Al-Qaeda and the IMU

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Dushanbe, Tajikistan —  This evening I met with a prominent Tajik researcher specializing in regional security. This source confirmed that al-Qaeda has partnered with Central Asian militants, integrating both Tajik and Uzbek militants into its shura council. He also noted that recruitment by the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) accellerated following the violence in Osh, Kyrgyzstan last summer.

My source also made a few general observations about the kinds of individuals who are recruited by IMU and similar organizations. According to him, most of these recruits are young men with poor living standards, limited opportunity struct…ures, and no clear direction in life. Many are vulnerable to ideological radicalization, and tend to demure to charismatic personalities. Thus while some of these militants become true believers, a certain portion find themselves forced to choose between exile abroad, imprisonment at home, or living a life of perpetual jihad.