Kazakh jihadists sent money abroadMay 3, 2013
The Kazakh terrorist group Jund al-Khilafah, or the Soldiers of the Caliphate, has the financial means to support militants beyond Kazakhstan’s borders, according to a think tank report earlier this year. Jund al-Khilafah has sent money to fellow fighters in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and possibly even to Mohamed Merah, the North African terrorist who killed seven people in France last year.
The Jamestown Foundation offered this analysis in January:
…Jund al-Khilafah is based in the North Caucasus and the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region, and it carried out three separate attacks in Atyrau, Taraz and Almaty in late 2011 (Tengrinews, September 28, 2012). As evidenced by slain Tunisian-born Jund al-Khilafah amir Moez Garsallaoui’s connections to Mohammed Merah, who killed three Jews and four French paratroopers in southwest France in March 2012, Jund al-Khilafah also has international operational capabilities. There are an estimated 200 to 300 Kazakhstani militants in Afghanistan and Pakistan, many of whom have financial relationships with Jund al-Khilafah supporters in Kazakhstan (September 9, 2011). This became apparent with the sentencing of Aidos Kusanov on October 8, 2012, who transferred 380,000 tenge (approximately $2,500) to Jund al-Khilafah in Pakistan through the Aqtobe-based [Kazakh] militant group Ansar al-Din. Ansar al-Din has not claimed any attacks in Kazakhstan, but has issued numerous video statements condemning the Kazakhstani government on jihadist websites, such as hunafa.com and Kavkaz Center, and seeks to “establish links of material support” to “assist the families of the mujahideen,” according to its own propaganda (http://hunafa.com/?p=3839)…
Despite Jund al-Khilafa and Ansar al-Din’s operational links to Kazakhstan, the flow of militants and funds still appears to be from Kazakhstan to Afghanistan and Pakistan or elsewhere—not the other way around. This could soon change, however. In a November 2011 Islamic Jihad Union video statement, a Kazakhstani fighter said that that after victory in Afghanistan, their “goal” is Central Asia, while another fighter, who claimed to be the “amir,” said their “sphere of interest” is Central Asia, in particular Kazakhstan (Kavkazcenter.com, December 2011). Other experts in the region argue that the IMU and other militants are already in Kazakhstan, using the country effectively as a “terminal” linking Europe, Central Asia and Afghanistan, and therefore the militants do not want to destabilize Kazakhstan, yet (Tengrinews, September 6, 2011)…
How Jund al-Khilafah acquired the money that it was able to transfer to Afghanistan and Pakistan is unclear, although the Saudi-backed Wahhabi foundation known as the Muslim World League is active in Kazakhstan. The MWL has financed the Muslim Brotherhood and terrorist groups globally, particularly in countries at the fringes of the Islamic world.
A case in late-2011 revealed a Jund al-Khilafah suicide bomber who “was part of a group that planned to rob a number of stores, banks and currency exchanges and to attack law enforcement personnel,” and whose leader wanted operatives “to commit both jihad and economic crimes.” Reliance on theft can sometimes be an indicator of a terrorist group with limited funds, but the ability to send surplus funds outside their home base undercuts that possibility.
Kazakhstan, with its population of young, male, ethnic Kazakhs who are increasingly falling under the spell of jihad, has come under renewed scrutiny following the arrest of two Kazakh associates of Boston bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev who once launched fireworks with Tsarnaev on the banks of the Charles River, helped Tsarnaev dispose of evidence after the bombing, and subsequently lied to investigators about their activities.
How one of the two Kazakhs, Dias Kadyrbayev, who drove a BMW, obtained money for travel, rent, and tuition in Massachusetts has yet to be determined.