Turkistan Islamic Party trains women for jihad

The al Qaeda-linked Turkistan Islamic Party is actively training female recruits to wage jihad in South and Central Asia.

A short, one-minute-long video by the Turkistan Islamic Party shows five burka-clad women training with pistols, assault and sniper rifles, machine guns, and grenade launchers. A male trainer is seen directing the women. The Turkistan Islamic Party’s distinctive light blue flag is seen flying in the background.

The video was first obtained by The Sunday Times and was shared with The Long War Journal. It was produced by Islam Awazi, the Turkistan Islamic Party’s official media outlet.

Although the location of the training camp was not disclosed, the video was likely filmed in Pakistan’s Taliban-controlled tribal agency of North Waziristan. The Turkistan Islamic Party is known to host training camps in the tribal agency, particularly in the Mir Ali area.

In the past, the Turkistan Islamic Party has also released videos of children training to wage jihad.

The video of the female recruits highlights an increasing trend by jihadists in the Afghan-Pakistan region to use females to conduct attacks. The Long War Journal has recorded six female suicide attacks in Pakistan and three more in Afghanistan since 2010. The last such attack took place on April 21 at the entrance to a hospital in Khar in Pakistan’s tribal agency of Bajaur.

These female suicide attacks have been executed by the Afghan Taliban, the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, and the Hizb-i-Islami Gulbuddin. Prior to 2010, no female suicide attacks were reported in the region.

Qari Zia Rahman, a Taliban commander who also is a member of al Qaeda, is known to run suicide training camps for females in the Afghan-Pakistan region. The US military has been hunting Qari Zia in northeastern Afghanistan since at least 2010, but he has dodged the raids.

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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  • Suzanne Visschedijk says:

    Good article with a tiny textual flaw: please correct Turkish Islamic Party into Turkistan (… etc.). Best regards, Suzanne

  • mike merlo says:

    What makes “The Sunday Times” so sure the burka clad ‘babes’ were women?
    It seems as if Female suiciders are much ‘easier’ to deploy in the ‘Pak’ side of the AfPak

  • Bikebrains says:

    Just some thoughts. First, are the burkas covering women or men? A disinformation campaign involving female terrorists would send their enemy chasing after burka clad women resulting in conflicts favoring al Qaeda. Second, at 00:39 into the video, in the background there is a person squatting on a ledge. For purposes of safety, this person should be behind the line of fire. Third, will the women be allowed to learn to read so that they can read the firearm’s maintenance manual?

  • Birbal Dhar says:

    I find it strange that a Turkistani islamic terrorist group would use an Arabic language nasheed instead of a Uighur one. And there are plenty of Uigher nasheeds around. I’ve notice this group is now extending their propaganda videos in Turkish and even in Russian, where some of the terrorists have even popped up in the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) videos. There is certainly collaboration between the IMU and this group in terms of video sharing and of course military sharing.

  • Jeff Edelman says:

    Well, this is good news. Finally, the recognition of women’s rights/equality under islam. Who are these people who say it is not enlightened? The human rights people will be elated at this news. Or, could it be a case of running out of suckers? What next of their possessions will they send into battle? Goats? Sheep? Chickens? I’ve raised the question before of the ramifications of using homicide bombers as the weapon of choice. Perhaps, now, we are seeing it?


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