Uzbekistan, with varying degrees of success. Karimov was succeeded by former Prime Minister Shavkat Mirziyoyev,2 and he may well continue in Karimov’s efforts. Central Asia in general, and Uzbekistan in particular, has been a prominent source of foreign fighters traveling to Iraq and Syria to join the Islamic State and other jihadi groups, despite the Uzbek government’s attempts to stem the flow. 

Level of Islamist Activity: 
Medium
Islamist Activity: 

For most of the quarter-century since it declared independence from the USSR, Uzbekistan has been an active arena for a range of Islamist groups. These groups vary in their ideologies, objectives and methods. All, however, share the broad goal of transforming Uzbekistan from its current status as a secular authoritarian regime into a state based upon, and governed by, sharia law.

Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) 

The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) is one of the most important militant groups in Central Asia. The IMU grew out of an amalgam of Islamist groups that were active in the 1990s, most notably the Adolat (Justice) group, which was formed by Tahir Yuldashev and Jumabai Hodgiev (aka Juma Namangani). Adolat (Justice), formed in 1991, had the aim of building an Islamic state in Uzbekistan.3 On December 8, 1991, Adolat organized an unauthorized rally an captured the office building of the Namangan regional committee of the Communist Party of Uzbekistan, subsequently levying an ultimatum to Uzbek authorities and demanding President Islam Karimov swear on the Koran and proclaim the establishment of an Islamic state.The resulting government clampdown led to thousands of arrests, prompting an exodus of Islamic radicals from Uzbekistan to Tajikistan.5 In 1992, former Uzbek president Islam Karimov banned Adolat, and Yuldashev and Hodgiev fled to Tajikistan.6 

About two thousand Uzbeks are estimated to have left the country during the 1990s, with many of them subsequently taking part in Tajikistan’s civil war on the side of the United Tajik Opposition (UTO).7 In Tajikistan the Namangan Battalion (NB) was formed (named after the majority of the group’s members, which hailed from the city of Namangan in the Fergana Valley) in 1992. Jumabai Hodgiev became the commander of this militia, which established a network of military bases and training camps for the IMU in northern Tajikistan, mostly in the Jirgatal and Garm regions. The Namangan Battalion was well-armed  and developed a special system of training, focusing on guerrilla warfare, sabotage and terrorist activities. Uzbek instructors as well as instructors from Islamic organizations in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kashmir, and some Middle East countries worked at NB’s Tajik bases. Many of them collaborated with foreign intelligence services, most prominently the Pakistani ISI.8

During the 1990s, Yuldashev and others traveled to Afghanistan, where they made contact with alumni of the Afghan jihad and established training camps for Uzbek militants.9 These contacts created an avenue for radicalization, and the following years saw a number of Uzbek militants pass through Afghan training camps before returning to Uzbekistan to destabilize the country. Yuldashev and Hodgiev officially formed the IMU by 1998.10 Following the formation of the IMU, Tahir Yuldashev became its political leader, or emir, while Jumabai Hodgiev became the head of its military wing and Zubair ibn Abdurahman (Abdul Rahim) became the head of its press center and an assistant to Yuldashev. The organization’s headquarters were established in Peshawar, Pakistan, but later relocated to Kabul, Afghanistan.

NB militants trained in the IMU camps in Tajikistan and abroad, mostly in Afghanistan and Pakistan. These camps formally belonged to Islamist organizations such as al-Qaeda, Harkat-ul-Ansar, Hezb-e-Islami, Harkat-ul-Mujahideen Tablighi Jamaat, the Taliban and others. However, in most cases, instructors were Uzbek Islamists affiliated with the Bin Laden network, as well as specialists from Pakistan’s ISI.11 In total, during the 1990s more than a thousand militants of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan received military training in training camps in these two countries.12 

Notably, creating a militia between 500 to several thousand fighters, especially including all the necessary support, clothes, equipment, and arms, poses a significant financial challenge. Accordingly, analysts presume that significant foreign funding aided in the effort.13 Thereafter, the IMU financed its activities in Central Asia, as well as in other regions, primarily through the support of international Islamist organizations and donations from wealthy members of the Uzbek diaspora in Afghanistan, Turkey and Saudi Arabia. Beginning in the mid-1990s, Uzbek Islamist opposition leaders bolstered this aid with active fundraising activities, with the aim of generating support for a powerful military-political structure. 

In 1999, the IMU commenced an organized insurgent campaign against the Uzbek state.14 Its strategy was not to conduct large-scale violence against Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, but to seize power through terrorism, sabotage, and banditry, all meant to destabilize the country. Its armed incursions in the region continued until U.S. counterterrorist operations in Afghanistan in 2001 weakened the Taliban and al-Qaeda. The IMU also suffered heavy losses in that campaign, including the death of its leader Jumabai Hodgiev near Mazar i-Sharif in November 2001. 

The IMU survived by rebranding itself the Hizb Islami Turkestan, or the Islamic Party of Turkestan. This organization, which was led by Tahir Yuldashev, maintains the same outlook and ambitions as its precursor. Estimates of its strength vary; according to Pakistani officials, Yuldashev could command as many as 4,800 Uzbek militants, as well as "groups of Chechens, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, [and] Uighur militants of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement."15 The organization is currently believed to be most active in Afghanistan and parts of Pakistan. Yuldashev himself was reportedly killed in August 2009 in South Waziristan as a result of a U.S. Predator drone strike.16 His death appears to have resulted in a downturn of the group’s militant activities, with the last large-scale attack by the IMU being the September 19 2010 ambush on a convoy of government troops in the valley Kamarob of Tajikistan that killed 25 Tajik troops.17

Nevertheless, elements of the IMU have remained active, particularly in Afghanistan, where the group remains an ally of both the Taliban and al-Qaeda. In 2012, the International Security Assistance Force and the Afghan armed forces conducted 26 raids against the IMU in eight Afghan provinces—Badakhshan, Baghlan, Faryab, Logar, Helmand. Kunduz, Takhar and Wardak—with eight of them occurring in Kunduz province alone.18

  However, on July 31, Abu Talut, self-described as a former member of the Taliban, announced that the IMU had broken away from the Taliban and announced that the Islamic Movement Uzbekistan had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State. Within a week, on August 6, 2015, the IMU made their change of affiliation official, releasing a video depicting IMU leader Uthman Ghazi and his fighters pledging allegiance to IS.19 The IMU statement declared that the Taliban "cannot be trusted," and accused the Afghan militant group of collaboration with Pakistan's spy agency, the Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).20

The IMU’s August pledge to the Islamic State placed the organization in the center of conflict with Taliban. In December 2015 pro-Taliban Sabiq Jihadmal declared the death of Ghazi in a Twitter message that claimed to show Ghazi’s corpse. “On the following day, a pro-IMU fighter gave an account of the group’s downfall and elimination. In a message posted on Twitter on December 10, 2015, the jihadist, Tahir Jan claimed that the Taliban and Afghan government entered into an agreement in Zabul to destroy the remainder of the IMU. The Taliban’s forces quickly laid siege to the Uzbek’s bases, slaughtering hundreds of IMU partisans. Although Ghazi was able to escape, his hiding place was quickly discovered and he was captured.

Jan described the consequences of forsaking the Taliban:

The former Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan has almost been completely destroyed unfortunately, and maybe less than 10% of those who were in the fronts or on other assignments remain after the events of Zabul.21

 Not all of these militants are driven by ideology; many of them are known to join foreign jihads in order to earn money.22 According to various estimates, approximately 500 to 3,000 citizens of Uzbekistan are currently fighting in the ranks of the various jihadist groups all over the world, with many mobilized through social media.23 

Akramiyya
The founder of Akramiyya, Akram Yuldashev, was born in 1963 in Andijan, Uzbekistan.24 A teacher by profession, his 1992 treatise “Lymonga Yul” emphasizes that the ultimate goal of his organization is the assumption of power and the creation of an Islamic state.25 Members of Akramiyya called themselves birodarami, or brothers, but the people of Central Asia know them as akramists. There are now said to be tens of thousands of such “brothers.”26 The organization first appeared in the Ferghana Valley in 1998, where—motivated by the ideology of Hizb ut-Tahrir—it espoused a selective reading of the Koran, arguing in favor of sharia as the answer to the modern, "unfavorable" period for Muslims in Central Asia. Yuldashev is said to have structured the activities of his group in five phases, beginning with the indoctrination of new members, extending to the accumulation of wealth for charitable Islamic works, and concluding with the gradual, "natural transition" to Islamic rule in Uzbek society.27  

Ideologically, Akramiyya is an outgrowth of the Ahl al-Quran movement which existed in the 1940s in Uzbekistan. Members of this movement categorically refused to recognize the teachings of other Sunni schools (mazh'hab). They adhered to very austere views, rejected the "Soviet way of life" and did not recognize official clergy. Members of Akramiyya believe only in Allah, and do not worship the Prophet Mohammed; they also do not recognize any nation in the world. They ignore state laws, renounce their parents, and subject themselves exclusively to the direction of the group’s leaders.28 Most Akramiyya members are of Uzbek nationality. Its members are mostly businessmen with small agricultural enterprises, funds and industrial warehouses. The organization is known to control dozens of commercial firms, which do business under a unified leadership.

Authorities in Tashkent have been targeting Akramiyya for some time. Yuldashev was sentenced in the spring of 1998 to two-and-a-half years in prison for violating Article 276 (drug possession) of the Uzbek Criminal Code.29 In late December of the same year, he received amnesty, only to be arrested again the day after a bombing in Tashkent in February 1999. In May 1999, Yuldashev was sentenced to 17 years in prison under several articles of the Uzbek Criminal Code: 155 (terrorism), 156 (incitement of religious hatred), 159 (encroachment on constitutional system), 161 (sabotage), 216 (unlawful association), 216-1 (luring into an illegal organization), 242 (organization of a criminal association), 244-1 (dissemination of materials against public safety), 276 (drug possession) and 248 (possession of weapons, ammunition and explosives).30 During the same period (1998-1999), 22 other young members of Akramiyya were given various terms in prison.31 As of this writing, Yuldashev remains jailed in Tashkent. 

The organization continued to exist until the Andijan massacre of 2005, when some of its members were shot by state security forces for participating in riots. In its aftermath, many members of fled from Uzbekistan through Kyrgyzstan to the West, leading to the gradual dissolution of the group.

Hizb ut-Tahrir (HuT)
Unlike the IMU, Hizb ut-Tahrir (HuT) is a truly transnational movement that enjoys considerable support among young Muslims in Western Europe and has a broad organizational base in London. Hizb ut-Tahrir (HT) was founded in 1952 by Sheikh Taqiuddin al-Nabhani in Jordanian-ruled East Jerusalem. Al-Nabhani died in 1977 and was succeeded by Abu Yusuf Abdul Qadim Zallum, another Palestinian cleric.32 Zallum left HT’s leadership in March 2003, due to his deteriorating health, and died in April 2003. He was succeeded by Ata Ibnu Khaleel Abu Rashta, who previously served as the party’s official spokesman in Jordan. Abu Rashta, alias Abu Yasin, is a Palestinian who is believed to have lived most recently in the West Bank. The main goal of the HT movement is to recreate the Caliphate, the Islamic state formally brought to an end in 1924 following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. Although it claims to be nonviolent, HT acknowledges that violence may eventually be necessary in order to overthrow the regimes standing in the way of the Caliphate. It is anti-Semitic and anti-American, and disseminates a radical Islamist ideology fundamentally opposed to democratic capitalism and to Western concepts of freedom. While HT as an organization does not engage in terrorist activities, it does operate as an ideological vanguard that supports and encourages terrorist acts.33 The dissemination of HuT’s ideas in Central Asia began in early 1990. In Uzbekistan its membership is estimated to range from 7,000 to 60,000. Reports claim that Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan have somewhere between 3,000 and 5,000 members each, while Kazakhstan has about 300 members.34

There is no evidence that HuT has engaged in violent action.. The group pursues a utopic Islamic state, but rather than using violence, it proposes a three-step plan. First, HuT wishes to educate as many Muslims as possible about its positions and goals. Second, those newly-educated Muslims would share HuT’s ideologies with other people in their countries and communities, thus expanding HuT’s influence. Third, and finally, this aggregate of the faithful will cause the collapse of secular government. HuT wishes to enact this collapse not through violence, but rather through a shift in loyalty; rather than nations, politics, or ethnicities, people’s loyalties will lie with Islam.35  

  The ideology of HuT was imported to Uzbekistan in 1955 by a Jordanian named Atif Salahuddin. That same year, the organization was officially founded in the city of Tashkent, and subsequently in the Andijan, Samarkand, Tashkent and Fergana provinces of Uzbekistan. HuT cells were mostly composed of local youth. Members of HuT were distinguished not so much by their desire for strict adherence to Islamic norms, but by their religious and political activities. Young people enjoyed the opposition position of the party and open discussion of political issues inside the party. HuT acquired adherents first in Uzbekistan, and then migrated to neighboring Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan. In these states, the party first recruited its followers among ethnic Uzbeks, but gradually young ethnic Kyrgyz, Tajiks and Kazakhs became involved in HuT, causing a rapid expansion of the group during the late 1990s.

From 1991 to 1999, HuT was a legal organization in Uzbekistan.36 Its activities did not attract the attention of Uzbek authorities until May 1998, when party members began to distribute leaflets in public places. The response was rapid; between August and November of 1998, at least 15 members of the Tashkent branch of the party were arrested. Mass arrests of members of HuT throughout Uzbekistan began the following year. “Approximately 6,800 to 7,300 persons were arrested between 1999 and 2001 on suspicion of Islamic extremism or terrorism.37 

Following the events of September 11, 2001, many members of HuT in Uzbekistan went underground, fearing large-scale retaliation. The group has largely continued to operate covertly to this day, as a result of unprecedented (and often violent) persecution on the part of Uzbek authorities. In recent years, the group has exhibited only nominal activity within Uzbekistan, although experts caution that this lull may be temporary in nature.38 Elsewhere in the region, however, HuT has expanded its activities. As authorities in Uzbekistan ratcheted up their counterterrorism efforts, party activists were forced to seek refuge among Uzbek communities in neighboring countries, primarily in Kyrgyzstan, to where the headquarters of the party has moved.

Islamism and Society: 

Although the majority (88 percent) of Uzbekistan’s population of 28.6 million is Muslim, most of them Sunni, this cohort by and large prefers a secular state system. Muslim leaders in Uzbekistan have demonstrated themselves to be very critical of HuT, and have argued that the movement is essentially a political rather than religious organization, and that Muslims should not be engaged in politics. Former Uzbek President Islam Karimov's intolerance of the group “seemed to catch on with Kazakh, Kyrgyz, and Tajik authorities, who stepped up their repression of the group, arresting, trying, and convicting dozens of members for distributing leaflets and other nonviolent activities.”39 However, some imams do not want to alienate members of HuT from their mosques, because the number of parishioners determines the level of donations (Sadaka-Fitr and zakat) that flow into their coffers.

While most moderate Muslims in Uzbekistan reject the goals and ideology of the movement, they tend to sympathize with its members because of the repression the latter face at the hands of local authorities, and as a result of the movement’s efforts to draw attention to official corruption. HuT leaflets highlighting corruption, inequality and oppression tend to find a receptive ear among the Uzbek population, and especially among its more disadvantaged members. The organization’s call for social justice, meanwhile, appears to resonate at a grassroots level among a population that routinely experiences hardship and privation. Nevertheless, neither the IMU nor HuT can claim widespread support anywhere in Central Asia. Both organizations appeal only to a small fraction of the regional population—and then this support is localized, strongest in parts of the Fergana Valley, possibly in south Uzbekistan, and in some areas of Tajikistan. While it is impossible to accurately determine the level of this support, Uzbek observers place the current number of active supporters of these groups at less than 10 percent of the regional population.40

Most ordinary Muslims in Uzbekistan do not support political activities in mosques, and do not share radical Islamist ideas. Nevertheless, the scale of support received by radical groups may expand if dissatisfaction with the current political and economic system increases. Support for HuT and other extremists in Uzbekistan is fed more by disappointment with the state of contemporary politics than by a conscious commitment to extremist ideology. After years of government repression, many have been discouraged from trying to use the available ways to protest against the government and the injustices of modern society. Thus, a more radical route holds appeal. 

Islamism and the State: 

In September 2016, Uzbekistan underwent a political sea change with the death of its longtime president, Islam Karimov. Karimov, the leader of the Uzbek Communist Party during the Soviet era, became president after Uzbekistan’s independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.41 

Virtually from its formation, Karimov’s government strived to control the Uzbek population, and temper the political and religious activism of the Uzbek people. In the early 1990s, the government launched a series of measures to eliminate all secular opposition groups, and thereafter directed its attention toward Islamic associations. The government feared that any form of religious expression not controlled by the state could serve as a vehicle for popular discontent. This pattern has continued uninterrupted for the past two decades; state intelligence agencies work to eliminate and marginalize those Islamic leaders who do not share the official vision of religion as an instrument of a state policy. Uzbek security forces, meanwhile, routinely utilize the most repressive methods against Islamic organizations, often failing to differentiate between radical groups like the IMU and more grassroots-oriented ones like Akramiyya. Adherents to all of these organizations are subject to arbitrary arrest and torture, based upon suspicions of extremism.42 

Today, the Uzbek government continues to prosecute anyone engaged in activity regarded as the uncontrolled expression of the Muslim faith. This state repression, however, has been coupled with a subtle and surprisingly sophisticated “soft power” approach to combating Islamist ideology. This approach finds its roots in the nature of Central Asian Islam itself, where the dominant branch of Sunni Islam is the Khanafi school—one of the most tolerant and liberal in that religion. Its pluralistic and largely apolitical disposition is one of the main reasons that Khanafi believers survived and avoided mass repression during the Communist era, when Soviet ideologues sought to eliminate doctrinal competition with Marxism-Leninism. 

This approach leverages an asset shared by the Central Asian states: a strong knowledge base with which to fight radical Islamists. Since gaining independence, the countries of the region have managed to educate considerable numbers of knowledgeable experts in Islam. Moreover, in these countries, the Koran and Hadith have been translated into local languages, and many academics and imams are applying their knowledge on a practical level. By necessity, Central Asian governments, especially those in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, have created and developed an extensive educational system—spanning from kindergarten to university level—that inculcates the moral norms and social principles of tolerant Islam, and which respects the value of human life (be it Muslim, Christian, Jewish, or other). The system provides textbooks for schools, cartoons for children, education for imams of local mosques, a network of counselors in Islamic affairs for central and local administrations, and television and radio talk shows that challenge the intolerant Wahhabi interpretation of the Koran and Hadith and provide listeners with a religious alternative.43

Mobilization of Foreign Fighters 

Central Asian and Russian foreign fighters make up a third of the total jihadis that travel to Iraq and Syria.44 The exact number of Uzbek fighters is difficult to estimate, especially when considering the intricacies of the divide between ethnicity and nationality. Some estimates of Uzbek nationals fighting in Iraq and Syria are as high as 500.45 But the number of ethnic Uzbek fighters could exceed 1,500.46 The Uzbek government is trying to stem the tide of Uzbeks traveling abroad to fight in Iraq and Syria. 

Radio "Ozodlik" (Uzbek service of Radio "Liberty") reported that at the end of 2015, Uzbek authorities introduced the passport regime in Tashkent. This regime implies that law enforcement agencies were massively checking passports of citizens, registering rented apartments, conducting interviews with citizens who had recently returned from abroad and those who were registered by authorities for their religious beliefs. In some instances, citizens were detained during these "conversations" in the mahalla committees (self-government units).

Lieutenant-Colonel Uktam Murodova from the Ministry of Interior stated that the Uzbek law enforcement agencies had reliable information about citizens who traveled abroad for a long time and now were back home. Several arrests of these Uzbeks in late 2015 confirmed this statement. The Independent Human Rights Defenders of Uzbekistan announced that from October 29 to November 18, 2015, more than 200 people were arrested on suspicion of involvement in "ISIS activities". Activists from human rights groups reported about detention of believers who returned to Uzbekistan from abroad that happened in Tashkent and Tashkent region, as well as in Namangan, Kokand and Fergana.

At the end of 2015, there were attempted attacks on the diplomatic offices of foreign states, located in the Uzbek capital. In particular, on the morning of September 28, 2015, attackers threw two Molotov cocktails into the US Embassy in Tashkent, and the Embassy was forced to shut down for several hours. 

On September 4, 2015, there was an explosion near the mosque "Tukhtaboy" in Almazar district of Tashkent. In April 2015, pro-ISIS leaflets were distributed at the Transport and Service college in the Tashkent region. Firdaus Salimov, an 18-year-old former student, was arrested and charged with distributing the leaflets. The Uzbek court sentenced him to 9 years in prison.47

Uzbek authorities pay great attention to strengthening their police and internal security agencies to counter the internal extremist Islamic terrorist organizations. But at the same time, Tashkent does not focus its efforts on external Islamic threats, especially from the Afghani Taliban. This is manifested in the lack of attention to its own military capabilities. The number of ground troops is only 40 thousand (about 0.01% of the population). Despite the fact that Tashkent inherited a huge storage Soviet base in Termez, it is armed today with only 170 old T-72 and T64 tanks, plus a small number of T-80 tanks. Uzbek Air Force also heavily degraded and now Uzbek strike aircrafts are reduced to two dozen Su-25, supplemented by few combat-ready fighter: 12 Su-27 and 13 MiG-29. Low pay, hazing and corruption are flourishing in the Uzbek arms forces. In general, Uzbekistan will not be able to cope with a serious military challenge alone.48 According to Uzbek political analyst Farhod Tolipov: “external threats for Uzbekistan are not so great that may make us to expect any offensive of some enemies of the country, only for the reason that in Uzbekistan we have the new president.”49

According to Vladimir Sotnikov, director of the independent Russia-East-West Center for Strategic Analysis in Moscow, the IMU will move swiftly to exploit any instability in Uzbekistan after the death of President Islam Karimov:

“Though the group's leaders are living in exile in Pakistan, it maintains considerable strength among the ethnic Uzbek population of northern Afghanistan, and could be capable of launching raids inside Uzbekistan as it did in the past… There are also a lot of Uzbek jihadis who've grown disillusioned with the prospects in Uzbekistan and gone off to fight with the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. For now the domestic situation appears quiet. But there is a possibility that Islamist militants could rise again.”50

Citations: 

[1] “Islam Karimov: Uzbekistan president’s death confirmed,” BBC, September 2, 2016, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-37260375.
[2] “Uzbekistan’s new leader promises major government reshuffle,” Reuters, December 14, 2016, http://www.reuters.com/article/us-uzbekistan-president-idUSKBN1431LN?feedType=RSS&feedName=worldNews.
[3] Igor Rotar, “The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan: A Resurgent IMU?” Jamestown Foundation Terrorism Monitor 1, iss. 8, December 17, 2003, http://www.jamestown.org/single/?no_cache=1&tx_ttnews[tt_news]=26187. 
[4] Orozbek Moldaliyev, Islam i Politika: Politizatsiya Islama ili Islamizatsiya Politiki? (Islam and Politics: The Politicization of Islam of the Islamization of Politics?) (Bishkek: n.p., 2008), 269; See also A. Starkovsky, “Armia Izgnanikov, Chast I” (Army of Outcasts, Part I) freas.org, January 18, 2004, http://freeas.org/?nid=2367; Vitaly Ponomarev, Ugroza “Islamskovo Ekstremisma” v Uzbekistane: Mifui i Realnosti (The “Islamic Extremist” Threat in Uzbekistan: Myth and Reality) (Moscow: Memorial, 1999).
[5] Ibid; See also Res Publica, September 15-21, 1998.
[6] Thomas M. Sanderson, Daniel Kimmage, and David A. Gordon, From the Ferghana Valley to South Waziristan: The Evolving Threat of Central Asian Jihadists, 2010, CSIS Transnational Threats Project, pg 6, https://csis.org/files/publication/100324_Sanderson_FerghanaValley_WEB_0.pdf.
[7] Michael Falkov, “Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU): History, financial base and a military structure,” Nezavisimaya Gazeta (Moscow), August 24, 2000.
[8] Michael Falkov, “Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU): History, financial base and a military structure,” Nezavisimaya Gazeta (Moscow), August 24, 2000.
[9] Moldaliyev, Islam i Politika, 271
[10] Thomas M. Sanderson, Daniel Kimmage, and David A. Gordon, From the Ferghana Valley to South Waziristan: The Evolving Threat of Central Asian Jihadists, 2010, CSIS Transnational Threats Project, pg 6, https://csis.org/files/publication/100324_Sanderson_FerghanaValley_WEB_0.pdf.
[11] Moldaliyev, Islam i Politika, 271.
[12] Moldaliyev, Islam i Politika, 271.
[13] Author’s interview with former IMU member, Osh, Kyrgyzstan, August 11, 2004; See also Alex Alexiev, “Oil Dollars to Jihad: Saudi Arabia Finances Global Islamism,” Internationale Politik 1 (2004), 31.
[14] Thomas M. Sanderson, Daniel Kimmage, and David A. Gordon, From the Ferghana Valley to South Waziristan: The Evolving Threat of Central Asian Jihadists, 2010, CSIS Transnational Threats Project, pg 7, https://csis.org/files/publication/100324_Sanderson_FerghanaValley_WEB_0.pdf.
[15] Author’s interview with Pakistani researcher, Almaty, Kazakhstan, July 24, 2009.
[16] Bill Roggio, “Tahir Yuldashev Confirmed Killed In U.S. Strike In South Waziristan,” Long War Journal, October 4, 2009, http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2009/10/tahir_yuldashev_conf.php
[17] “Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan,” Country Reports on Terrorism 2010, U.S. State Department, Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism, August 18, 2011,  www.state.gov/j/ct/rls/crt/2010/170264.htm.
[18] “Afghanistan: IMU leader detained in Kunduz,” Fergana News Agency, August 14, 2012, http://www.fergananews.com/news.php?id=19262&print=1, 08.14.2012
[19] INSITE on Terrorism, “2015 Retrospective: How the Fall of the IMU Reveals the Limits of IS’ Expansion” by Margaret Foster, https://news.siteintelgroup.com/blog/index.php/submissions/21-jihad/4498-2015-retrospective-how-the-fall-of-the-imu-reveals-the-limits-of-is-expansion 
[20] “IMU Declares It Is Now Part Of The Islamic State” by Merhat Sharipzhan, RFE/RL, August 06, 2015, http://www.rferl.org/a/imu-islamic-state/27174567.html 
[21] Ibid.
[22] “В Узбекистане показали фильм о молодежи, попавшей в ИГИЛ,” Regnum, December 2, 2015, https://regnum.ru/news/2025694.html
[23] “Самосуд общественности в Узбекистане,” Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty, February 1, 2016, http://rus.ozodi.org/a/27523134.html
[24] Bakhtiyar Babadjanov, “Akramia: A Brief Summary,” Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, May 2006,http://www.carnegieendowment.org/files/Akramiya.pdf
[25] Ibid.
[26] Author’s interview with Uzbek expert on Islam B. Babadzhanov, Tashkent, Uzbekistan, September 14, 2009.
[27] Ibid.
[28] Author’s interview with Uzbek expert on Islam I. Mirsaidov, Tashkent, Uzbekistan, September 16, 2009
[29] Moldaliyev, Islam i Politika, 286.
[30] Ibid., 286-287.
[31] Ibidem.
[32] Ahmed Rashid, “Reviving the Caliphate”, in Jihad: The Rise of Militant Islam in Central Asia (New Haven: Penguin Books, 2003), p. 119.
[33] Zeyno Baran, "Radical Islamists in Central Asia," in Current Trends in Islamist Ideology, eds. Hillel Fradkin, Husain Haqqani, and Eric Brown, vol. 2 (Washington, D.C.: Hudson Institute, 2005) http://www.hudson.org/content/researchattachments/attachment/1175/20060130_current_trends_v2.pdf 
[34] Zeyno Baran, "Radical Islamists in Central Asia," in Current Trends in Islamist Ideology, eds. Hillel Fradkin, Husain Haqqani, and Eric Brown, vol. 2 (Washington, D.C.: Hudson Institute, 2005), 46: http://www.hudson.org/content/researchattachments/attachment/1175/20060130_current_trends_v2.pdf 
[35] “Hizb ut-Tahrir al-Islami (Islamic Party of Liberation),” Global Security, n.d., http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/para/hizb-ut-tahrir.htm 
[36] “From the "Hizb ut-Tahrir" to "Googoosh": the opposition in Uzbekistan is building alliances?” EADaily, September 15, 2016, http://eadaily.com/ru/news/2016/09/15/ot-hizb-ut-tahrir-do-gugushi-oppoziciya-v-uzbekistane-stroit-alyansy
[37] US Department of State, “Country Reports on Human Rights Practices” Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 2002, March 31, 2003, https://2009-2017.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2002/18400.htm 
[38] Author’s interview with Uzbek expert on Islam М.P., Tashkent, Uzbekistan, September 11, 2009.
[39] Europe and Central Asia Overview: Human Rights Watch World Report 2003, 2003, https://www.hrw.org/legacy/wr2k3/europe.html.
[40] Timur Kozukulov, Problemy Borby s Religioznim Ekstremismom v Usloviakh Globalizatsiyii v Ferganskoy Doline (Problems of Combating Religious Extremism in the Ferghana Valley under Globalized Conditions) (Osh, Kyrgyzstan: Oshskii Gosudarstviniy Universitet, 2008), 72.
[41] Krishnadev Calamur, “Islam Karimov's Legacy,” The Atlantic, September 2, 2016, http://www.theatlantic.com/news/archive/2016/09/islam-karimov-dead/498533/.
[42] See, for example, United Nations Human Rights Committee, “Human Rights Committee Concludes Consideration of Uzbekistan’s Third Report,” March 12, 2010, http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2010/hrct719.doc.htm.
[43] For a detailed analysis of the “soft power” counterterrorism approaches of Central Asian states, see Evgueni K. Novikov, Central Asian Responses to Radical Islam (Washington, DC: American Foreign Policy Council, 2006).
[44] Uran Botokbekov, “ISIS and Central Asia: A Shifting Recruiting Strategy,” The Diplomat, May 17, 2016, http://thediplomat.com/2016/05/isis-and-central-asia-a-shifting-recruiting-strategy/.
[45] Uran Botokbekov, “ISIS and Central Asia: A Shifting Recruiting Strategy,” The Diplomat, May 17, 2016, http://thediplomat.com/2016/05/isis-and-central-asia-a-shifting-recruiting-strategy/.
[46] Uran Botokbekov, “ISIS and Central Asia: A Shifting Recruiting Strategy,” The Diplomat, May 17, 2016, http://thediplomat.com/2016/05/isis-and-central-asia-a-shifting-recruiting-strategy/.
[47] “Uzbek Interior Ministry calls on citizens not to succumb to rumors about ‘ISIS,’" Ozodlik, December 21, 2015.
[48] Eugene Pozhidaev, “Risks and prospects of post-Karimov Uzbekistan,” EADaily, September 26, 2016, http://eadaily.com/ru/news/2016/09/29/evgeniy-pozhidaev-riski-i-perspektivy-postkarimovskogo-uzbekistana
[49] “There will be no storm in Uzbekistan: EADaily interview with political analyst Farhod Talipova,” EADaily, September 12, 2016, http://eadaily.com/ru/news/2016/09/12/uzbekistan-shtormit-ne-budet-intervyu-politologa-farhoda-tolipova-eadaily
[50] Fred Weir, "Uzbek president's failing health raises Islamist worries," Christian Science Monitor, August 29, 2016, http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Europe/2016/0829/Uzbek-president-s-failing-health-raises-Islamist-worries