Center for Strategic Communication


Images from the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan’s martyrdom video for Abu Zubayr al Turki.

The al Qaeda-linked Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan eulogized a Turkish trainer who fought against the Pakistani military and was later killed during fighting in northern Afghanistan.

Jundallah Studio, the propaganda arm of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, recently released the 13 minute and 50 second-long video that announced the martyrdom of “Shahid Abu Zubayr al Turki” on its website, Furqon, as well as other Turkish jihadist websites. The video was obtained and translated by The Long War Journal.

The exact date of Abu Zubayr’s death was not disclosed in the video, but it appears he was killed sometime before June 2011. The video ends with a picture of his child, Abdullah bin Zubayr, who was born in June 2011. A fellow jihadist inferred that Abu Zubayr was killed while attacking a military base in Kunduz province, Afghanistan.

Abu Zubayr is seen in the opening of the video issuing a pre-recorded statement imploring Muslims to wage jihad.

“I’m Zubayr al Turki. I urge you to embrace the cause and ask God to continue on this path and help Muslims in the name of the religion, for jihad. May God give you patience and takva [fear and love of Allah]. I want to continue to help Muslims and urge you to do the same. That’s all I have to say.”

The video then shows images from training camps that are dated between 2008 to 2010. Images dated June 2008 show fighters training at the first camp, which is not identified. More images are shown from the summer of 2009 at “Kalkale.” A third set of images, dated August 2010, shows fighters conducting weapons training at “Badr.”

Abu Zubayr is eulogized by several IMU members, including Abu Usman Adil , the group’s emir. Adil noted that al Turki fought the Pakistani military.

Another IMU member known as Musab al Turki described Abu Zubayr as a skilled military trainer, and said he was killed while fighting in Kunduz province, Afghanistan.

“He was a good soldier who trained newcomers to the jihad in Afghanistan,” Musab said. “He was so good that he was especially requested by those in Kunduz to train newcomers to the jihad. So he went to Kunduz to train them. They conducted a successful attack on a military camp. He was shot in the head by a bullet during this operation. But his fighters took over the camp and as a result of the operation, and killed 18 infidel ANA [Afghan National Army] soldiers.”

Another unnamed IMU member also described Abu Zubayr as a military trainer.

“He always said that he would try to help with military causes, that was his strength, and he did,” the IMU member said.

Abu Zubayr was also eulogized by Yassin Chouka, a German citizen originally from Morocco who is better known as Abu Ibrahim al Almani and is prevalent in the IMU’s propaganda. Chouka’s statement was issued in Arabic.

The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan is a key ally of al Qaeda and the Taliban, and supports operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan, as well as plots attacks in Europe. The IMU is known to fight alongside the Taliban in Afghanistan and has integrated into the Taliban’s shadow government in the north. [For more information on the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, see LWJ report, IMU cleric urges Pakistanis to continue sheltering jihadis in Waziristan.]

The IMU has been a prime target of special operations forces in Afghanistan. So far this year, special operations forces have conducted at least 22 raids against the IMU, in Badakhshan, Baghlan, Faryab, Logar, Helmand, Kunduz, Takhar, and Wardak, or eight of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces, according to International Security Assistance Force press releases compiled by The Long War Journal.

This spring, ISAF killed the two previous IMU leaders for Afghanistan, in raids just a few weeks apart in Faryab province. [See LWJ report, Special operations forces kill newly appointed IMU leader for Afghanistan, for more information.]

Kunduz has been a key hub of IMU activity in the Afghan north. Five of the 22 raids this year have taken place in Kunduz. The last such raid, on July 7, resulted in the capture of two IMU leaders who were involved in suicide operations.