Jihad: The Rise of Militant Islam in Central Asia 0300093454

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Jihad: The Rise of Militant Islam in Central Asia
 0300093454

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AHMED RASHI author

off

the #1

New

York Times bestseller Talib

i

THE RISE OF MILITANT ISLAM IN

CENTRAL ASIA

THE RISE OF Ml

CENTRAL

IN

ASI

HMED RASHID For more than two thousand years, Central

Asia has been a locus of conflict.

Great empires of the past fought to control

the Silk Route, which ran through

the region; more recently, nations have battled over the vast lie

beneath

it.

Now

oil

reserves that

Central Asia pre-

sents important strategic opportunities for international security, but also

poses new threats because rise of militant Islamic

of the swift

fundamentalism

over the past decade.

Ahmed

Rashid,

who

masterfully

explained Afghanistan's Taliban regime in his

previous book, here turns his

skills

as an investigative journalist to

the five Central Asian republics adja-

cent to Afghanistan

— Kazakhstan,

Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan,

and Tajikistan —that were part Soviet Union until its collapse Under Soviet

rule,

Islam

was

of the in

1991.

brutally

suppressed, and that intolerance has

continued with the post-Soviet regimes. Religious repression, political corruption,

and the region's extreme poverty

have created a tant Islamic

fertile

fundamen

and trained by organiz

9

*'*

'

/

-

.

Jf if-

I

fp p

s ?orf]

JIHAD

ALSO BY

AHMED RASHID

THE RESURGENCE OF CENTRAL ASIA: ISLAM OR NATIONALISM? (1994) TALIBAN: ISLAM, OIL

AND FUNDAMENTALISM

IN

CENTRAL ASIA (2000)

JIHAD The

Rise of Militant Islam in Central Asia

AHMED RASHID

A

WORLD

POLICY INSTITUTE BOOK

YALE UNIVERSITY PRESS

NEW HAVEN

& LONDON

©

Copyright

2002 by Yale University.

All rights reserved.

may

This book in

not be reproduced, in whole or in part, including illustrations,

any form (beyond that copying permitted by Sections 107 and 108 of the U.S.

Copyright Law and except by reviewers

for the public press),

without written

permission from the publishers.

Designed by Rebecca Gibb and

set in

Electra

and The Sans

Printed in the United States of America by R. R. Donnelley

types.

& Sons Co.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Rashid,

Jihad

Ahmed.

the rise of militant Islam in Central

:

.Asia

/Ahmed

Rashid.

cm.

p.

Includes bibliographical references and index.

ISBN 1.

3.

0-300-09345-4

Asia, Central

Islamic

(alk.

paper*

— Politics and government.

fundamentalism— .Asia, Central.

Islam and politics

2.

4.

Jihad.

I.

— .Asia, Central.

Title.

DS329.4 .R38 2002 958'. 0429

— dc2i

A catalogue The paper the

2001006898

record for this book

in this

is

Committee on Production Guidelines

on Library Resources.

10

available from the British Library

book meets the guidelines

98765 4321

for

for

permanence and

durability of

Book Longevity of the Council

FOR ANGELES AND HER LOVE,

AND

IN

WHO WOULD

MEMORY

OF

JOHNNY DAS AND PHILIPPE TOPALIAN,

HAVE LOVED THIS VAST LANDSCAPE OF SKY AND STEPPE

CONTENTS

Preface

Maps

i

pa rt

PA rt

I

11

ix

xv

Introduction: Central Asia's Islamic Warriors

1

Islam and Politics in Central Asia, Past and Present

The

2

Conquerors and

3

Islam Underground in the Soviet Union 32

4 The

First

Islamic

Movements

5

The

Saints:

Past as Present 15

Decade of Independence

in Central Asia

57

Since 1991

Islamic Renaissance Party and the Civil

War

Tajikistan 95

6 The Hizb 7

ut-Tahrir: Reviving the Caliphate 115

Namangani and Uzbekistan 137

the Islamic

Movement of

in

CONTENTS

8

Namangani and

9

The New Great Game? The United

Jihad in Central Asia 156 States, Russia,

and China 187 i

o 11

Central Asia and

An

Its

Neighbors 208

Uncertain Future 228

Appendix:

The

Call to Jihad by the Islamic

of Uzbekistan 247

Notes 251 Glossary 263

Index 269

Movement

PREFACE

I

first

went

to

Afghanistan.

Central Asia in 1988, tracking the chimera of the war in I

ethnic groups,

wanted

who

to learn

for the first

place as arbitrators of their

own

more about

Afghanistan's minority

time in their history were taking their destiny

now that the

pulled out. In order to understand these groups,

I

Soviet

needed

army had to

under-

stand their origins, which lay in Central Asia, then part of the collapsing Soviet Union. Three years apart,

fell

of the five

I

was again

later,

in Central Asia,

new independent states

Subsequent

trips to

when

and

I

the Soviet

Union

finally

witnessed the emergence

there.

Central Asia led to

my first book,

published in

1994:

The Resurgence of Central Asia: Islam or Nationalism? The ques-

tion

posed

I

— whether the newly independent Central Asian regimes

would build

a

democratic order that used ethnic nationalism

as a

binding force or whether Islamic fundamentalism would take place is

— was one that

in part

an attempt

I

could not directly answer

to

In the Introduction

at the time.

its

This book

answer that early question. I

explore the complex

often perceived simplistically in the

West

meaning of jihad — so

as a

holy war

— and

how

PREFACE

new jihad movements arose. But Westerners are not the only people who misconstrue the idea of jihad. How the new fundamentalist and militant Islamic movements have distorted its greater meaning of an inner struggle to be a good and devout Muslim has the

much

to say

Part

I

about the conflicts currently tearing Central Asia apart.

lamic movements

munist

and

deals with the history of Central Asia

era.

from the sixth century B.C. to the

Only by going back

in the past

its

indigenous

Is-

end of the Com-

can we understand the

present: the history of ethnic conflict, the growth of Islam, and the crucial part

played by geography.

dependence

in

regimes have achieved— and Part

II

is

I

also

summarize the

each of the Central Asian

how they have

decade of in-

failed.

phenomenon of radical three biggest movements—

Islam in Central Asia. Focusing on the

Movement

gins, beliefs, influence,

that

first

examining what the

an investigation into the new

the Islamic Renaissance Party (IRP), the the Islamic

states,

emerges from

of Uzbekistan

and

activities.

this discussion

Hizb ut-Tahrir (HT), and

(IMU) — I

outline their ori-

The most important

that although these

is

discovery

movements

began with different ideologies, agendas, and support bases, the ation in Central Asia

— in

particular the

even the most moderate Islam



the orbit of other radical Islamic

Osama

bin Laden's Al Qaeda.

ble speed in

what

is

pulling

is

ments and the international community

them

like the

into

Taliban and

they are spreading with incredi-

basically alien territory

of Central Asia, offering

them together and

movements

And

situ-

government repression of

little

because the local govern-

alike

have failed the people

but massive repression, unem-

ployment, poverty, disease, and war.

The two

largest

underground Islamic movements, the Hizb

Tahrir and the Islamic

Movement

crecy.

They

views,

and allow no photographs of their

leader

Juma Namangani become such

issue

ut-

of Uzbekistan, are shrouded in se-

few press statements, give only a handful of leaders.

a mythical,

How

has the

inter-

IMU

even heroic, figure

PREFACE

in the Central

knows

more

The

what he looks like?

elusive

hardly anyone even

Namangani and

search for

the even

HT leaders— whose very names are unknown —

part of what this

book

is

about. So

tective story, with clues that lead

inconclusive theories,

Since

when

Asian Islamic underground

it is

if it

sometimes reads

is

a large

poor de-

like a

nowhere, mysterious evidence, and

because the ending has yet

be written.

to

my first visit have traveled to Central Asia dozens of times, am away from that beautiful, stark land have folI

and even when

I

I

lowed the events there with th?n obsession.

The

vast,

a fascination that has

become

little less

empty landscape dotted with oases of

brant populations and political ferment, sitting on the world's

untapped natural energy

great

Westerners as

more

it

was

to

reserves,

Europeans

Asia, but

importance

its

now

almost as

that

no one

last

unknown

Middle Ages. In

in the

the Europeans recognized

so:

between Europe and

is still

fact,

vi-

to

it is

as the bridge

travels the Silk

Route, Westerners have relegated Central Asia to the realm of legend.

The bloody

region for less well

civil

a decade have been poorly covered — and even — by the international media. Yet, as the world

more than

understood

finally recognizing,

Asia, the

wars and political unrest that have plagued the

Middle

You can

is

Central Asia

East,

vital to future stability in

South

China, and Russia.

ask questions in Central Asia, but don't expect straight

answers. Often you will get

ments of illumination, such I

is

was covering the

Sunday lunch

civil

in the

war

no answers

as the

one

at all.

that

in Tajikistan.

As

There

came I

to

me

are only

was enjoying a

garden of the Dushanbe

home

mo-

in 1993 while

leisurely

of a well-known

Tajik journalist, a firefight broke out at both ends of his street that

eventually developed into a three-way battle. As bullets zipped into the shrubbery,

nobody knew who was

shocking part for

me

was that

killing

my hosts,

whom

or why.

a poet, a novelist,

nalist—the cream of Tajikistan's liberal intelligentsia

But the

and

a jour-

— suddenly

pulled concealed pistols out of their pockets and fired back.

We were

PREFACE

stranded in the garden for

six

hours, but

combatants were, although dead bodies

hope

I

ty

this

book helps explain who

and why they are

Asia are

I

never discovered

who

the

littered the street.

combatants

in Central

fighting. Until the international

communi-

today's

understands that the future of Central Asia can affect the future of

the rest of the world, things are unlikely to improve. identify the key players

book

to

answer

all

and the major

I

have

tried to

But do not expect

issues.

This book could not have been written without the help of friends in

this

your questions.

Central Asia who have

government officials, diplomats,

to

many

remain anonymous. They include

journalists,

academics, mullahs, busi-

nessmen, aid workers, and ordinary people. Foreign humanitarian lief

organizations like the United Nations, the

Co-operation and Development tion,

(ACTED),

Agency

the

re-

Technical

for

Aga Khan Founda-

and the Soros Foundation have provided enormous encourage-

ment and support

to

my

my work

sible for

any of

working

in the region

over the years, but they are not respon-

conclusions. Foreign journalists and diplomats

have unstintingly given

me

time, insight, and

information.

Two

people in particular must be singled out for the breadth of

knowledge, experience, and friendship they have shared with over the years

many

— Barnett Rubin

and Olivier Roy.

of their ideas over the years that

mine and which

are theirs.

I

hope they

I

I

me

have absorbed so

no longer know which are

will forgive

me

if

I

appear

at

times to be stealing from them. I

would

also like to

U.N. Tajikistan Office

thank Ivo Petrov and Hiroshi Takahashi of the for

Peace Keeping, and Lakhdar Brahimi and

Francesc Vendrell and their

staffs at

the U.N. Special Mission for

Afghanistan, for their kindness, hospitality, and experience, from of which

I

have learned much. Their support for

light the crises in

practical help

my

all

efforts to high-

both Afghanistan and Central Asia was backed by

— for example, rides in U.N. planes to places that were

PREFACE

otherwise inaccessible. Writers and mountain climbers

Nancy and

John Bouchard emerged from an unexpected quarter

to provide

help and friendship. Frederic Roussel, the constantly active head of

ACTED,

has been a friend of long standing and provided

needed support

would

I

given tral

me

also like to

thank the publications

I

tral

Asia, asking

few questions about what

years

I

have tried

to

whet

Asia. For nearly twenty years

and

I

have given

me

questioned in

ably, they

their appetites for

In

to explain; they

London

more on Cen-

Chanda and Michael

the kind of space to write about Central

my judgments. At times

have done

in a part of the

The Far Eastern Economic Review

I

should

— and have rarely

have returned from

Central Asia and explained that

complicated

Cen-

initially interested in.

Asia that has been the envy of my fellow journalists

ney

which have

for,

was doing

wonderful, long-time editors Nayan

its

Vatikiotis

work

the time, the funds, and the space in print to explore

world that only a few of their readers were

Over the

much-

moment.

at a critical

had

I

a

a story that

just trust

me

long jour-

was

to write

it.

far too

Invari-

so.

the Daily Telegraph and before that The Independent

have had no doubts about the worthiness of covering Central Asia.

The

present foreign editor of the Daily Telegraph, Alec Russell, has

himself

become an

aficionado of the region, and he has given

enormous encouragement.

In Pakistan

I

have

to

of The Nation newspaper for the coverage he has given

from the region and idea that there are

my attempts

to

me

thank Arif Nizami

my

articles

educate Pakistani readers to the

more ways than one

to look at

Central Asia and

Afghanistan.

A special Journal,

thanks

who

asked

is

owed

me

to Karl E.

to write

an

Meyer, editor of World Policy

article

about the

first

ten years of

independence of the Central Asian Republics. Aided by his magnificent managing editor, Linda Wrigley, the Journal published two cles

and graciously gave

me

arti-

permission to use some of that material

here.

Xlll

PREFACE

This book had

just

gone

the Pentagon and the

understand the situation editor Larisa Heimert,

has given

this

so

me

much

new book

editor

how

Central Asia.

in

who

urgently Westerners need to

all

I

would

along insisted that

I

bring both

my

before the public.

Susan Laity

for

my

like to

thank

do

book and

this

constant encouragement, and Liz Pelton, to

when

World Trade Center were attacked. Those

have underscored

tragic events

done

into editing at Yale University Press

who

has

previous book on the Taliban and

And

a special thanks to

manuscript

her meticulous, scrupulous editing and for the

trouble she has taken to learn about Central Asia before tackling the difficult task of editing

my work.

This book could not have been written without the support of my wife, Angeles,

and our two children, who have put up with

deal, in particular ficient

way

to

my constant absences from home. There

thank them.

Lahore

October 2001

xiv

is

a great

no

suf-

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