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Katibat Tawhid wal Jihad (KTJ) (Uzbek)

Central Asians have long been present within the ranks of organisations linked to the global jihad movement, and there has been an acceleration in their recruitment in recent years. There is growing evidence of substantial numbers of Central Asians (mostly Uzbeks and Tajiks) present in Syria in the ranks of the Islamic State and of a number of organisations linked to Al-Qaida.

Jabhat Al-Nusrah is the official branch of Al-Qaeda in Syria. When KTJ announced its Bay'at (allegiance) to Jabhat Al-Nusrah on 29 September 2015, they specifically noted that Jabhat Al-Nusrah "operates as an al Qaeda wing in Syria." It is important to unite against the "American-Russian Safawi alliance against Muslims," the KTJ stated. However, the KTJ has long struggled side by side with Jabhat Al-Nusrah and other Al-Qaeda groups against the Assad regime.

Katibat Tawhid wal Jihad (KTJ) claimed responsibility for the attack on "infidels. Russia "in the Latakia province, The Long War Journal reported 30 September 2015) In a statement released on its official website, the KTJ said that" rocket attacks "caused" serious damage "to the regime of Bashar Al-Assad and" Russian infidels. "at the Hamim military air base. The KTJ statement said the rocket was launched by "jihadi units in northwest Syria," a reference to a formal merger with Jabhat Al-usrah, and that "mujahideen" had carried out "several attacks".

On 27 June 2017, Russias state security organisation, the FSB announced some rather explosive news: Several recent terrorist attacks in Russia were guided from Syria via Telegram, WhatsApp, and other encrypted messenger apps by the Uzbek jihadist group Katibat Tawhid wal-Jihad (KTJ), which was subsumed by what was then Jabhat al-Nusra in late 2015. The FSB asserts that KTJs commander, Sirozhidin Mukhtarov, also known as Abu Saloh al-Uzbeki, using different aliases and travelling between Turkey and Syria, personally guided the St Petersburg metro attack in April 2017, and a simultaneous attempted metro bombing in Moscow, as well as a thwarted May Day attack in 2016.

At the beginning of January 2019, the Central Asian terrorist group Katibat Tawhid wal Jihad (KTJ - Brigade of Monotheism and Jihad, or Holy War and Monotheism Battalion) publicly renewed its bayat (oath of allegiance) to Ayman al Zawahiri, al Qaedas global chief. KTJ is the most active Central Asian group, pursuing combat roles in the Syrian Arab Republic and elsewhere. The former head of KTJ, Sirajuddin Mukhtarov (not listed), left the groups leadership to focus on recruitment and fundraising following an injury in a terrorist operation. Khikmatov (not listed), the new leader, is respected among Central Asian fighters. For most of the past 20 years, he served as deputy to the leader of IJG in Afghanistan. Khikmatovs leadership has made it possible to establish coordination between Afghan and Syrian cells. Regular monthly payments of about $30,000 are made to Afghanistan through the hawala system for IJG.

Each of the regional groups, called katibats - Brigade or Battalion - control some territory. The groups videos show the men living in rough mountain camps, with no permanent structures, and media reports suggest that the leadership is constantly on the move. Such conditions make it extremely hard for the leadership to coordinate or control the activity of its fighters, as every attempt to communicate carries a risk of discovery or interception by the security services. Deep personal rivalries divided the field commanders. The katibats were not necessarily under the control of central leadership, and each was at least partially responsible for supplying and funding its operations.

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Page last modified: 24-02-2020 18:24:07 ZULU