A Uighur terrorist from a videotape released by the Turkistan Islamic Party last year.
The leader of the al Qaeda-linked Chinese terror group has threatened to attack Chinese interests around the world to avenge the death of Uighurs in the eastern province of Xianjiang.
Abdul Haq al Turkistani, the leader of the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Party, threatened to attack Chinese embassies worldwide as well as targets within the country. Haq made his threats on a video that was released on an Islamist Internet site.
“(The Chinese) must be targeted both at home and abroad,” Abdul Haq said. “Their embassies, consulates, centers, and gathering places should be targeted. (Chinese) men should be killed and captured to seek the release of our brothers who are jailed in Eastern Turkistan.”
Haq said that it is the “duty” of his followers to “continue to resist without desperation.”
Haq’s videotape comes in response to the recent violence in China’s eastern province of Xianjiang. Clashes between Uighurs and security forces broke out after police attempted to break up a protest in the provincial capital of Urumqi on July 5.
The Uighurs were protesting murderous attacks on laborers by ethnic Chinese Hans living in the region. Nearly 200 people were killed and more than 1,600 were wounded, and another 1,000 have been detained. An exiled Uighur leader later claimed that more than 10,000 Uighurs have gone missing.
Background on Abdul Haq and links to al Qaeda
Haq, who is also known as Maimaitiming Maimaiti, became the leader of the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Party in late 2003 after Hassan Mahsum, the group’s previous leader, was killed in Waziristan, Pakistan. Haq was appointed as a member of al Qaeda’s Shura Majlis, or executive leader council, in 2005, according to the US Treasury Department, which designated him as a global terrorist in April 2009. The United Nations also designated Haq as a terrorist leader.
Haq is considered influential enough in al Qaeda’s leadership circles that he is dispatched to mediate between rival Taliban groups as well as to represent the Shura Majlis in important military matters. In June, Haq was spotted in Pakistan’s tribal areas attending an important meeting with Baitullah Mehsud, Pakistan’s overall Taliban commander. Haq and a senior delegation of Taliban and al Qaeda leaders traveled to Pakistan’s tribal areas to discuss the Pakistani military’s operation in South Waziristan. Among those in attendance were Siraj Haqqani, the military commander of the deadly Haqqani Network; and Abu Yahya al Libi, a senior al Qaeda ideologue and propagandist.
The Treasury Department said Haq has sent operatives abroad to raise funds for attacks against Chinese interests both at home and abroad. He also is involved with the planning and execution of terror attacks, recruiting, and propaganda efforts. In early 2008, Haq openly threatened to conduct attacks at the Olympic Games in Beijing.
Haq ran a training camp for his recruits at al Qaeda’s camp in Tora Bora in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar prior to the US invasion in October 2001 [see LWJ report, The Uighurs in their own words]. He later reestablished camps for the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Party in Pakistan’s lawless, Taliban-controlled tribal areas. The Chinese government has pressured Pakistan to dismantle the camps.