East Turkestan Islamic Movement: A Danger To China

In May there were many bomb blasts in Kabul. 60 Innocent people including girls students were killed in these blasts. 

Spokeswoman of the Chinese foreign ministry Hua Chunying condemned the violence. And connected these violent incidents with American’s irresponsible withdrawal strategy.

Hua insisted on a planned US withdrawal. That will save Afghan people from more chaos and panic. 

Yet she did not mention the major danger to China. No doubt East Turkestan Islamic Movement’s re-emerging is yet a serious issue for China to counter.

East Turkestan Islamic Movement

That terror group is mainly based on Uighur ethnicity. Xinjiang is their main target. They want to liberate it by militancy. And they named Xinjiang as East Turkestan. 

The United Nations listed that group as a terrorist organization in 2002. An interesting thing happened in November 2020 with that group. The Trump administration removed it from the terrorist category. The cited reason for that was no proof was found for labeling it terrorist. 

Analysts also point to the prediction that different extremist factions are gaining strength in Afghanistan with US withdrawal. Among them, East Turkestan Islamic Movement is one whose presence is reported in northern provinces that are close to the China border. 

Predicted Threats From ETIM

Experts are of the view that ETIM will recruit more fighters when the Taliban get a stronghold in Afghanistan. ETIM has a transnational agenda. So it is a matter of concern for the whole Central Asian region. 

China’s main concern with ETIM is about instability in Xinjiang as 4 routes of BRI cross from that region. Terror groups have threatened certain times to attack China’s dream project. 

China is trying to have balanced relations with all stakeholders of Afghanistan. China offered help in training the Afghan national army. And it offered development to the Taliban in exchange for peace. China welcomed the US withdrawal decision. China is also worried about after-effects.

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