– JUMA NAMANGANI
* Juma Namangani was born in 1969 as Jumabay Khojiyev in Namangan, Fergana Valley, Uzbekistan.
Juma Namangani was conscripted into the Soviet Army in 1987 and served in the Russian army as a paratrooper in the last stage of the war in Afghanistan in 1988-89. It is probably during the war in Afghanistan that Juma Namangani came under the influence of the Wahhabism radical version of Islam, which he later adopted.
After the war, in the years 1989-91, Juma Namangani received training at the Saboteur Training Center of the KGB known today as the Russian FSB. In 1991 Juma Namangani returned to his home town Namangan and became a local political leader who opposed the presidency of Islam Karimov. Soon after, in 1992, he was dismissed from all his official offices. He renamed himself as Namangani – from Namangan.
In 1992, when a civil war erupted in Tajikistan between the former Soviet republic’s communist leaders and the Islamic opposition, Juma Namangani joined the fight with the rebels. By the time the war ended in 1997, Juma Namangani commanded more than 1,000 men. After the fighting ended, he remained in Tajikistan, launching raids into Uzbekistan via Kyrgyzstan in 1999 and 2000. In Tajikistan Juma Namangani married his second wife, a local Tajik woman with two sons, whose husband had been killed during the Tajik civil war.
In 1998 Juma Namangani, with Tohir Yuldashev, founded the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan -IMU. Juma Namangani was the military wing leader while Tohir Yuldashev was the ideologist politic leader.
In 1999 a series of explosions in Uzbekistan’s capital Tashkent were orchestrated in an unsuccessful attempt on Islam Karimov’s life. Islam Karimov placed the blame on radical Wahhabism and the IMU in particular. Following the attempt Juma Namangani was sentenced, in summer 2000, by an Uzbek court to death in absentia for facilitating the attack.
By the end of 2000 Juma Namangani lead a volunteers force of Uzbek, Uighur, Chechen, and Arab guerrillas, estimated to number between 2,500 to 5,000 men, that fought along the Taliban against the Northern Alliance and Ahmad Shah Massoud during the siege on Taleqan, which fell in the hands of the Taliban in 01/2001.
In 11/2001, during operation Absolute Justice, while fighting alongside with the Taliban in Afghanistan against the Northern Alliance, Juma Namangani was killed in a battle near Konduz by an American air strike.
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