DAMASCUS -- Members of a predominantly Uzbek militant group in Syria are expressing distrust of their own leader, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) reported July 22, quoting online exchanges between the militants.
Imam Bukhari Jamaat (IBJ), which claimed last October to have more than 300 members, is comprised mostly of ethnic Uzbeks from Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistani citizens.
It has always been aligned with the Afghan Taliban, but some members went online to express their anger when IBJ commander Sheikh Salakhuddin July 19 swore loyalty to new Afghan Taliban supreme commander Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada in a statement on the IBJ website.
Salakhuddin is guilty of "murder" and "espionage", one source within IBJ told RFE/RL. In a July 14 exchange online between two IBJ members, which RFE/RL obtained, IBJ member "Abu Yusuf" accused Salakhuddin of "serving the infidels", five days before Salakhuddin pledged loyalty to Haibatullah.
The militants' reasons for objecting to alignment with the new Taliban supreme commander were not reported.