By: Syed Adnan Ali Shah Bukhari
Dated: April 8, 2016
The militants of Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan IMU came to Wana region of South Waziristan Agency of FATA in Pakistan in the end of 2001 when the American and NATO forces invaded Afghanistan following 9/11 attacks in the US. The US invasion began in October 2001 when the Afghan Taliban refused to hand over Osama Bin Laden, the head of Al-Qaeda, who was suspected of involvement in the said terrorist attacks.
In April 2007 the IMU Uzbeks along their local supporters were expelled from Wana area of South Waziristan Agency by Mullah Nazir and Ahmadzai Wazir Taliban with the help of local tribal lashker and Pakistan Army for interfering in local customs and traditions and their involvement in the killing of local tribal elders and Maliks in Wana.
IMU Uzbeks after their expulsion from Wana took shelter in the Mahsud area of South Waziristan. After staying for a year or two in the Mahsud area of South Waziristan they shifted to North Waziristan and remained in North Waziristan till June 2014. Due to the initiation of military operation Zarb-e-Azab by the Pakistani army in North Waziristan to cleanse the Agency of local and foreign militants in June 2014 IMU Uzbeks shifted to Afghanistan.
In Afghanistan IMU Uzbeks under the command of Usman Ghazi joined the Islamic State of Khurasan in November 2014 and cut off their ties with the Afghan Taliban. After joining the ISIS in Afghanistan IMU militants openly began to work against the Afghan Taliban inside Afghanistan and declared the Afghan Taliban as their enemies.
Usman Ghazi, the head of IMU, is the person who released a video about the death of Afghan Taliban commander Mullah Umar two years back in 2013. After releasing the video about the death of Mullah Umar, Usman Ghazi along his supporters joined the ISIS-K. After joining Islamic State Khurasan, Afghan Taliban informed Usman Ghazi group to leave Zabul but Usman Ghazi refused to leave Zabul and chose to stay. This attitude of Usman Ghazi and his IMU greatly angered the Afghan Taliban under the command of Mullah Akhtar Mansur and the Afghan Taliban decided to expel the IMU Uzbeks from Zabal by force.
A force of Afghan Taliban under the leadership of Matiullah Akhund, head of Afghan Taliban Zabal province, launched a attack against the IMU base in the province. The Taliban surrounded Uzbek group bases in the last week of November 2015. A fierce fighting started between the Afghan Taliban and the Uzbeks of IMU in the area. During the firefight more than 150 Uzbek fighter were killed and dozens were injured and more than 90 IMU Uzbeks surrendered to the Afghan Taliban. Usman Ghazi the head of IMU got injured in the fighting and was arrested by the Afghan Taliban and was later killed by the Afghan Taliban.
According to the Islamic State Khorasan (ISK) commanders, Qari Yasir, this is shocking and sad news for all of our fighters in Khorasan that our Uzbek wing led by Usman Ghazi was completely eliminated by the Afghan Taliban. Yasir further said that the Americans and their allies were trying to finish off the IMU but were unable to do so in the last 15 years but Taliban did it within 24 hours and finished off all our Uzbek fighters in Zabul province of Afghanistan.
Some of the IMU militants escaped to Badkhshan and Badghis provinces of Afghanistan but they are weak and insignificant. The women and children of IMU Uzbeks are said to have been freed by the Afghan Taliban in Jalalabad but the male members of IMU who has surrendered to the Afghan Taliban have not been released so far and still in Afghan Taliban custody.
operations in tribal’s areas and pushing all Pakistanis and foreigners militants towards Afghanistan; once again shows that the Afghan Taliban are more important for all powers including America and China and Pakistan; for the reason that all foreigner fighters take refuge in Afghan Taliban control areas same like as before 9/11 attacks. The Uzbeks committed a blunder by separating from the Afghan Taliban and joining the ISIS in Afghanistan. They remained strong and well protected as long as they were allied with the Afghan Taliban but as soon as they switched sides they were finished off in Afghanistan.
Tribal sources inside the Afghan Taliban say that though after announcing the death of Mullah Muhammad Umar, Afghan Taliban faces some difficult time for a few months but now all differences among Afghan Taliban are solved and Mullah Akhtar Mansur has been accepted as the legitimate leader of the Afghan Taliban and the Afghan Taliban are getting stronger with every passing day. Recently the rejection of peace talks meeting Under China, America and Pakistan by the Afghan Taliban is the result of pressure from the operational commander on the ground on Mullah Akhtar Mansur who says that at the moment participation in such peace dialogue is harmful for the unity of Afghan Taliban and first you should unify all the Taliban groups who has separated from the group and then the Afghan Taliban should agree on holding peace talks with the Afghan government and that’s why Mullah Akhtar Mansoor at the moment have no other choice other than to reject the peace talks at the moment.
The sources further confirm Afghan’s army military actions in some parts of Afghanistan against ISIS and Afghan Taliban but they reject its effectiveness against Afghan Taliban and said that the Taliban remain stronger than Afghan government all over Afghanistan, while Afghan government is restricted to the main highway and to some major cities of Afghanistan.