The presence of Abdul Haq al Turkistani, a veteran Al Qaeda leader, in Afghanistan contradicts the Taliban’s claims that there are no foreign fighters based in the country.
Hosts Tom Joscelyn and Bill Roggio discuss how the Chinese Communist Party’s repressive policies in the Xinjiang region could drive more people into the jihadists’ arms.
As the world continues to deal with the spread of COVID-19, jihadists have taken it upon themselves to exploit the situation for their own political gain and to offer advice to their own members.
FDD’s Long War Journal reported earlier this month that the Turkistan Islamic Party released new images of its men fighting and training in Afghanistan. The Taliban, which is currently seeking to downplay the presence of foreign terrorist groups in Afghanistan, subsequently issued a statement claiming that the montage was “falsified.” That is a lie.
The video shows TIP’s men with captured Afghan military equipment, as well as recruits undergoing training.
Security in Badakhshan has gradually worsened over the past five years since the Afghan military and police took full control of security in the province. Al Qaeda and other foreign terrorist groups have a significant presence in the northern province.
The Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP), an al Qaeda-affiliated group, has released a series of images showing a large number of fighters preparing for battle in Syria. The TIP has been a key jihadist group within the insurgency for years.
According to a recently released report by a UN Security Council monitoring team, the Taliban is the “primary partner for all foreign terrorist groups operating in Afghanistan,” including al Qaeda. The only exception is the Islamic State, which opposes the Taliban.
The Turkistan Islamic Party, “Incite the Believers” operations room and Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham are all battling Bashar al-Assad’s loyalists in Latakia, Syria.
The head of the Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP), Abdul Haq al-Turkistani, has called on jihadist “scholars” to do more to address the plight of Uighurs. Al-Turkistani addresses his message to Taliban leader Haibatullah Akhunzada, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and a number of al Qaeda ideologues.
According to the UN’s Jan. 2019 assessment, al Qaeda’s relationship with the Taliban is “long-standing” and “strong.” And al Qaeda “continues to see Afghanistan as a safe haven for its leadership.” The UN estimates that the Islamic State has several thousand fighters in Afghanistan as well.
The Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP) in Afghanistan and Syria has long operated as part of the Taliban-al Qaeda axis. Earlier this year, however, the TIP’s Syrian branch sided with Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) during its battles with other rebel groups. This infighting and related events have complicated the picture with respect to the TIP in Syria. One TIP-affiliated outlet claimed earlier this year that the group’s senior management had sent new leadership from Afghanistan to Syria.
The foreign fighters include one Canadian and three French-speaking militants. The latter bunch likely belong to Omar Diaby’s Firqatul Ghuraba, a French jihadist outfit in Syria.
The IJU is the second foreign jihadist group to highlight joint battlefield operations with the Afghan Taliban in recent weeks.
Turkistan Islamic Party fighters, alongside the Afghan Taliban, released a video showing the combined forces overrunning remote Afghan military outposts in mountainous terrain.
The camps were used by the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) and other terrorist groups.
While Katibat al Ghuraba al Turkistan (KGT) appears to be small, it is yet another group in northwestern Syria containing ethnic Uighurs.
The footage of the convoy is undated, but it offers a good look into the Turkistan Islamic Party’s strength, size, and importance on the battlefield.
The suicide bombings show the Turkistan Islamic Party’s close battlefield integration with al Qaeda’s forces in Syria, as well as further highlighting its position within the overall al Qaeda network.
Jihadists, Islamists and rebel groups affiliated with the Free Syrian Army (FSA) launched a new offensive against Bashar al Assad’s regime in northern Hama province earlier this week. Hay’at Tahrir al Sham, al Qaeda’s joint venture in Syria, is playing a prominent role in the fighting, dispatching several suicide bombers and its “special forces.” Upwards of 10 or more FSA-branded groups are participating as well.
This marks at least the second time a French fighter has been killed alongside the Turkistan Islamic Party in Syria.
The Pentagon is still assessing the results of airstrikes on Jan. 1 and Jan. 3 in northern Syria, but it is believed that 20 al Qaeda “militants” were killed in the bombings. The airstrikes are likely among the most significant carried out against al Qaeda in Syria since Sept. 2014. President Obama reportedly authorized a more robust air campaign against al Qaeda in Syria late last year, after the administration had previously defined down the threat.
Al Qaeda’s rebranded guerrilla army in Syria is fighting alongside other jihadists, Islamists and Free Syrian Army-branded rebels in an offensive intended to break the Assad regime’s siege of Aleppo. Most of the participating groups belong to two coalitions: Jaysh al Fath (“Army of Conquest”) and Fatah Halab (“Aleppo Conquest”). These same two alliances tried and failed to break the siege earlier this year.
The Turkistan Islamic Party, a Uighur jihadist group connected to al Qaeda, continues its long tradition of showing children trained for jihad.
More than 20 jihadist, Islamist and other rebel organizations took part in the offensive to break the siege of Aleppo. It was likely one of the largest combined efforts in the history of the Syrian war.
The foreign jihadists are operating within Jaysh al Fateh’s renewed offensive in Latakia, in which several Free Syrian Army groups are also taking part.
In the ninth episode of the Islamic Spring video series, Ayman al Zawahiri says Uighur jihadists, who are from the Xinjiang region of China, have shown the ummah what mujahideen unity means in the face of international enemies. Zawahiri praises the deceased founder of the Turkistan Islamic Party, Hasan Mahsum, and his jihadist followers.
Jaysh al Fateh, a jihadist-led coalition that includes al Qaeda’s official branch in Syria, and various groups affiliated with the Free Syrian Army have launched a new offensive on government-held positions in the Latakia province. The assault has been named the “Battle of Yarmouk.”
The Turkistan Islamic Party released an audio message from its leader, Abdul Haq, on May 30. The message is the latest indication that Abdul Haq survived a US drone strike in 2010. The man identified as Haq blasts the Islamic State’s so-called caliphate and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), which swore allegiance to Abu Bakr al Baghdadi in 2015. Haq claims the IMU has “disappeared” since.