US airstrike killed 15 Turkistan Islamic Party fighters in Afghanistan


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

The US killed 15 foreign terrorists from a Central Asian jihadist group during an airstrike in northwestern Afghanistan earlier last week.

The Turkistan Islamic Party said that 15 of its members, including 13 Uighurs and two Turks, were killed during a Predator airstrike in Afghanistan. The al Qaeda-linked groups made the claim in a statement released on a website associated with the Turkistan Islamic Party, according to the SITE Institute.

Although the Turkistan Islamic Party did not specify where the fighters were killed, a senior Afghan police commander reported that a strike killed 15 Taliban fighters in Badghis province on Jan. 19.

“We got information through intelligence report about Taliban meeting in Khatawaran village of Balamirghab district and passed it on to international troops. NATO-led forces carried out air raids and killed 15 rebels,” the Afghan police official told Xinhua.

The Turkistan Islamic Party, which is also known as the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Party or Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement, operates primarily in China’s western province of Xinjiang as well as in the Central Asian republics. The group seeks to establish an Islamic state in the region. The Turkistan Islamic Party has training camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan and is known to operate in both countries.

The Turkistan Islamic Party has been designated as a terrorist organization by the United Nations, the United States, China, Kazakhstan, and Pakistan.

Abdul Haq al Turkistani, the leader of the Turkistan Islamic Party, is closely linked to al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden. Haq, who is also known as Maimaitiming Maimaiti, became the leader of the terror group in late 2003 after Hassan Mahsum, the group’s previous leader, was killed in Waziristan, Pakistan. Haq was appointed 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 2009, Haq was spotted in Pakistan’s tribal areas attending an important meeting with Baitullah Mehsud, Pakistan’s overall Taliban commander who was killed in a US airstrike two months later. 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 in 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 province 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. Although the Chinese government has pressured Pakistan to dismantle the camps, they are said to be still in operation.

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

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  • Adam Sadik says:

    Links between the Taliban and ETIP (restyled in 2000 as TIP) date back to the late 1990’s as seen in CNN video footage of Hassan Mahkdum fighting alongside the Taliban and claiming that by the grace of Allah, they are in Afghanistan for jihad and when finished in Afghanistan will take jihad to other countries that used to be Islamic.
    Hassan Makhdum is about 30 seconds in. He is the round faced fellow with the big beard and the white turban hugging people by the tank.
    That’s in addition to the Turkestan Islamic Party video released through Islam Awazi in January 2009 that praises martyrdom as the highest reward a Muslim can receive, celebrates the death of the infidels and apostates (that’s you non-Muslims) and calls China just another front in the war between Islam and the West? Featured speakers in the video: Hassan Makhdum and Abdul Haq who an the camp for Hassan Makhdum that the Uyghurs attended. The video also purports to show ETIP training at a camp in Afghanistan that includes heavy weapons training and ETIP fighters rolling around on a T-62 main battle tank.
    Did ETIP have multiple camps in Afghanistan or only the single camp that the Guantanamo Uighurs attended?
    Hassan Makhdum and Abdul Haq are easily identifiable thanks to the subtitles that provide their names. A rough translation of the
    video, with time reference points, is available here:

  • Taikonaut says:

    The BBC and various Western media outlets for years claim that Uighurs were innocent people suppressed by the China and accuse the Chinese of wrongly laballing then as terrorist. Did you know many western media including the BBC has largely ignored this news because it confirms there are Uighurs involve in terrorism and killing US and British soldiers.

  • Zeissa says:

    You would do well to impress my Motherland, China, with more than hellfire missiles in your many bombings.
    Honestly, as a half-western person and a capitalist half-Chinese I find it rather annoying that Washington stopped sending money to South Vietnam and stopped short of securing the Yalu river crossing. Both NK and Vietnam annoys China these days, though Vietnam is changing from the south.
    My point being, if you’d shown more strength in Korea there wouldn’t have been Chinese support in Vietnam. As it is it broke the Russo-Chinese friendship pact. More strength and China might be another weak democracy with many nifty civil rights.
    So yes, keep up the bombings. Do not care what your spoony friends say about blood that comes off ‘civilians’ (Al Qaeda support troops or family clearly, which in their culture is as good as support troops anyway). Blood impresses those of us in charge over here in the East. There are hundreds of millions of us who think you kill innocents, but a neo-autocracy doesn’t depend on those idiots.

  • Zeissa says:

    Mhmmm yes, actually we do suppress Islam (we let them have half an hour’s prayer max per day and government officials are not allowed to practice at all), but it is justified for numerous obvious reasons. It is good that we control our old frontier region. Another fifty years and it will no longer be an ethnic frontier. By now we are already in the majority, though Muslim rioters tend to be more organized. Thankfully the army and police backs us up.
    I am a Christian, and Christianity is only mildly suppressed in China by now, because Christianity is patriotic by nature. Also we are 10% and growing stronger. PS. I live in a special area region, that means I don’t have to use proxies. ^^
    My point being… there is a reason Islam is sat on by an anvil rather than a fat man.

  • Zeissa says:

    Though truth be told a lot of the Uighurs are really nice, and they kinda look western – which is rather pretty.
    Too bad some of them are poorly programmed religiously speaking.


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