April 4, 2010 Special Dispatch No. 2890

Exclusive: Posthumous Astemirov Letter Points to Presence of Jihadist Moles in Russian Army and Intelligence

April 4, 2010
Special Dispatch No. 2890

After Chief Qadi of the Islamic Emirate of the Caucasus Anzor Astemirov was killed in Kabardino-Balkaria on March 24, 2010, his mentor, salafi jihadi sheikh Abu Muhammad Al-Maqdisi, published two letters from Astemirov on his website, together with his responses to them. He also published a short eulogy for Astemirov, whom he held in great esteem.

Al-Maqdisi is the most important shari'a authority in the global jihad today, and is one of a handful of sheikhs who founded the radical salafi jihadi movement in the 1980s and '90s.

The letters from Astemirov are clearly personal correspondence, and Al-Maqdisi labels them as such. Al-Maqdisi's answers were intended to be direct guidance to Astemirov and the Caucasus Emirate, and not public fatwas. He only posted them publicly on March 26, 2010, after he received news of Astemirov's death; it is not clear whether the answers ever reached Astemirov himself, but they were definitely written while he was still alive, as Al-Maqdisi uses the formula "may Allah preserve him" in reference to him.

In one of the letters, Astemirov writes that the Caucasus jihadists have received offers of assistance from individuals in the Russian army, intelligence services, and government - some of them in senior positions - and asks Al-Maqdisi for guidance...


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