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.