A Department of Homeland Security Emeritus Center of Excellence led by the University of Maryland

BAAD - Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) - 2012


Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU)

In 1991, Tahir Yuldashev and Juma Namangani founded the organization Adolat (which means justice) in Namangan in Uzbekistan’s Ferghana Valley.[1] Adolat focused on implementing Islamic law within Uzbekistan.[2] However, in 1992, President Islam Karimov outlawed Adolat, forcing Yuldashev and Namangani to flee to neighboring Tajikistan where they continued to launch cross-border terrorist and insurgent attacks against Uzbekistan.[3] In 1998, Yuldashev and Namangani met with Taliban leaders in Kabul, Afghanistan. Together, they officially renamed Adolat to the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU).[4] Yuldashev declared himself the head, or bosh-amir, and Namangani was selected as the group’s military leader.[5] IMU declared jihad on Uzbekistan and focused on expelling the country’s president, Islam Karimov, in order to establish sharia within Uzbekistan.[6]

By early 2001, IMU had bases in Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan from which they could launch and support their guerrilla campaigns.[7] However, IMU’s campaign against the Uzbek government ended in late 2001 after the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan and overthrow of the Taliban.[8] IMU, which had an estimated 2,000 members before the war, diminished to a size of less than 1,000 members.[9] Namangani died in battle during November 2001.[10]

After the overthrow of Taliban in Afghanistan, IMU forces scattered to neighboring countries. Yuldashev remained bosh-amir and in 2002 established a new base in the tribal regions of Pakistan in Southern Waziristan.[11] During this period, other IMU cells formed in northern Afghanistan where there are many ethnic Uzbeks, Tajiks, and Kyrgyz.[12] IMU has grown ethnically diverse with Uzbeks, Tajiks, Kyrgyz, Arabs, Pakistanis, Uighurs, Chechens, and even Slavs as members of their fighting forces.[13] IMU has also forged new allies with the Haqqani network, Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), and Taliban shadow governments in northern Afghanistan.[14]

Due to growing influences from allies and ethnically diverse militant members, IMU’s goals and actions have been more centered on areas surrounding their base in Pakistan, and little has been achieved against their original target, Uzbekistan. Even after finding various safe havens when fleeing from Afghanistan, IMU cadres face continued counterinsurgent efforts by Pakistani, Afghani, and American forces.[15] In August 2009, Yuldashev was killed by CIA drone attacks in Pakistan.[16] Despite these setbacks, IMU continues to operate and has claimed suicide bombings in Afghanistan, co-attacks with the Haqqani network, violent activities with the TTP, and bombings in Tajikistan.[17] View full narrative

Quick Facts for 2012


32 (Total of 1998 through 2012)



Territorial Control:
Does Not Control Territory (0)

Funding through Drug Trafficking:

Sorry, but there are no organizational details available for this group at this time.


Primary Ideology

  • Ag = Anti-Globalization
  • An = Anarchist
  • En = Ethnic
  • Ev = Environmental
  • Le = Leftist
  • Re = Religious
  • Ri = Rightist
  • Se = Separatist
  • Su = Supremacist
  • Vi = Vigilante


  •  Ally
  •  Suspected Ally
  •  Rival
  •  Violence
  •  Mixed Relations


  •  Blue 0 - 1479 fatalities
  •  Green 1479 - 2958 fatalities
  •  Yellow 2958 - 4437 fatalities
  •  Orange 4437 - 5916 fatalities
  •  Red 5916 - 7396 fatalities

Lethality is calculated as the total number of fatalities from 1998-2012.


Icon sizes depict approximate relative sizes of the organizations.

  • Smallest 0 - 10 members
  •   11 - 100 members
  •   101 - 1000 members
  •   1001 - 10000 members
  • Largest > 10000 members

Other Notes

Icons with no color coding or ideology icon have no detailed data at this time, and are provided as relationship information only.