Al Qaeda-linked Chinese terrorist leader reported killed in US strike in Pakistan


ETIM-video-1.JPG

A Uighur terrorist from a videotape released by the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Party in 2008.

The leader of a Chinese terrorist group who serves on al Qaeda's top council may have been killed in an airstrike in Pakistan's Taliban-controlled tribal agency of North Waziristan. The report is not confirmed.

Abdul Haq al Turkistani, the leader of the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Party, is reported to have been killed by the US in the Feb. 15 airstrike. The US strike targeted a vehicle and a safe house operated by Taliban leader Hafiz Gul Baradar in the town of Tabi Ghundi Kala; four terrorists were reported killed in the attack.

Pakistani intelligence officials and Taliban sources claimed that Haq was killed in the strike, according to a report in Geo News. US intelligence officials contacted by The Long War Journal could not confirm Haq's death but are investigating the reports.

"He's certainly a dangerous terrorist leader, one we'd like to check off our list," an intelligence official told The Long War Journal. "He's on al Qaeda's top shura [council] and he is seeking to carry out attacks across the globe."

Haq was last heard from in August 2009, when he threatened to attack Chinese embassies worldwide as well as targets within the country.

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.

Al Qaeda appointed Haq to its 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 2009, Haq was spotted in Pakistan's tribal areas attending an important meeting with Baitullah Mehsud, then 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 recruiting, propaganda efforts, and the planning and execution of terror attacks. 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.

Despite Haq's connections to al Qaeda and the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Party's role in the global jihad, the US is releasing fighters belonging to the terror group from the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. Of the 22 Eastern Turkistan Islamic Party detainees captured on the battlefield in Afghanistan in 2001 and 2002, only seven remain in custody. Five were transferred out of custody by the Bush administration and 10 more by the Obama administration.

The seven remaining Eastern Turkistan Islamic Party fighters in US custody are expected to be freed, as the US government no longer considers them a threat. Two of the detainees have been offered the opportunity to resettle in Switzerland and five others in the island nation of Palau.



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READER COMMENTS: "Al Qaeda-linked Chinese terrorist leader reported killed in US strike in Pakistan"

Posted by BraddS at March 1, 2010 5:18 PM ET:

What is with this catch-and-release program for terrorists??

Posted by JT at March 1, 2010 7:29 PM ET:

Bill,

The report cited by Dawn (link below) appears to significantly contradict other reporting of the fraction of civilian casualties from drone strikes. Your thoughts?

http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/front-page/one-out-of-three-killed-by-drones-is-a-civilian%2C-says-study-230

Posted by Zeissa at March 1, 2010 9:12 PM ET:

On behalf of China I thank the US for killing this person.

Posted by Zeissa at March 1, 2010 9:16 PM ET:

I had a look at the disgusting pack of lies and derivative mindwashed propangada. Do note its authors, sources and reporters... western liberal sourcing, greedy news retailers and a muslim reporter.

Posted by Bill Roggio at March 1, 2010 9:51 PM ET:

JT,

Alex Mayer addressed that issue last fall, you can see his response here:

http://www.longwarjournal.org/threat-matrix/archives/2009/10/predators_taliban_and_civilian.php

Posted by Bill Brown at March 1, 2010 10:50 PM ET:

Well, one less terrorist for the world. Good job CIA.

Posted by BraddS at March 2, 2010 7:18 AM ET:

Zeisssa, your comments, as always, are spot on. The Media's message is always the same for every story: "Disaster Seen as Catastrophe Looms". I think (hope, more like) that most of the public realizes that the media operates on the principle that if they disgust/scare/outrage you then you will pay attention, and the more people who pay attention, the more money they get.

Now if we could only convince the other 99% of the public who don't get this...

Posted by Al at March 2, 2010 8:21 AM ET:

Al Queda are all civilians, no? So are Taliban.

Their supporters, as well, are all civilians. They have no national army and represent no nation.

Posted by ArneFufkin at March 2, 2010 9:38 AM ET:

@zeissa. If I'm not mistaken, the New America Foundation (the source for the Dawn figures) was the crew who published poll showing no fraud in the 2009 Iranian election.

Posted by Zeissa at March 3, 2010 4:27 AM ET:

BraddS: Thanks, I've spent a few thousand hours studying these kind of things, so I hope I get most of it right (not all of it, but the wide majority of it... like I didn't bother to check if the reporter was a muslim, but probably). You might want to read strategypage.com, it's often wrong and biased towards being a warhawk, but it's got a lot of good information on weapons and common sense of wars.
Anyway, I'm fairly sure at least 5-10% of the public gets it, but yes, it is indeed a tragically small amount.

Arnefufkin: They did, hmmm? I hear Ahmedinejad might've won the election if you just ignore his intimidation tactics, even without the probable cheating. The source for the Dawn figures... wait, it was a poll? How can you gauge that kind of thing by poll... it should at least be by a prediction market (not that it'd be much better). Lol, checking on election fraud by a POLL :D... What's next, deciding elections by who's more popular?

XD, nah I'm ok with democracy, mostly, I support it greatly. Rly. Hehehe

Posted by Zeisa at March 3, 2010 4:30 AM ET:

*cough* A correct comparison is deciding on the correctness of evidence or not for a criminal court by a population-wide poll.

Not that I'm against juries (they're not wide polls), they have to spend time reviewing the cases and they're more concerned with guilt than evidence.

Posted by Zeissa at March 3, 2010 4:34 AM ET:

Actually BraddS, I think maybe half the US can see the media for what they are... but even most of them will still be somewhat misinformed by the sheer volume of the news. It's a bit (not much) like living in a communist nation, even if you're skeptical to the messages it's hard to know the extent, except the news sources are free to do as they please and DO get things much more right.

Anyway, thanks for the compliment.

Posted by Rookie at March 3, 2010 10:35 AM ET:

Hmm... I wonder if I go around killing people if US government will resettle me in Palau. Why working half your life to afford a holiday there when you can cut some throats instead and get the VIP treatment?

Posted by Zeissa at March 3, 2010 2:23 PM ET:

Haha! Lol. Good one!