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Tojiddin Nazarov

June 18, 2020 Extremists

Born: 1987;

Place of Birth: Tajikistan;

Gender: Male;

Nationality: Tajik;

General Info:
Also known as Abu Osama Noraki, Nazarov is considered by the Tajik authorities to be among the most dangerous Islamic State recruiters from Tajikistan. Authorities say his recruitment efforts attracted dozens of Tajiks who joined the terrorist group.

Tajik authorities stated Abu Usama was from Norak, located in Khatlon province southeast of Dushanbe, and called him the Islamic State’s most dangerous recruiter among Tajiks.

According to the same Tajik authorities, Abu Usama Noraki joined the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq in 2014, previously worked with the IMU, and was radicalized when he was a migrant laborer working in Russia.

Noraki is a prominent Islamic State spokesperson to a Tajik-language audience, and since at least 2015 has frequently disseminated audio speeches through an Islamic State-affiliated, Tajik-language Zelloi channel that now has approximately 15,000 subscribers.

Terror Activities:
Noraki’s early August 2018 message regarding the Tajikistan president was likewise disseminated via Zello and social media sites. Noraki stated Rahmon was acting against Islam and that Islamic State mujahideen would soon move to Tajikistan and overthrow the government. Noraki claimed the killing of foreigners, an obvious reference to the July 29, 2018, attack, was the “first bell” for future jihad and attacks in Tajikistan.

Noraki also called on Tajik government officials to join Islamic State ranks and praised a certain Shaykh Abu Malik for providing the Islamic State with Tajik military insight. Shaykh Abu Malik is the nom de guerre of the former commander of Tajikistan’s OMON (Special Purpose Police Unit) Colonel Gulmurod Khalimov who defected to the Islamic State in 2015, was appointed Islamic State War Minister in 2016, and may have been killed in 2017

In February 2018, Noraki released an audio message through the same Zello channel threatening that “the United States, France, Germany, Belgium, Russia, Sweden, and other countries can count on, but do not know when, the Islamic State could attack.” Noraki also sought to dispel rumors of Khalimov’s death in another audio message from August 3, 2017.

Through online communication applications like Zello, Noraki’s audio speeches serve as a primary mechanism for the Islamic State to recruit, radicalize, mobilize, and guide operatives, and possibly coordinate financial support from a global Tajik-speaking diaspora.

Tajik authorities believed Noraki has over the years recruited over 100 Tajik nationals from Russia to the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. Specifically, in 2015, Noraki was believed to have recruited 14 individuals from Norak. Later, in 2017, Noraki’s audio messages motivated another seven individuals to travel to Afghanistan to wage jihad.

Noraki is also known to Swedish and Russian authorities as being the Islamic State leader responsible for directing attacks on their soil. On April 7, 2017, ethnic Tajik and Uzbekistan citizen Rakhmat Akilov drove a stolen beer truck into a crowd of shoppers in Stockholm, Sweden, killing five and injuring 15.

Akilov was arrested several hours later and admitted to Swedish authorities that he was in direct communication with and acted under the direction of high-level Islamic State representatives in Iraq. According to Swedish police, Akilov shared a picture of himself on Zello in the cab of the hijacked truck prior to the attack.

Akilov also communicated with Abu Usama Noraki and told Swedish investigators that Noraki was “the amir in our state” and “it was he who ruled my actions.”

In August 2017, Noraki was again implicated in leading an Islamic State external operation in Moscow, Russia. Russian authorities disrupted the Islamic State plot and arrested three Tajik nationals-Sovovush Davronzoda, Davlator Hojiev, and Sulaymon Burhanov-for planning suicide attacks.

The would-be attackers identified a certain Abu Usama Noraki to Russian authorities as the individual who prepared and directed them to conduct the attack in Moscow. Tajik officials subsequently identified Abu Usama Noraki as the aforementioned Tojiddin Nazarov.

Russian authorities reportedly arrested one Russian and three individuals from Central Asia-a group that reportedly included an Islamic State emissary, an explosives expert, and two suicide bombers. The group was directed by two senior Islamic State militants in Syria who hailed from the “former Soviet Union” and planned to target public transit and shopping areas in Moscow.

No details were released on how Noraki prepared and directed the attackers, though he probably used online messaging applications.

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  • LLL - GFATF - Rakhmat Akilov Rakhmat Akilov Rakhmat Akilov, a 39-year-old rejected asylum seeker and a citizen of...[+]
  • LLL-GFATF-ISIS Islamic State ISIS is an Islamic extremist terrorist organization controlling territory in Iraq...[+]
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