The Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM)

Alternative Names

Eastern Turkistan IslamicParty (ETIP)

Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP)

Allah Party [Hizbullah] of East Turkestan

East Turkistan National Revolution Association


Summary

Threat to Kyrgyzstan

There is a moderate threat to Kyrgyzstan from ETIM, although the group's main focus is China it has developed close ties to Kyrgyzstan, as such violence could over-spill . However at present recruitment remains the biggest potential problem. If Chinese authorities start increasingly violent crackdowns sympathy for the group will grow within Kyrgyzstan. Then the countries mountainous border could become a base camp for ETIM operations.

Location

Kyrgyzstan and Xinjiang province, China. With a small presence suspected in Afghanistan, Syria and Pakistan.

Leadership

The ETIM leadership are hard to identify as many key figures of the group have been killed by US drone strikes and Pakistani security forces. However the leader as of 2014 was purported to be Abdullah Mansour. Although it has been reported, but has not been verified, that Abdul Haq al Turkistani has returned to command ETIM. This despite being reported dead in a US drone stroke in 2010

There has been much confusion if ETIM and TIP are different organisations. However, it appears that ETIM although going into decline after 2003 due to the death of its leader, actually just reformed into TIP.

Membership

The precise size of ETIM is unknown. However, it is suspected to be fairly small made up of various groups fighting or training in different nations. A report which claimed to have statistics from Pakistani intelligence put the number of ETIM fighters in Pakistan in 2013 between 300-400.

Funding

Previously have been funded by both the Taliban andal Qa’ida 

Ideology and Objective

ETIM seeks to gain independence for the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region and to establish an independent islamist state stretching from Turkey through Central Asia into China called “Eastern Turkistan”. 

The Uighur and ETIM are predominately Sunni.

Tactics

Suicide bombings, coordinated firearm assaults, mass stabbings, assassinations of officials, car bombs, hijackings and other types of bomb attack.


Major Attacks

2002 - Two ETIM members were deported from Kyrgyzstan for planning an attack on embassies in Bishkek.

2008 - Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP) took creditfor a two bus bombings in Yunnan province.

2008 - A plan was foiled to detonate a homemade explosive device on a flight from Xinjiang to Beijing.

2011 - ETIM took credit for an attack on a police station in Xinjiang.

2011 -  ETIM took credit for a a series of bomb and knife attacks in Kashgar.

2013 - ETIP claimed responsibility for a deadly car bomb attack in Tienanmen Square.

2014 - ETIP is also suspected involvement in mass stabbing attack in Kunming in 2014.


History

  • ETIM’s arose from China’s Xinjiang province. Its roots are in the Uyghurs population, a culturally and ethnic Turkish people that in 2014 made up around 40% of the provinces population
  • At various points in Xinjiang province’s history it has pushed for independence. However it was incorporated into China in 1949.
  • Conflict first arouse as a result of the Chinese government encouraging Han Chinese to settle in the province since the 1950s. This has significantly changed the ethnic demographic of the province.
  • The resulting ethnic and religious change led to the creation of various separatist groups.
  • ETIM is one of these separatist groups. The group was created in 1993 by Hasan Masoom (also known as Hasan Mahsum) an ethnic Uyghur.
  • There is limited reported activity of ETIM through the rest on the 1990’s. This is partially due to the Chinese government stance on suppressing on information from Xinjiang province.
  • However, the Chinese government later reported that in February 1999 ETIM had established multiple small scale training camps and weapons workshops in Xinjiang.
  • ETIM had also forged links with the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan which was reported to have aided ETIM with training and material for financial donations.
  • Links were also being made between ETIM and al Qa’ida.
  • ETIM also broadened its recruitment from just the Uyghur population to those of Kyrgyz, Uzbeks and other Central Asian nations.
  • In October 2003 Hasan Masoom was killed by Pakistani soldiers raiding al Qa’ida compound in South Waziristan.
  • The relationship with al Qa’ida was further cemented by the new leader Abdul Haq who in 2005 became a member of al Qaida's Shura Council.
  • ETIM fought alongside al Qaida and the Taliban in Afghanistan.
  • China and the US has accused ETIM of various terrorist actions both in China and out.
  • In 2002 two suspected ETIM members were deported from Kyrgyzstan for planning an attack on the US embassy in Bishkek.
  • Chinese authorities targeted training camps in Xinjiang, while US and Pakistani forces targeted ETIM operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The latter eliminating multiple senior members.
  • ETIM publicly threatened the Beijing Olympics, however the Olympics had no terrorist incidents.
  • In 2008 Asub-group of ETIM called the Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP) took credit for a two bus bombing in Yunnan province that resulted in two deaths. However, TIP seems to be just another name of ETIM.
  • While the Chinese government foiled an attempt to detonate a homemade explosive device on a flight from Xinjiang to Beijing.
  • The US reported repeatedly through the 2000s that ETIM, IMU and IJU were all planning possible attack on US interests throughout Central Asia,
  • In 2011 ETIM took credit for two attacks: the first an attack on a police station in Xinjiang leaving four dead and four injured. Secondly a series of bomb and knife attacks in Kashgar which left twelve dead and forty injured.
  • In 2013 ETIP claimed responsibility for a deadly car bomb attack in Tienanmen Square,resulting in 5 deaths and injured forty.
  • ETIP is also suspected to be involved in many of the mass stabbings that has taken in place in china. Which at the very least they have encouraged. One of the worst attacks was in Kunming in 2014 where twenty-nine people were killed.
  • There has been much confusion if ETIM and TIP are different organisations. However, it appears that ETIM although going into decline after 2003 due to the death of its leader, actually just reformed into TIP.
  • Due to the lack of information on news from Xinjiang it is difficult to assess how much ofa role ETIP has in individual events. As the Chinese government will emphasise central terrorist control rather than acknowledging that the violence could be being expressed by the population independently.

Designed by Oliver McGough
Using Format