Juma Namangani

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Juma Namangani
Birth name Jumaboi Ahmadjonovich Khodjiyev
Nickname(s) Jumma Hakim, Jumma Kasimov, Tojiboy[1]
Born 1968 (1968)
Namangan, Uzbek SSR
Died 6 November 2001(2001-11-06) (aged 32–33)
Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan

Jumaboi Ahmadjonovich Khodjiyev (1968 – 6 November 2001), better known by the nom de guerre Juma Namangani, was an Uzbek Islamist militant with a substantial following who co-founded and led the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and received substantial Taliban patronage, allowed to operate freely in northern Afghanistan.[2]


Namangani was born in 1968 in Namangan, located in the Fergana Valley.[3] He was conscripted into the Soviet Army in 1987[citation needed] and fought as a paratrooper in the Soviet–Afghan War.[3] He was radicalised by his experiences in Afghanistan and, following the war, returned to Namangan. There, he associated with local Islamists of the Islamic Renaissance Party (IRP) and the local Islamic revolutionary party Adolat (English: Justice), including Tohir Yoʻldosh, a mullah who sought the imposition of Sharia (Islamic law) in Uzbekistan.[3]

Tajikistani Civil War[edit]

Namangani fled to southern Tajikistan in 1992, following a crackdown on Adolat by the government of Islam Karimov, with a group that included roughly thirty Uzbek fighters and a few Arab intermediaries between Adolat and Saudi Arabian financiers. There, he recruited Uzbeks fleeing the crackdown, commanding about two hundred within a few months, as well as Arabs disillusioned with the infighting among Mujahideen forces in Afghanistan.[3]

With support from the IRP, which supplied Tajik fighters, Namangani's group established a base of operations in the Tavildara Valley and fought in the Tajikistani Civil War in support of the United Tajik Opposition (UTO), temporarily occupying the town of Tavildara on two occasions. Namangani opposed the peace agreement signed between the UTO and the government of Emomali Rahmon in June 1997, but eventually demobilized most of his fighters while sustaining a core group of supporters in his Tavildara Valley stronghold. He bought and operated a farm in the village of Hoit and also owned lorries that transported goods to the Tajik capital, Dushanbe; he is also alleged to have trafficked heroin from Afghanistan through Tajikistan to European markets.[3]

During the Civil War, Namangani was an effective commander due to his first-hand knowledge of Soviet Army tactics, which were practised by the Tajikistani military and Russian forces based in the country. According to various IRP leaders, Namangani was "a tough disciplinarian and good speaker who could mobilize people" and held the loyalty of his fighters; however, he was also described to be "erratic, temperamental, and authoritarian," and frequently ignored orders from the party's political leadership.[3]

He is essentially a guerrilla leader, not an Islamic scholar. He is a good person but not a deep person or intellectual in any way, and he has been shaped by his own military and political experiences rather than by Islamic ideology, but he hates the Uzbek government—that is what motivates him above all. In a way, he is a leader by default, because no other leader is willing to take such risks to oppose Karimov.

— Moheyuddin Kabir, Islamic Renaissance Party[3]


Namangani was killed in Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan, on 6 November 2001 and was eulogised, together with Mohammed Atef, in a speech by Osama bin Laden on 8 November 2001.[4][5]



  1. ^ Ciment, James, ed. (2015) [First published 2011 by M. E. Sharpe]. World Terrorism: An Encyclopedia of Political Violence from Ancient Times to the Post-9/11 Era (2nd ed.). London and New York: Routledge. p. 192. ISBN 978-0-7656-8284-0. 
  2. ^ Rashid, Ahmed (2001). "The Fires of Faith in Central Asia". World Policy Journal 18 (1): 45–55. JSTOR 40209731. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Rashid, Ahmed (14 January 2002). "They're Only Sleeping: Why militant Islamicists in Central Asia aren't going to go away". The New Yorker. Archived from the original on 6 February 2016. Retrieved 6 February 2016. 
  4. ^ Mir, Hamid (8 September 2007). "How Osama bin Laden Escaped death 4 times after 9/11". Canada Free Press. Archived from the original on 6 February 2016. Retrieved 6 February 2016. 
  5. ^ Donovan, Jeffrey (30 October 2003). "U.S.: Diplomat Sees Growing Terrorism Challenge In Central Asia". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Archived from the original on 6 February 2016. Retrieved 6 February 2016. 

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