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ISIS ‘Pursuing Big Policy’ Aimed at Sparking U.S. Civil War Through Lone-Wolf Attacks

ISKP chief strategist claims that cutting the throat of an infidel elderly woman could devastate budgets of western states with the security response.

Since the last U.S. military planes left Kabul in August 2021, Islamic State’s Wilayat Khorasan has become the most dangerous Salafi-Jihadi group in Central Asia drowning Taliban-ruled Afghanistan in blood and threatening the national security of Pakistan, Iran, India, China and post-Soviet Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. Along with devastating and spectacular suicide bombings against Taliban forces and Shi’a Hazaras, Sikh and Hindu religious minorities, ISIS-Khorasan recently first announced its global ambitions to carry out lone-wolf attacks on the U.S. and Europe.

Abu Khuroson al-Mujohid, the notorious propagandist and chief strategist of ISKP Uzbek group, urged Islamic State supporters and sleeper cells in the West to carry out lone-wolf attacks across the U.S. and European countries. His six audio messages, “Lone-Wolf Attacks on the Dar al-Kufr,” totaling 32 minutes were released by ISKP’s propaganda arm, Tawhid News Media, on September 11, mocking the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

At the beginning of his speech, Abu Khuroson al-Mujohid noted that there are three reasons for the resumption of the ISIS lone wolf attacks on Europe and the United States. The first reason is aimed at protecting the global Muslim Ummah. He elaborates theological arguments from the Quran and Hadith, justifying the killing of Kafirs (infidels) in the Dar al-Kufr (land of disbelief) by ISIS Mujahideen. He argues that the Quran allows the killing of American and European Kafirs on their territory with any weapon, but without reference to a specific Surah or Ayah. In his own time, the Prophet Muhammad killed the enemies of Islam on their territory of Dar al-Kufr, sending his faithful followers there to carry out a combat mission, he said.

According to al-Mujohid, while fighting with the Mujahideen in the Dar al-Islam (land of Islam), Kafirs casually and indiscriminately killed thousands and thousands of peaceful Muslim women, children and the elderly, destroyed their property and houses in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria. Therefore, “our time has come to answer them with the same coin,” he continued. He further called on ISIS supporters to kill Kafirs in the same way, to burn down their houses, as the houses of Muslims burned from their firebombs. “The life of the U.S. and European infidels should turn into hell as our Caliph (ISIS leader) issued a fatwa to take revenge,” he stated.

He advised ISIS supporters not to hesitate to kill even elderly women in the West, as it has the same psychological explosive effect as killing thousands of Kafir soldiers on the battlefield. By killing an old woman in Dar al-Kufr, ISIS can ignite the fire of Fitna (heretical uprising) among unbelievers because its lone-wolf attacks will certainly sow fear, doubt and chaos in the U.S. and Europe. Kafirs cannot hide information; as a consequence, 300 million Americans and 60 million French will be under stress that day, cowardly looking over their shoulder, going crazy with fear, al-Mujohid explained the ISIS plan.

He claims that a simple throat-cutting of an infidel elderly woman could devastate the entire budget of Kafir states, as their governments will forced to spend billions of dollars to strengthen intelligence spying on Muslims in metropolitan areas. If the Kafirs suffer unexpected financial damage, they will not be able to carry out their military operations in Dar al-Islam against the Muslims, he suggested.

Further, al-Mujohid “revealed the secret of his job” in ISIS-Khorasan related to closely follow U.S. and European social media, according to which they carried out more than 30,000 domestic operations spying on Muslim believers in the West last year wasting a lot of security effort and huge finances.

The second reason for lone-wolf attacks on Kafirs on their territory, Dar al-Kufr, according to al-Mujohid, is aimed at inciting civil war in their land. He explained this by citing U.S. domestic political issues on the eve of November midterm elections. According to him, whenever the Caliphate’s followers kill a few Kafirs in their land, American society sharply is divided into two opposing camps: Racist-Nationalists and Democrats. Usually, racist-nationalists always oppose Muslim migrants, while Democrats support them. The two camps are constantly squabbling amongst themselves: racist-nationalists put pressure on the Democrats not to accept Muslim migrants, while the Democrats want to maintain their power with the help of migrants, he said.

“The Islamic Caliphate is pursuing a big policy to bring America’s internal confrontations into civil war with lone-wolf attacks,” al-Mujohid clarifies the ISIS goal. According to him, the confrontation between the two camps has reached such a point that in 5-6 years it could escalate into a civil war. And then it will be the victory of the Caliphate, as the main Kafir would drown in his own blood, he believes. He then elaborated on the U.S. internal political processes, which indicates that ISIS closely monitors public opinions in the West. According to him, Grand Kafir Joe Biden is fighting against racist-nationalists, calling them “domestic terrorists.” Al-Mujohid called the January 6 U.S. Capitol attack the “fruit of seeds sown by Osama bin Laden and ISIS.” He urged ISIS supporters to actively carry out lone-wolf attacks on Dar al-Kufr in order to ignite a civil war between U.S. racist-nationalists and Democrats so that Kafirs can’t attack Dar al-Islam in the future, he concluded.

The third reason for the need to carry out lone-wolf attacks on the U.S. and Europe, in his opinion, is aimed at stopping the migration of Central Asian Muslims to the West. As he said, about 5,000 Uzbeks migrate to the U.S. each year. In his opinion, they are all slaves of Taghuts (idolaters) and Kafirs, whose descendants will become “Murtaddin” (apostate) and will protect the U.S. Democrats’ interests. The U.S. wants to rule Central Asia through these Murtad slaves in the future and destroy Dar al-Islam; therefore, the warriors of Allah should conduct lone-wolf attacks against the U.S., then the racist-nationalists and Islamophobians will put pressure on the Democrats to stop the immigration of Muslims, he said. Ultimately, ISIS attacks on Dar al-Kufr should protect the holy religion of Islam and its sacred land, Dar al-Islam, al-Mujohid said.

In conclusion, he expressed confidence that very soon the ISIS Mujahideen lone-wolf attacks against the U.S. and Europe would intensify. He asked the Almighty to increase the ranks of the warriors of Allah, who want to attack the Kafirs of the West.

Thus, the call of Abu Khuroson al-Mujohid, the key ideologue of the Uzbek-speaking ISKP jihadists, is a strategic guide for their lone-wolf terrorists living in the West. While he did not offer tactic tutorials on the methods of lone-wolf attacks, as ISIS and al-Qaeda have in the past, nevertheless he has made clear that elderly women are potential victims, perhaps believing they are more defenseless than men.

It is noteworthy that ISKP’s Central Asian hardline Uzbek, Tajik, Uighur and Kyrgyz jihadists operate in Afghanistan’s Jowzjan, Kunduz and Badakhshan provinces. They are notable by their daring bloody activity and frequent sophisticated suicide attacks against the Taliban forces. Notably, Abu Khuroson al-Mujohid is the fairly well-known jihadi propagandist and chief strategist of ISKP, responsible for the post-Soviet Central Asian direction and recruiting new supporters from the Fergana Valley. He is distinguished by oratorical skills, tough Salafi views on Islam and an attempt to project the ISIS strategy in the context of geopolitical processes in the world. Due to his proficiency in English, he may have been involved in the preparation and editing of the English version of the Voice of Khurasan magazine, produced by the official media arm of the ISKP, the Al Azaim Foundation. Perhaps he comes from the Andijan region of Uzbekistan, as his Uzbek is distinguished by an Andijan accent.

It became clear from his audio messages that ISIS seeks to achieve a loud intimidating effect from its lone-wolf terror attacks to instill a sense of fear amongst U.S. and European inhabitants, and the number of victims plays a secondary role.

As al-Mujohid’s audio address showed, ISIS-Khorasan is well aware of the complex nature of the domestic political rift between Democrats and Republicans on U.S. migration issues and is trying to exploit this to plan and carry out their lone-wolf attacks in the West. ISKP’s multilingual media outlets in Uzbek, Tajik, Russian and Pashtun pursue a blend of local and global objectives. Along with improving its tactical capabilities, IS-Khorasan is now demonstrating its global ambition to target the U.S. and Europe.

Therefore, following brilliant special operations to neutralize two ISIS leaders – Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi – and al Qaeda emir Ayman al-Zawahiri, U.S. intelligence should not downplay the threat of ISKP Uzbek jihadists. The threat posed to the U.S.homeland by Salafi-Jihadi groups like al Qaeda and Islamic State has not gone away. Against the background of the failure of the Taliban to unite around itself all political forces, religious and ethnic groups, ISIS’ Khorasan branch is on an ideological rise. Its recent bloody and theatrical attacks may well inspire homegrown violent extremists in the West.

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Uran Botobekov, Ph.D.
Dr. Uran Botobekov is a leading expert on the Central Asian Salafi-Jihadi Movement, a research fellow, and a member of the Advisory Board of EU Modern Diplomacy. During his career, Dr. Botobekov combined public and diplomatic service for the Kyrgyz government with scientific research. At various times he worked in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as the head of the State Policy Department of Governmental Agency for Public Service Affairs of Kyrgyz Government and the Press Secretary of the Kyrgyz President. He also served as the Counselor-Ambassador of the Kyrgyz Republic to Turkey and Ukraine. Dr. Botobekov regularly publishes books, articles, and Op-eds. He is the author of two books, several articles, and book chapters regarding Sunni Jihadism, terrorist financing, and radical Islamism. His research and analytical articles on militant Salafism in the post-Soviet Central Asian space were published in Russia, Turkey, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Japan, USA, India, China, Vietnam, Germany, and Kyrgyzstan. His 2019 book, “Think Like Jihadist: Anatomy of Central Asian Salafi-Jihadi Groups,” analyzes the stages of formation and development of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) and other militant groups in post-Soviet Central Asia, as well as their joining global ISIS and al Qaida. At the same time, Dr. Botobekov contributed to media and research platforms such as CSIS, Modern Diplomacy, The Diplomat, The Jamestown Foundation, The American Foreign Policy Council’s Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst and Carnegie Moscow Center on counterterrorism and homeland security issues. He regularly advised governments of Central Asian countries on matters relating to radical Salafism and Islamist extremism.

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