Tajik rebels join al Qaeda

By Bill Roggio

November 23, 2009 10:49 PM

Members of a Tajik military unit that turned against the government a decade ago have have joined the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and al Qaeda.

An unknown number of fighters who were loyal to rebel leader Mahmud Khudoyberdiyev joined the regional and global terror groups and have been fighting the Tajik government, the deputy chief of the Tajik National Security Committee said at a regional forum held earlier this month.

Khudoyberdiyev was a colonel in the Defense Ministry and led a brigade of troops. He led an unsuccessful uprising in 1997 and took control of a northern city in 1998 before fleeing to neighboring Uzbekistan.

It is “unclear” if Khudoyberdiyev himself has joined al Qaeda, a senior US intelligence official told The Long War Journal.

Tajikistan has become a battleground over the past year, as the Taliban and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan have tried to disrupt to NATO’s new supply line into northern Afghanistan. NATO sought the new supply route after the Taliban began to effectively interdict supply columns passing through Pakistan’s Taliban insurgency-infested Northwest Frontier Province.

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