Friday, December 02, 2005

Terrorist Tells All

There's more than a modicum of disinformation in this Uzbekistan-related article from Moscow News, but there are also some things worth noting. Observe, for example, the close relation that existed - during the 1990s transition from Soviet to Russian Federal power, and the breakup of the Union - between Soviet communism and "radical Islam":
Well, my father was a CPSU regional committee functionary in the city of Andizhan. I never walked to or from school but went in a car. When I finished Grade 10, my father gave me a Model 6 Zhiguli sedan. I have a degree in history from the local university.

I worked at the Russian Communist Youth League (Komsomol) regional committee and then at the regional administration. I engaged in privatization programs and controlled an investment fund. Operations with securities brought as much money in a single day as an ordinary person might not even earn in 10 years.

So how did a Komsomol activist end up in the IMU?

Very easy. An ideological vacuum [that came with the breakup of the Soviet Union] was soon filled. First, they talked at the highest possible level about the need to restore Islamic values and then Muslims were made into enemies. I probably had more money than was good for me - drinking, playing around with girls, you know, leading an unhealthy lifestyle. Then I got sick: a stomach ulcer. One day a friend advised me to live like a good Muslim - stop drinking, start praying. I joined a Koran study group. We met and talked. Someone said there was a madrasa in Chechnya that was open to all those willing to join. I went there in 1998.

There was a training center called Kavkaz (Caucasus), near the village of Avtury, and I was accepted. At first, we studied religion and then took a course of combat training. There were about 50 Uzbeks there. The teachers were Arabs who spoke fluent Russian. It was there that I met Khattab. He was a real soldier and a cheerful guy who liked a good joke. Basayev was just a politician, but a very smart one. After a year of studies, I decided to leave: the local climate was humid and I caught pneumonia. Before leaving, I received instructions to send money to Chechnya to support the Uzbek jamaat. It was also planned to abduct a number of children from rich families in Tashkent, mainly Jewish. They were to be held in Kazakhstan, while ransom would be paid to people based in Chechnya. But after a series of bomb attacks in Tashkent in the winter of 1999, I had to run away. The abductions were carried out by the brothers Yuldashev and Murad Kaziev: We had trained in Chechnya together.
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