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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
09TASHKENT1473 2009-09-04 13:22:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Tashkent
Cable title:  

TASHKENT SHOOT-OUT ATTRIBUTED TO UZBEK EXTREMIST GROUP

Tags:   PREL PTER KCRM UZ 
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DE RUEHNT #1473 2471323
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
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FM AMEMBASSY TASHKENT
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RHMFIUU/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RHMFIUU/CDR USTRANSCOM SCOTT AFB IL
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEHNT/AMEMBASSY TASHKENT
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
					  UNCLAS TASHKENT 001473 

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DEPT FOR SCA/CEN
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E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PTER KCRM UZ
SUBJECT: TASHKENT SHOOT-OUT ATTRIBUTED TO UZBEK EXTREMIST GROUP

REF: TASHKENT 1469



1. (SBU) Summary: An official press release from the Uzbek
Attorney General's Office published September 4 reported that the
shoot-out which took place on Saturday (reftel) was part of a
special operation directed at a group of Islamic terrorists. The
armed men were believed to be members of an extremist group
responsible for a series of assassinations and attempted
assassinations.



EXTREMIST ACTIVITIES IN TASHKENT



--------------------------





2. (SBU) The first assassination attributed to this unidentified
extremist group was the fatal stabbing of the young deputy director
of a local madrassah on July 16 of this year. The victim was found
with more than two thousand US dollars in cash, car keys and credit
cards in his pocket, clearly ruling out robbery as a motive. On
July 31, the principal Imam of Tashkent survived multiple stab
wounds after being called out of his house by three assailants.
The Imam is a highly visible religious figure in Uzbekistan, and
known to be a sharp critic of followers of both Wahhabi Islam and
the Islamic group Hizb ut-Tahrir. On August 9, Hasan Asadov, a
highly placed official in the Ministry of Internal Affairs, was
shot to death in his home. Asadov was a member of a GOU
interagency group dedicated to fighting terrorism.





3. (SBU) The press release also states that the extremists who
participated in the shoot-out had been trained in "foreign
terrorist centers," an allegation which was repeated by a highly
placed police contact. Three extremists were reportedly killed
during the shoot-out. An unknown number of suspected members of
the same group were arrested throughout Tashkent following the
shoot-out, according to a police contact. This contact also
claimed that surveillance records show that a Chechen terrorist
made telephone contact with the extremists shortly before the
shoot-out, and then subsequently committed suicide (a development
which has not been separately confirmed).





4. (SBU) Comment: If this event was, as seems increasingly
probable, associated with extremists, it is a reminder that
Uzbekistan remains a prime target for these groups in the region.
The GOU routinely expresses this concern as increased pressure in
Afghanistan and Pakistan leads some hardened terrorists to move
towards Central Asia, and as their profile on Afghan transit
(Northern Distribution Network) goes up. Although Uzbekistan and
Tashkent are by no means permissive environments due to the heavy
presence of the security forces, the GOU's control even of the
capital is clearly not air tight. Curiously, conspiracy theories
still circulate that the shoot-out was merely a "spectacle" staged
by the GOU to show that there is a threat and that the authorities
have it under control.
NORLAND