Uzbek al Qaeda affiliate claims responsibility for Karachi airport siege

Published: June 11, 2014
An Express News screengrab of a Taliban-linked webpage, showing pictures of those allegedly involved in Karachi airport attack.

An Express News screengrab of a Taliban-linked webpage, showing pictures of those allegedly involved in Karachi airport attack.

ISLAMABAD: Uzbek fighters were involved in the all-night siege of Karachi airport that killed 37, insurgent sources said on Wednesday.

The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), an al Qaeda affiliate that has been mainly based in the tribal belt since the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, claimed the death of 10 of their fighters during this week’s assault in a statement posted on various Taliban-linked websites.

The attack raised questions about how the Taliban were able to penetrate the airport serving the country’s economic hub.

“At midnight of Monday, 10 brave martyrdom-seeking mujaahids of Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan wearing their explosive-filled vests attacked a very special section of Karachi International Airport of Pakistan,” the English-language statement attributed to IMU said.

The page included photographs of 10 black-turbaned fighters wearing green tunics and white trainers while carrying assault rifles, in what appeared to be a snowy mountainous region.

“This martyrdom operation was carried out as the revenge to the latest full-scale bombardments and night attacks with fighter jets by (the) Pakistan Army,” the statement added.

The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan’s (TTP) main spokesperson confirmed that Uzbek fighters were involved in the attack but did not say how many.

Shahidullah Shahid, the TTP spokesperson, told AFP: “Yes, the attack on the Karachi airport was a joint operation of TTP and Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan.

“The foreigners are also our Muslim brethren and we all are Muslim Mujahideen. So, we can’t elaborate on how many Uzbeks and how many Pakistanis participated in this action,” he added.

An intelligence official in Islamabad added that Karachi-based investigators also suspected the attackers included Uzbeks.

Ten heavily armed militants laid siege to Karachi airport throughout Sunday night and the early hours of Monday morning in one of the most brazen attacks on a key installation in recent years.

Security analyst Imtiaz Gul said IMU fighters had migrated to Pakistan’s tribal areas after being forced to flee from Afghanistan following the US-led invasion.

“They have been under the protection of the TTP for some time. The Uzbeks are dependent on them for shelter and survival and are used as their footsoldiers in operations,” he said.

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Reader Comments (65)

  • Ghulam
    Jun 11, 2014 - 4:22PM

    IMU fighters had migrated to Pakistan’s tribal areas after being forced to flee from Afghanistan following the US-led invasion.

    Haha….now they’ve turned their guns on their former masters.


  • Cobra Commander
    Jun 11, 2014 - 4:24PM

    Two months ago two Uzbek women escaped from Islamabad airport and now 10 Uzbek men attack Karachi airport. These Uzbeks are entering and leaving Pakistani airports at will. Someone must be held answerable for this issue.


  • bajee
    Jun 11, 2014 - 4:26PM

    Isnt our ‘Pak’ foj resposible for taking care of our borders? How these cowards are entering our country and attacking civilian?


  • Ayyub Riaz
    Jun 11, 2014 - 4:28PM

    What if Pakistan would now want to raid Uzbekistan because their citizens are troublesome for its security. Would that get an approval from the UN?


  • Ahmed
    Jun 11, 2014 - 4:29PM

    But it was India, say people like @Pakistani reader.

    Here, in Pakistan, even the militants are frustrated. They work so hard, execute their plans, kill people and achieve “martyrdom” yet Pakistanis give all the “credit” to India!!

    What to do with these people, they must be thinking?

    On the other hand, if India is behind TTP then why do we want to negotiate?? Sympathies on one hand and labeling them as Indians on the other?? What is going on?

    We are being killed one by one and in hordes, that is what is happening while most Pakistanis continue to harp on “indian weapons” and “medicine” comment made my some security personal of which there is no official version even!!


  • ModiFied
    Jun 11, 2014 - 4:32PM

    Hope all those who said that India was involved, are listening ? Take out your heads out of sand and learn to accept the reality.Recommend

  • No
    Jun 11, 2014 - 4:33PM

    Oh wow, they even have joint operations now. May Allah save us.


  • Major Iqbal
    Jun 11, 2014 - 4:35PM

    Pakistan should learn from the Uzbek authorities. They don’t tolerate fanaticism. That’s why these Uzbeks were forced to migrate to Waziristan.


  • Abaid
    Jun 11, 2014 - 4:37PM

    We dig the hole for others…and now we fell into it but still not realizing…


  • Hamid Gul
    Jun 11, 2014 - 4:39PM

    Nobody listens to me these days. I have been telling all along Bharatiya Log from Central Asia are involved.
    These terrorists belong to Hindu Sena of Uzbekistan, a terrorist organization well known to me.
    Ban Ki Moon should take note and intervene.


  • Karachi Wala
    Jun 11, 2014 - 4:52PM

    Shame on our Govt. Unfortunately the LEA role was biased as they took the credit of ASF. It appears that terrorists have achieved their targets which was neither the Passenger or Planes. And Govt and LEA portraying themselves as hero to save the passenger by showing fake targets.


  • Rizkhan
    Jun 11, 2014 - 4:57PM

    Pakistani govt should reprimand the Uzbek govt for this.


  • ArXhaD
    Jun 11, 2014 - 4:58PM

    International Agenda to destabilize Pakistan and tear into pieces on ethnic/linguistic/sects basis like Yugoslavia. I fear due to our apathy, this would be achieved much earlier than the Story Writers.


  • Ravi
    Jun 11, 2014 - 5:02PM

    Hafees saeed along with kashmiri veteran geelani, who always lead prayers should lead and perform prayers for yhese martyrs.Recommend

  • Khan
    Jun 11, 2014 - 5:02PM

    Yes, joint operations of three partners – Taliban and Uzbek manpower with Indian firepower.


  • Sarmad
    Jun 11, 2014 - 5:05PM

    How Uzbeks got Indian arms and Factor-8 injections? Take your head out of snow please


  • sashayub
    Jun 11, 2014 - 5:05PM

    @Major Iqbal:
    Pakistan should also learn from other countries and stop funding/training and giving hospitality to terrorists of other countries, so that they can be used against neighbouring countries………..


  • Patriotic Pakistani
    Jun 11, 2014 - 5:05PM


    India is providing funds to groups like these. It is a known fact.


  • Jun 11, 2014 - 5:07PM

    Deepening Strategic Depth


  • Tarik
    Jun 11, 2014 - 5:10PM

    There is no strategy and Nawaz Sharif Govt does not care. For Over a year they are begging for talks with the terrorists and when we have such serious attacks as the current one. There is no leadership role played by him, he should lead the nation. He chooses to sit comfortably in PM house and large number of Pakistani’s get killed by foreigners. Nobody is talking about the large network of terrorists in Karachi, after all they attacked in Karachi but no action is taken against them in this city. There is a large presence of terrorists(Talaban) in Karachi ,yet no action is taken. The attack on the Airport could not have taken place without active support of members of their group. According to eyewitnesses, the attackers came in High Roofs they were dropped at the airport.Who gave them this pick and drop? and why no operation taking place in Karachi?


  • George
    Jun 11, 2014 - 5:15PM

    They used Indian made ammunition, thus Indian involvement cannot denied.


  • hellodrsoul
    Jun 11, 2014 - 5:17PM

    TTP and Ubeks used to fight with one another sometime ago. How come they are doing joint operation now.


  • Qamber
    Jun 11, 2014 - 5:18PM

    Another Evil Joining the Party ..


  • Jun 11, 2014 - 5:19PM

    This is all rubbish….these IMU are trained in Afghanistan and funded by we know who…you can buy 2 dozens in a cheap market in Afghanistan.

    The problem with us is that we have failed in securing our borders which should be our first priority. Register every alien present in our country and if they resist throw them out right away. This demands commitment, dedication and funds. Rather than begging for money for all the lavish lifestyle, the government should beg for funds to secure our borders from all geographical locations.

    Training of local LEA is a must. They should have collaborative exercises with the Pak Army so they knows the drill. The Police is just a joke and its a pity that they do not stop mocking themselves by their childish actions.

    Revisit the National Security Policy (if any) so every public institution/ organization must follow a code/ SOP in situation like Karachi Airport Incident.

    Lastly, for GOD sake stop the talks with these coward people. They are just paid mercenaries and nothing much. Its like buying apples and oranges but i guess on steroids (pun intended). You and your talks have made them powerful, gave them time to regroup and reassess their strategy. The Military is all set to get the rats out but i guess our PM is enjoying the rats running on the wheel.


  • Maher
    Jun 11, 2014 - 5:19PM

    May by TTP has outsourced some terrorists to Uzbek terrorist organization…


  • goldconsumer
    Jun 11, 2014 - 5:20PM

    Oh its that simple! We should believe you.
    For some information do watch movies like “spy game” and “Charlie Wilson’s War”
    Intelligence agencies never leave their footprints. Where are they getting weapons, finances and intelligence? These organizations are well funded by India via Afghanistan. Just like LeT are supported by us. Its simply a war game and currently we are at the receving end. Common people are always, at the receving end..


  • Salman
    Jun 11, 2014 - 5:21PM

    While Ranagers and LEA busy killing MQM workers, Uzbek and Taliban are free to kill innonect people and attack nation assets in Karachi


  • goldconsumer
    Jun 11, 2014 - 5:22PM

    @Major Iqbal:
    They are the generations of Uzbeks and Chechen that were drawn into the war against the then USSR in the 1970’s. Their forefathers were mujahideen fighting US war. They were part of the “aalied” forces fighting USSR


  • SRA
    Jun 11, 2014 - 5:29PM

    There seems to be something not right here. I remember while watching the news coverage that the eye witnesses said these attackers seemed to have come from Uzbek. I don’t mean to be prejudice, but how can a layman, straight away identify the exact nationality of a foreign person in Pakistan. You dont see many Uzbeks in Pakistan to straight away conclude a “different” looking person as Uzbek. As a layman, you just say he didn’t seem to be from Pakistan, and had different complexion/features from ours! And now, you have the official news that they were actually Uzbek. Something doesn’t seem right here. Just a thought…..


  • Professor
    Jun 11, 2014 - 5:36PM

    And yet Pakistanis will ask “Where is the proof that India didn’t do it?”. Duh?!
    But it is always amusing to read the conspiracy theories the citizens and “intelligentsia” spew. A person going through them for the first time would think Pakistan and its agencies couldn’t hurt a fly !


  • Hafiz Fan
    Jun 11, 2014 - 5:45PM

    Doesn’t matter. Once Prof. Dr. Hafiz Saeed has said India is involved then India is involved. end of case.


  • Zog
    Jun 11, 2014 - 5:46PM

    Can we get some retired forces personel to identify illegal aliens in Pakistan, and humanely repatriate them (like all other countries do). Those gulty of crimes should face the law and if found gulty ve imprisoned and then expelled.

    Then we need to have a program to humanely repatriate the 2m or so Afghans in Pakistan.

    We can not leave it to the existing personel 9who have sold Pakistani passports and ID cards to them).

    We have to secure our borders


  • Pakistani
    Jun 11, 2014 - 5:53PM

    Crush them


  • Pakistani
    Jun 11, 2014 - 5:53PM

    How can they say mujahedeen to themselves. Mujahedeen are not allowed even to kill innocent non Muslim rather to kill Muslims. As per their statement they did this for revenge it mean not for some Islamic cause and what Islamic cause they want to achieve by killing innocent peoples. Being a Muslim I condemn their activities there is no relation of Islam with these killers. In sha Allah they will be burning in the hell fire forever. May Allah send his Azab on all those who is killing innocent peoples and trying to destabilize our beloved country


  • Annms
    Jun 11, 2014 - 6:02PM

    Why not Pakistan asks for help from other countries e.g. USA, China, Russia for military and technology to remove the militant groups from the country and for strengthing the pak-afghan border (as pak has the only real issue of having border with afghanistan)


  • AB
    Jun 11, 2014 - 6:06PM

    @Major Iqbal:

    Height of naivety. These Uzbeks are not expelled from Uzbekistan. They were settled in Afghanistan since Soviet Area. Pakistan should have crushed them while US was bombarding them in Afghanistan but unfortunately our border is too porous in that region.

    Coming to the India question, well the truth of the matter is, these are the front face fanatics. The financial, stretegic planning and ammuniation source could be from anywhere including India and surely, Pakistani people and our Army does not rule this out.

    I hope there is a well thought of plan to counter these including their “backers”.Recommend

  • Afghanistan
    Jun 11, 2014 - 6:07PM

    Pakistan should apologize to Afghanistan for summoning its ambassador now and instead a protest should be lodged to Uzbakistan.


  • Abbas Khan
    Jun 11, 2014 - 6:26PM

    Pakistan Army, ragar de! These animals need to be crushed by our defense forces.

    It is sad to think these murderers thought they were going to ‘heaven’ for killing innocent Pakistanis at an airport!

    This is just messed up.


  • hella
    Jun 11, 2014 - 6:47PM

    Irrespective of who has done it, the price is paid by Pakistan. No light, just a long dark tunnel


  • Moiz Omar
    Jun 11, 2014 - 7:18PM

    Military operation is the need of the hour.


  • Crazy Canuck
    Jun 11, 2014 - 7:33PM

    Uzbek women engage in prostitution in Pakistan, Uzbek men wage a “holy” war against us. Where is their funding coming from anyone ask? What’s so “holy” about waging a war against innocent people anyways?


  • Gp65
    Jun 11, 2014 - 7:33PM

    There is a thriing arms blackmarket and anyone can buy any arms.

    Indian medications are sold all over the world because they are cheaper than European companies. Anyway what are you claiming hat besides TTP even Al Qaeda is now being funded by India? Forget Al Qaeda, if TTP are indeed Indian agents, why do Imran and Ch. Nisar call them stakeholders and misguided brothers. Why was there so much anger in Pakistan when Hakeemullah was killed? Why did JI chief call him a martyr? Why was nizam-e-adl signed with these people in 2009 february? As late as 2008 (barely a year before he was killed), Hamid Gul was calling Baitillah a true mujahid and a friend of Pakistan.


  • Adeel
    Jun 11, 2014 - 7:39PM

    Look who is saying that lol. That doesn’t mean that India is not supporting them with arms and funds! You Indians should better take your heads out of the sand for blaming the ISI and Hafiz Saeed for everything! Tomorrow you will blame Hafiz Saeed for not having enough toilets in your country!


  • Zara
    Jun 11, 2014 - 7:57PM

    There are too many to claim responsibility of attacks. That’s confusing :/


  • Raj - USA
    Jun 11, 2014 - 8:14PM

    The terrorists also carried dry fruits in their backpacks. Were these from the gift of 200 tons of dates that Pakistan received from a brotherly islamic country recently?


  • Shahid
    Jun 11, 2014 - 8:22PM

    We demand the resignation of Present goverenment or atleast the interior Minister Chaudary Nisar.He is good for nothing .


  • S D Mahmud
    Jun 11, 2014 - 8:28PM

    IMU spearheaded by Tahir Yuldashov, is an Uzbek based militant organisation, motivated by Egyto-Saudi salafist ideology. Once being invaded in Uzbekistan, after 2001, IMU established its self in SWA under patronage of TTP. Now an effective enterprise of Al Qayeda, a veritable arm of Afghan Taliban, IMU fighters have actually become mercenaries,motivated by martyrdom and money.


  • Aslam Sheikh
    Jun 11, 2014 - 8:43PM

    Our beloved army failed to contain our stratagic assets. Should we call US to make Pakistan terrerist free?


  • Jun 11, 2014 - 8:44PM

    India is our enemy, means our enemies are Indian. Person who attack us are not our friend, they are our enemy, because our enemies are Indian hence people who attack are Indian.
    So India attacked karachi and taftan etc
    proved…. Simple ….


  • nononsense
    Jun 11, 2014 - 8:53PM

    Strategies assets turning into liability …


  • MJ
    Jun 11, 2014 - 9:18PM

    Uzbeks – our brothers from another mother… Don’t worry, we will do muzaakarat from these naraaz bhai as well. That way, they will become stakeholders in the future of Pakistan too. They needn’t worry about their future, we have big hearts, after all.


  • sterry
    Jun 11, 2014 - 9:48PM

    @Hamid Gul: Of course the Indians are involved – think about it; So easy for them. Find some delusional Uzbeks and extremists from their puppet state of Afghanistan and fund them to go and find against Pakistan. That is very easy for India to do from its many bases in Afghanistan. Pakistan needs to deport all foreigners who are living there illegally including Uzbeks, Arabs and Afghans.


  • shanawer malik
    Jun 11, 2014 - 9:49PM

    Seems like Indians and Afghans cant decide whom to put the blame on. First, TTP accepted the assault on khi airport and now uzbek al-qaidans. After an attack on Abdullah Abdullah in afghanistan after which afghan forces fired shells inside Pakistan and threatened Pakistan that they r plotting an attack inside Pakistan and we all know indian involvement inside afghan affairs. Moreover, the weapons obtained from the militants were “Made in India”. Clearly shows that this attck by uzbek extremists was planned by afghan authorities and funded by indians.


  • Jun 11, 2014 - 9:55PM

    It is quite clear that different terrorist elements are focused on executing their deadly terrorist agenda inside Pakistan. It is simply imperative for everyone to hold these obvious culprits responsible for their actions, and fully support our governments in our shared quest for peace. This is not the first time we’re seeing these terrorists boast about their crimes, but we must not shift the advantage in their favor by supporting conspiracy theories. We must continue to work together and combine our strength against our common enemies in the region. We remain committed to restoring peace in the region, and fully support the government of Pakistan in our common fight against terrorism.

    Ali Khan
    Digital Engagement Team, USCENTCOM


  • Sanjin Khaild
    Jun 11, 2014 - 11:21PM

    I can see the “blame India crowd” are at it again. In the words of a future President in 2016 Hillary Clinton: ” What Difference Does It Make? Stop the blame game this is happening in Pakistan lets grow a pair of strength balls and take responsibility as we have a huge military force, intelligence agency, security and local Rangers.So far nothing has worked
    Let’s face it we are a nation of ineptitude we do not have the gumption of cleaning our mess.We are all talk and no action as the death count daily rises.
    Someone suggested we seek the help of other countries probably that is great idea it would cost us less in lives and stock to make sure we solve this now or we are doomed/


  • Bakhtiyar Ghazi Khan
    Jun 12, 2014 - 1:37AM

    TTP elements foreign agents of India confirmed. Uzbeks are innocent in this. India is responsible.


  • Arindom
    Jun 12, 2014 - 2:26AM

    Pakistanis should be happy – they have finally ealised their dream of being in Middle East, rather than South Asia!!


  • Karima Santosh
    Jun 12, 2014 - 2:27AM

    “@Bakhtiyar Ghazi Khan -TTP elements foreign agents of India confirmed. Uzbeks are innocent in this. India is responsible” its blank ignorant statements like this that give cause to the monster of crime that are terrorists.As long as they know people like you with out any knowledge or background are accepting wild theories then they have convinced you they are winning and they will come after you NEXT!


    Jun 12, 2014 - 5:30AM

    @Patriotic Pakistani:
    My dear friend we are not USA that we can fund others we have not enough funds for ourself. Pl think and comment.


  • anwar kamal
    Jun 12, 2014 - 7:02AM

    TTP export terrorism to Afganistan,India and Bangladesh.Now Uzbek taliban export to Pakistan.


  • deepak
    Jun 12, 2014 - 5:09PM

    @Hamid Gul:
    They (ttp) is taking responsibility that they alongwith imu r responsible for the act. Still u idiot
    blaming india. close your eyes for whatever happens in yr country. Blame it on India first.


  • deepak
    Jun 12, 2014 - 5:25PM

    @Hamid Gul:
    u dreamt?

  • anwar kamal
    Jun 12, 2014 - 8:48PM

    @Rizkhan:The TTP of Pakistan export terrorism to Afganistan,India,Bangladesh.Now the Uzbek wing export terrorism to Pakistan.


  • sharabi
    Jun 13, 2014 - 10:53AM

    @Karima Santosh
    Are you new to this site?
    Because it is a wastage of time to reply @Bakhtiyar Ghazi Khan
    He has a fix approach & not ready to see any logic.
    He have one slogan “HATE INDIA”


  • Jun 17, 2014 - 11:25PM

    @Ayyub Riaz:
    well said


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