The Al Qaeda-affiliate Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan now claim they were ultimately responsible for the assault in Pakistan on Karachi’s international airport. The militant Islamist group said they fought side by side with the Pakistani Taliban during the raid that took 39 lives.
Currently DNA tests are being conducted on the 10 gunmen killed in the assault. Officials said they appeared to be of Uzbek ethnic origin. Thirty-nine people total were killed in the insurgent’s onslaught. The militants, disguised in Pakistani uniforms, rushed into the Jinnah International Airport in one of the deadliest attacks in Pakistan in years.
A senior Taliban commander told Reuters, “It was a joint operation in which our Uzbek brothers played an important role,” he said. “I can’t tell you about the nature of support they provided us with, but in operations such as Karachi airport, one group provides fighters, another arranges finances for weapons and explosives.”
The group claimed they were motivated to retaliate for military air strikes carried out by the Pakistani government this month. They alleged that the air strikes killed innocent women and children. Pakistan said it had killed 60 Taliban and al Qaeda-linked jihadists in the North Waziristan region.
Sunday’s attack was followed shortly thereafter by a second round of attacks, but not as severe. Militants could not breach the airport perimeter the second time around, and there were no casualties reported.
The Islamic movement of Uzbekistan shares the Flag of Jihad banner with Al Qaeda. They work closely with the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, Al Qaeda, and the Taliban. While originally an ethnically pure Uzbek movement, many believe they have implemented Kyrgyz, Tajik, Chinese Uyghurs, and Turkmens into their membership. Its ultimate goal is to overthrow Uzbekistan President Islam Karimov and create an Islamic state that follows the Quranic Sharia law.