Katibat al-Imam al-Bukhari (KIB)


Katibat al-imam (KIB) is a U.S.- and U.N.-designated terrorist organization that was “the largest Uzbek fighting force” in Syria as of 2018. It has fought alongside Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), as well as running training camps for children in the northwest.* The group has been allied with HTS and with the Afghan Taliban since 2014.* During its 2016 attack on the Kurdish-controlled neighborhood of Sheikh Maqsoud in Aleppo, KIB fought alongside Ansar al-Islam, the Caucasus Emirate, and Jaish al Muhajireen wal Ansar.* Since its founding, KIB has worked closely with al-Nusra Front and the other pro-Nusra Uzbek group, Katibat al Tawhid wal Jihad (KTJ).* Like KTJ, KIB also has an Afghan branch, a splinter group from the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan.* KIB’s Syria branch pledged allegiance to the Afghan Taliban in November 2014 and its leadership  continued to voice  support for the group through 2020. The U.S. State Department designated KIB as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) in March 2018.* However, in recent years KIB splintered, with most members joining the anti-Syrian regime faction Ahrar al-Sham which maintains a small military presence in Idlib.*


Salahadin al Uzbeki (deceased 2017), Abu Yusuf al Muhajir*

Base of Operations

Syria and Afghanistan*



Membership Size and Relevance

KIB has approximately 220 fighters spread between Syria and Afghanistan.* It was originally led by Afghan veteran Salahadin al Uzbeki until his death in 2017, after which KIB was led by Abu Yusuf al Muhajir.* However, as KIB no longer exists as a unified group in Syria and most of its members have joined Ahrar al-Sham, it is unclear on what grounds KIB remains a pro-al-Qaeda faction.

Recruitment and Propaganda

Both the Syrian and Afghan branches of KIB have recruited the children of fighters into training camps, where they are taught how to handle weapons and engage in physical training exercises.* KIB has operated at least two training camps in Syria since as early as 2014, and regularly published videos showcasing the training of foreign and Syrian fighters.* The group also posted accounts of its ongoing military operations on YouTube, Vimeo, and Telegram.*

Violent Activities

KIB has fought alongside al-Nusra Front (and later HTS), and other pro-al-Qaeda factions in Syria since it formed in 2014.* The group has participated in the major offensives in Idlib in 2015 and in Latakia and Aleppo in 2016.* KIB fought against both Syrian regime and Kurdish forces in Aleppo city during the fall of 2016.* Despite significant losses for the Syrian opposition, KIB has continued to play a frontline role in battles around northwest Syria, including the 2019 fighting in northern Hama and the 2020 fighting in Idlib against the Syrian regime.* The group utilizes heavy mortars and trucks mounted with large anti-air cannons, along with light and heavy machine guns.*


  • July 2016: KIB releases a video prominently featuring the former leader of al-Qaeda Osama Bin Laden and included eulogies for other slain members of al-Qaeda.*
  • February 2020: KIB leader writes in a letter congratulating the Taliban for its deal with the United States, “the US and NATO forces, who claim to be divinely human and claim divinity on earth…are despised, degraded, and [have] recognized the defeat of their crusade….[the] Americans considered them [the Taliban] naive and helpless, but they are powerful by the promise of God…Let us remember some of the milestones and successes of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan [the Taliban]…Mullah Omar did not hesitate at all when he received the news that America had attacked Afghanistan.”*

Daily Dose

Extremists: Their Words. Their Actions.


On May 8, 2019, Taliban insurgents detonated an explosive-laden vehicle and then broke into American NGO Counterpart International’s offices in Kabul. At least seven people were killed and 24 were injured.

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