WASHINGTON, Feb. 1 (UPI) — The arrest in Kyrgyzstan of a suspected Central Asian Islamic terror leader has highlighted his movement’s close relationships with the Taliban and al-Qaida.
Abdulkhai Yuldashev was detained in the Osh region of southern Kyrgyzstan, according to a statement from the Kyrgyz Interior Ministry in the capital Bishkek reported by the Interfax news agency.
Yuldashev was a leader within the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, or IMU, and is accused of involvement in attacks on Kyrgyz and Tajik border posts in May 2006, which killed several police and customs officials, the agency said.
Local media said Yuldashev was also known as Artyk, Interfax reported.
The IMU was formed in 1998 to create an Islamic state in Uzbekistan, but in the years since its formation, and under the ideological influence of al-Qaida, it has broadened its field of combat to include the entire Central Asian region militants refer to as Turkestan: Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and the Xinxiang province of China.
Some members of the group have begun to refer to themselves as the Islamic Party or Movement of Turkistan, according to the Terrorism Knowledge Base maintained by the Oklahoma City Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism.
Last year, IMU fighters holed up in the Pakistani tribal area on the Afghan border clashed with local tribal militias.