The Department of Justice arrested an Uzbek national living in Idaho today and charged him with supporting the al Qaeda-linked Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and possessing an “unregistered destructive device,” or bomb. Fazliddin Kurbanov faces charges in both Idaho and Utah, and is accused of conspiring to train others to purchase components to assemble a bomb.
Kurbanov is “legally present in the United States” at the time of his arrest and is currently living in Boise, Idaho, the Justice Department said in the press release that announced his arrest. He has been charged with “conspiracy to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization,” the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, and “to terrorists,” as well as “possessing an unregistered destructive device.”
The Idaho indictment alleges that between August 2012 and May 2013, Kurbanov conspired with others, “both known and unknown,” to provide funds and computer software to the IMU. These items were “to be used in preparation for and in carrying out an offense involving the use of a weapon of mass destruction.”
Additionally, he “possessed a destructive device consisting of a combination of parts intended for use in converting any device into a destructive device could be readily assembled.” Those parts included “a hollow hand grenade, hobby fuse, aluminum powder, potassium nitrate and sulfur.”
The Utah indictment claims that Kurbanov trained others to “make explosive devices.”
Kurbanov “showed internet videos, conducted instructional shopping trips, provided written recipes and gave verbal instructions on where to obtain the necessary components to construct and use improvised explosive devices.” The Justice Dept. said that the bombs were intended to be used “at a place of public use, a public transportation system or infrastructure facility; or destroying a building in interstate commerce.”
It is unclear if Kurbanov was in direct contact with the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan’s network in Pakistan, Afghanistan, or in Central Asia.
The IMU has sought to conduct attacks in the West in the past. In 2009, a Mumbai-styled plot in Europe that was ordered by Osama bin Laden was foiled by Western Intelligence services after an IMU operative was captured in Afghanistan.
The US has heavily targeted the IMU in Afghanistan this year. So far, there have been 27 raids in 2013 against the IMU’s network in the Afghan north. The IMU has integrated its operations with the Taliban in Afghanistan.