The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) is not only allied to the Islamic State (IS) group, it now considers itself part of it.
In a 2-1/2 minute video viewed by RFE/RL on August 6, IMU leader Usmon Ghazi and his fighters are shown taking an oath of allegiance, in Arabic, to IS and its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
The confirmation of subservience, coming directly from Ghazi, would be significant in and of itself. But the leader of the extremist group active in Pakistan and Afghanistan does not stop there.
Ghazi goes on to say, according to a narrator’s translation of his oath, that “from now on we are not just a movement, we are a state.” IMU fighters, he says, should henceforth be described as IS fighters from the Khorasan region.
“Thank the Lord, following the Almighty’s will we have pledged our allegiance (Bayaht, or Bay’a) to the Caliphate that has bowed to Islam,” Ghazi is quoted as saying. “And we are now part of it.”