Stephen M. Bland
Freelance Journalist, Award-Winning Author, Travel Writer, Researcher and Editor specialising in Central Asia and the Caucasus.
Russian Interior Ministry Seizes 250 Fake Passports in Raid on Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan Cell
The Russian Interior Ministry claims to have seized a haul of forged documents in a raid on members of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) in Moscow. Amongst the papers impounded were over two hundred Russian internal and fifteen international passports, forty foreign passports and driving licences. In a statement, the press office of the Interior Ministry reported that individuals from Central Asian countries had been detained and a criminal case opened against them, which will also investigate other as yet unspecified charges.
‘They were carrying out illegal activities, making fake passports, driving licenses and other documents in Moscow,’ the statement read. ‘According to the existing information, the named individuals profess radical Islam and are members of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan’.
Formed with the goal of setting up an Islamic Caliphate in Uzbekistan and beyond, the IMU came to prominence in 1999, taking the mayor of the Kyrgyz second city of Osh captive and successfully extorting a ransom. Invading Southern Uzbekistan, the IMU came within sixty miles of the capital, Tashkent, before being driven back. Decimated by coalition forces whilst fighting alongside the Taliban in Afghanistan, the IMU has recently resurfaced, claiming a hand in the June 2014 siege of Karachi airport, Southern Pakistan, which left thirty-six dead.