Uzbek fighters involved in Karachi airport siege

ISLAMABAD: Uzbek fighters were involved in the all-night siege of Karachi airport that killed 37, insurgent sources said Wednesday, highlighting how the Pakistani Taliban can draw on international militant networks to carry out major attacks.The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), an al Qaeda affiliate, claimed the ‘martyrdom’ of 10 of their fighters during this week’s assault in a statement posted on various Taliban-linked websites.“At midnight of Monday ten brave martyrdom seeking mujaahids of Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan wearing their explosive-filled vests attacked a very special section of Karachi International Airport of Pakistan,” the English-language statement attributed to IMU said.The page included photographs of 10 black-turbaned fighters wearing green tunics and white trainers while carrying assault rifles, in what appeared to be a snowy mountainous region.“This martyrdom operation was carried out as the revenge to the latest full-scale bombardments and night attacks with fighter jets by (the) Pakistan A******e Army,” the statement added.A senior Pakistani Taliban official confirmed that Uzbek fighters were involved in the attack but did not say how many. He told AFP: “Yes, the attack on the Karachi airport was a joint operation of TTP and Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan.“The foreigners are also our Muslim brethren and we all are Muslim Mujahideen. So we can’t elaborate on how many Uzbeks and how many Pakistanis participated in this action,” he added.A senior security official indicated that the group was partly Uzbek and partly Pashtun, while a second intelligence official in Karachi said the attack may have been coordinated with the help of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi. “We believe that the LeJ has coordinated the attacks,” the Karachi official said. Karachi police meanwhile announced Wednesday they would press murder and terrorism charges against Taliban spokesman Shahidullah Shahid, 10 ‘unknown’ attackers and accomplices, in what was seen as a symbolic move. 

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