Turkistan Islamic Party releases video of children in training

The Turkistan Islamic Party, an al Qaeda-affiliated terror group, has released a video that shows young children firing weapons while at a training camp in Pakistan.

The video was released by Islami Awazi, a propaganda arm of the Turkistan Islamic Party. A clip of the video was published on the LiveLeak video website.

In the video, the children, some of whom appear to be no older than six, are shown firing handguns, AK-47 assault rifles, and a PKM machine-gun from various positions. At one point, 13 children are seen on line, firing AK-47s while standing and lying down.

As the children fire their weapons, the black flag of the Taliban and a light blue banner used by the Turkistan Islamic Party can be seen flying in the background.

The video is similar to others released by allied jihadist groups such as the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, the Islamic Jihad Group, and a jihadist alliance called the Fedayeen-i-Islam. All of these groups are known to run camps in North and South Waziristan that train children.

The Turkistan Islamic Party operates in China as well as Central and South Asia and is thought to have scores of fighters in Pakistan’s tribal areas and in Afghanistan. TIP fighters have been killed by Coalition forces in Afghanistan and by US drone strikes in Pakistan. Abu Ubaydah Abdullah al Adam, a senior al Qaeda leader who serves as the terror group’s intelligence chief, has written several biographies for TIP fighters killed in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The group’s leaders also hold senior positions in al Qaeda. Abdul Haq al Turkistani, the slain former leader of the Turkistan Islamic Party, was a member of al Qaeda’s Shura Majlis, or executive council. And Abdul Shakoor al Turkistani, who was rumored to have been killed in a drone strike last year, is also thought to have been appointed to the Shura Majlis, in addition to being designated commander of al Qaeda forces in the tribal areas.

Prior to the US invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001, Abdul Haq ran a training camp for his recruits at al Qaeda’s camp in Tora Bora in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province [see LWJ report, The Uighurs in their own words]. He later reestablished camps for the Turkistan Islamic Party in Pakistan’s lawless, Taliban-controlled tribal areas. Twenty-two Turkistan Islamic Party operatives were ultimately captured and detained at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility; since then, 17 of them have been released or transferred to allied governments, and five have been approved for release but have refused resettlement in volunteer countries.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of The Long War Journal.

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  • adam says:

    Mr. Roggio, did the TIP ever confirm that Abdul Haq al-Turkistani was killed in a drone strike? I can’t find a martyrdom statement for him online. I know your sources confirmed his death in 2010.

  • Dave says:

    Bravest photographer ever!

  • mike merlo says:

    the worst part about this is that these children are also being duped into being Suicide Bombers & also serving in support roles in Combat Operations & Combat Zones. No wonder children show up regularly as KIA’s in Operations targeting the Taliban & their associates

  • sundoesntrise says:

    I’ve always wondered – and NEVER gotten a clear answer – as to exactly how the local tribal inhabitants perceive such activity. Do they approve of it, or disapprove of it? I have seen videos uploaded to Youtube via mobile phone that shows “normal” life in the tribal regions; perhaps they are just trying to look normal to the outside world perhaps?
    It’s just hard to believe that the tribal inhabitants would approve of such, shall we say, aggressive individuals and groups using their territory to kill fellow Pakistanis, and Afghans, and people all over the world.
    And if they do not approve of the Jihadist activities in their region, the question begs to differ, why not just kick them out? I know for a fact that the tribal regions have a culture where each household is armed to the teeth sometimes with rocket launchers. So the possible scenario that they are “hostages” of the Jihadists is complete and utter bogus. They say no outside force has ever conquered the tribal belt but the foreign Jihadists sure seem to have done the job.

  • gb says:

    Are these youngsters members of the Turkestan Rifle Association (TRA)?…lol. The NRA has some catching up to do…

  • clayusmcret says:

    We’re either going to wake up and recognize the issue, or we’re going to wake up to find reality striking us in the face.

  • mark says:


  • SlayerMill says:

    I’m fairly certain I’ll be going to hell for writing this, but I laughed throughout the duration of this entire video. Watching little kids try and shoot is just funny to me. On a serious note, this article and video further support the statement I recently made about the Dagestani jihadist group statement article found here on the LWJ. To make an honest dent in combating jihadists, we have to start fighting them on an ideological front. I don’t mean cramming democracy down their throats, because that obviously hasn’t worked thus far. I don’t care what anyone says, Western democracy isn’t compatible with Islam. Democracy gives its citizens the right to free-will, as opposed to Muslims, who conduct their daily lives according to ridiculous fears of Allah’s wrath or very real fears of reprisals for being viewed as takfiri Muslims. Absolute free-will is never going to be palatable in a misogynistic and sexually repressive religion like Islam. Democracy is also viewed as a Christian creation, so that alone makes democracy off limits to Muslims. The only way forward is making jihadists irrelevant. There’s a reason jihadists always set up shop in the cesspits of the world. They come in offering medical care, education (i.e. heavy religious indoctrination), and food; precisely where the local government aren’t helping. This isn’t too sophisticated but it works. I just read an article recently, forgive me for not citing the source because I honestly can’t remember, but it was from a few years ago during an election in Lebanon. A Christian was being interviewed about who he was voting for and he said the Hezbollah candidate. When asked why, he simply said because they were providing the people with food and medical care while the local government wasn’t. If we, as Western nations, can fill these voids, we can begin to gain the upper hand over jihadists. This is a very long process though, and can take decades to truly pay off, that’s the tough part. Like any system, it isn’t perfect, but it’s the only way to overcome the early indoctrination of children seen in this video. They have to see we aren’t anything to be afraid of or hate.

  • SlayerMill says:

    @ sundoesntrise
    To provide a starting point in answering your question, which is a very dynamic subject by the way; I can tell you marriage is a factor as to why local tribes tolerate the early jihadist indoctrination seen in this video. Especially in areas like the FATA and NWFP between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Jihadist organizations, like Al Qaeda for instance, have been marrying into the local tribes for decades, making them family. On many occasions the marriages have been forced in order to cash in on the Pashtunwali code of hospitality. Once the jihadists start having children with the locals, all bets are off when it comes to corralling their activities, or getting the tribal elders to banish them. I’m willing to bet at least some of the children in this video are actually the children of jihadists who may not originally even be from Turkistan.

  • David says:

    What you say makes sense in principle, but I would bet that the jihadis are quite aware of this strategy, and would probably be able to counter it effectively. They would stage bombing attacks on any institution or piece of infrastructure that we build, just as they did in Iraq, to try to deny us the “win” for delivering to the locals. They would use their superior immersion into the culture to convince locals to oppose us rather than them, and where necessary, use coercion. Because we are not as culturally immersed as they are, it will always be more difficult for us to spot them as outsiders, than for them to spot us. Also, our need for translators provides them with a weak point.
    In short, I think that the US in Iraq tried exactly your strategy.
    Only when the jihadis screwed up so badly that they alienated their hosts was a space created for us to step in.

  • Birbal Dhar says:

    I believe there is more Turkistani islamic terrorists in Pakistan than in their homeland back in East Turkestan, where the Han Chinese population will slowly replace the Uighur population as the majority in a decade’s time.
    I also think these islamic terrorists operating in Waziristan are getting these videos produced by a group of people, who also do videos for other islamic terrorist groups operating in Waziristan. The reason I’m saying this, is because all these videos have at the beginning warnings not to add music to the production.

  • Kevin says:

    Nope, the TIP never commented on Abdul Haq’s death. Because of this, it’s safe to assume Abdul shakoor is dead too.

  • Leon says:

    According to Amir Mir, a TIP spokesman confirmed to him that Abdul Haq was killed. Don’t know about any martyrdom statement though.

  • SlayerMill says:

    @ David.
    That was why I said it takes a long time to work, possibly decades. Of course jihadists will bomb infrastructure projects funded by us and so forth, but like in Iraq, the people will eventually get tired of being killed by jihadists and see who their real enemy is… hopefully. This plan isn’t perfect by any means and isn’t a guaranteed way to win, but it’s better than what we’ve done in the Middle East thus far. There’s a huge difference with what I’m suggesting as opposed to what was done in Iraq also. In Iraq we had already effectively angered the locals, which is a terrible place to start off when trying to win them over. I’m saying we need to identify at-risk areas and beat the jihadists to the punch when it comes to supporting the basic needs of the locals. This differs from Iraq also in the fact that it doesn’t require boots on the ground. No overt military presence. Using NGO’s to disperse aid to the people would be the best bet, that way we can monitor the supplies to ensure they’re actually getting to the people. Establishing relationships with respected local leaders is important in this process also. Hire and train the locals to run security for the NGO’s also, give them a sense of real responsibility. NGO’s can do most of the heavy lifting in this process. We just need to make sure they have what they need to help the locals. We also need to be consistent, because especially in the Middle East, our reputation in that department isn’t one the locals would bet their lives on.

  • ahmed says:

    Shame on all the comments!
    If kids in U.S or israel can have summer military boot camps, if kids in china have to go through compulsary military camps(http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/world/2007-09-04-bootcamp_N.htm), then why all the fuss about kids learning to use some weapons?

  • SlayerMill says:

    @ ahmed.
    Part of me thinks you’re joking just to get a rise out of people, but another part believes you’re actually serious. I actually agree with you that there’s nothing wrong with children being trained to use guns at an early age. Proper training is how kid will learn to respect the destructive power of a gun, which I fully support. The problem in this instance is that these kids are being indoctrinated to hate and kill anything deemed non-Muslim or takfiri Muslim according to whatever semi-literate Shura is inventing TIP ideology. If you have solid evidence, not including whacked out Alex Jones style conspiracy theories/ Zeitgeist videos; definitively proving the U.S. has military camps teaching kids to hate and kill anything non-American, please post it for your readers to verify independently. Lumping the U.S. together with China and Israel is pretty ridiculous considering China isn’t even a real democracy and Israel has compulsory military service for everyone aside from Ultra-Orthodox Jews. I also wouldn’t take anything from USA Today all too seriously. Read about the ex USA Today reporter Jack Kelley if you want to know about the reliability of the “news” you’re getting from USA Today. Note for all who read this: verify your sources before you take what they write as the gospel.

  • David says:

    @Ahmed —
    Because when the US, Israel, or China (or almost any modern nation) does it, the intention is that the kids will *grow up* into soldiers, but that they won’t be used as soldiers while still children. None of these countries employs child soldiers.
    I think the implication of this video is that these kids are going to be used as soldiers right after a few months of training. That’s pretty disgusting.
    If the Turkistan Islamist Party has no intention of sending kids into battle, then maybe we owe them an apology. But I really doubt it.

  • sundoesntrise says:

    I’m also certain your comment is a troll because nobody can possibly be that dumb. You know exactly what the context of the video is and why these kids are being trained from such an early age, for what purpose and what they will do in the future.
    Your comparisons are entirely inaccurate red herrings. Apples, oranges? More like apples, ice cream. You are grasping at straws by trying to justify the indoctrination of children by claiming that other people in the world do the same thing when, like I said, the context and the scale of such indoctrination vastly differs between scenarios.

  • gb says:

    This is tactic used by the talib puppet masters charged with recruiting future jihadi’s. Kids like this are indoctrinated at an early age and are used as fodder or as future suicide bombers. This provides the movement with bodies that will spend their entire lives fighting in jihad.

  • Mr T says:

    And what could be more fun? Shooting guns and blowing up things is cool. Can’t listen to music or read books that are not about Islam so why not do soemthign fun.
    And you also learn a trade that will support you through life, namely killing other people while claiming you are just standing up to Muslim oppression.
    What else can you aspire to, memorizing the Koran?


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