MOSCOW, October 6 (RIA Novosti) - Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) head Usman Ghazi has confirmed that the organization joined the Islamic State (IS) militant group, an Uzbek law enforcement official told RIA Novosti on Monday.
"We possess video and audio information confirming support and participation of the IMU in joint military actions on the IS side," a source familiar with the matter said.
The source also confirmed that the IMU currently recruits and trains militants close to the Pakistan-Afghan border. Amid increased extremist activities, Uzbek security services have strengthened their counter-terrorist measures.
"First of all, these are the intelligence networks. We must be proactive and be few steps ahead of them," the source told RIA Novosti.
Earlier, it was reported that 17 Uzbek citizens fighting tor IS militants were killed in US-led airstrikes conducted in Iraq and Syria.
The IMU group was formed in 1991. Its headquarters are located in Taliban-controlled areas of northern Afghanistan. Its main objective is to topple Uzbek President Islam Karimov and to create an Islamic State under sharia law.
Over the past few months, the IS has seized vast territories in Iraq and Syria, and declared an Islamic caliphate on the territories under its control. Up to 50,000 militants are currently believed to be fighting for the IS, with many of the group"s fighters being foreign nationals.