Counter-Terrorism: Come To Afghanistan And Die


April 14, 2012: The IMU (Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan) is having a hard time in Afghanistan. In the past two months it lost several senior leaders during NATO raids in northern Afghanistan. The most crucial man lost was the financier and coordinator of suicide bombings and roadside bomb attacks. These operations are most often carried out by teams of skilled mercenaries who will keep at it as long as they are paid. While some of these guys are true believers, what they do requires money (to buy explosives, equipment, and the services of many people who may not be religious fanatics). When the money man gets killed or captured it can take weeks or months to get a new one going. The money man usually does not share information on contacts or donors. Since Israel developed the tactic, over a decade ago, of concentrating on the money guy, these shadowy individuals have become marked (and often dead) men. Then there's the stealing. Even Islamic radical organizations have to worry about corruption and the money man has to worry about larcenous terrorists more than he does lethal retribution.

The IMU still has hundreds of members, but most of them have fled Uzbekistan for more hospitable refuges in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Unfortunately, these areas are under increasing attack, causing many IMU members to consider returning home. The Central Asian states to the north know that and have prepared for the growing number of IMU members trying to return. Despite that, the IMU does have a slim chance of getting a more active Islamic terror campaign going in Central Asia. Having spent time in Islamic terrorist refuges in the south, IMU members have come into contact with survivors from so many other Islamic radical groups (from Egypt, Russia, Algeria, Indonesia, the Philippines, Israel, Iraq, Libya) that were defeated, sending most of the survivors fleeing to any foreign refuge they could find. The lucky ones got to the West, the less fortunate or more fanatic went to Afghanistan (in the 1990s) or the tribal territories of Pakistan (after September 11, 2001). There they shared what they knew.

With the Pakistani tribal territories becoming increasingly dangerous for Islamic radicals, especially foreign ones, IMU members going home realize that this may be a fatal journey. So many took refuge in northern Afghanistan, where they are now under growing pressure from Afghan and NATO counter-terrorism forces. The IMU would be a lot larger, given the unhappiness Central Asian tyrants have created, but they have been unable to find a sanctuary in which to train and recuperate. The IMU was constantly hammered over the last decade and their only hope is that foreign troops will indeed leave Afghanistan after 2014, and the Afghan government will be unable to crush the IMU, or be willing to take a payoff to tolerate Central Asian terrorists in their midst.


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