It’s Official: Islamic State is in Central Asia

Two weeks ago we wrote about reports indicating Islamic State expansion into Central Asia. A recent message from Islamic State’s spokesman Sheikh Abu Muhammad al-Adnani to their supporters dated January 26 confirms that the terrorist group has expanded into the region of Khorasan, which includes Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, and other Central Asian states. The message states that several groups in the region have sworn allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who has appointed Sheikh Hafidh Sa’id Khan as the Wali of the Vilayet (province) Khorasan, and Sheikh Abdur-Rauf Khadim Abu Talhah as his deputy.

The Islamic State letter goes on to exhort fighters in Central Asia to abandon factionalism and join the forces of the new Caliphate.

“You have fought the English, the Russians, and the Americans, and upon you today is a new fight; a fight to enforce tawhid (monotheism) and vanquish shirk (polytheism).”

The letter goes on to describe the battle and victory against the “crusaders,” mentioning a meeting in al-Quds (Jerusalem) and an “appointment” in Rome after a victory over the crusaders in Dabiq. Further taunts are thrown at the “crusaders” and President Obama in particular. Al-Adnani writes:

(Y)our dog Obama, out of his cowardice and feebleness, continues to warn against being dragged into a ground war, and because of your weakness and incapability, he continues to emphasize the role of the murtabb Arab rulers…

Most importantly, al-Adnani calls for further violent jihad from Muslims in Western countries, calling it a religious duty to do whatever they can to harm the crusaders. “We will argue, before Allah, against any Muslim who has the ability to shed a single drop of crusader blood but does not do so…” al-Adnani approvingly cites the attack on the Canadian Parliament as well as the attacks in France, Australia, and Belgium, going so far as to threaten further attacks on the west, concluding:

“And what lies ahead will be worse – with Allah’s permission – and more bitter, for you haven’t seen anything from us yet.”

Al-Adnani closes the letter with news of celebration over the recent death of King Abdullah of Sa’udi Arabia, and further condemnation over both the deceased monarch and his successor, King Salman. As al-Adnani wrote,

“…the real rulers of the lands of al-Haramayn are the Jews and crusaders, not Salman or Bin Nayef (may Allah disgrace them both).”

In addition to Adnani’s statement, Chinese authorities recently arrested Uighurs and Turkish nationals attempting to fly from Shanghai to Syria, to join the Islamic State, and there has been a dramatic increase of arrests in Xinjiang province over terrorist activity. Taken together, Adnani’s claim of growing ISIS support in Central Asia could be more than bluster.