BISHKEK. Kyrgyz Defense Ministry says nobody has talked about possible groups that support the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) inside Tajikistan. Mirbek Koylubayev, a spokesman of the Kyrgyz Defense Ministry, rejected a report by Interfax (4 Feb 003) on IMU militants who are allegedly based in Tajikistan.
Mirbek Koylubayev denied a report that says Colonel Malik Jumagulov, chief of the management department of the Ministry, told journalists on Tuesday that there might be some supporters of terrorist and extremist organizations.
According to Koylubayev, Colonel Jumagulov talked only about close cooperation between Tajik and Kyrgyz Defense ministries. However, he did not tell anybody about supporters of terrorists operating inside the neighboring country.
Koylubayev told RFE/RL today that he, Jumagulov and other Kyrgyz military officials traveled several times to Tajikistan, and they did not witness any evidence which would give an impression that there are IMU militant groups and their supporters in the country.
The IMU was listed by the U.S. Government as a terrorist organization in 2000. The group has ties with the international network of 'Al-Kaida' and Number One terrorist, Osama Ben Laden. They twice attempted to seize some areas in the remote Batken region of Kyrgyzstan (in August 1999 and August 2000). The defeat of militants in the Batken area by the Kyrgyz army is regarded by some local politicians as a rebirth of the national army. The fall of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan was a beginning of the destruction of logistic and financial support of IMU militants who are now allegedly based in Afghanistan and Pakistan.