Updates on China’s Security and Militancy in Asia: Dasu Suicide Bombing; Indonesian Islamist Hostility; Baloch Separatist Operations; Islamic State and Al-Qaeda Propaganda
• On July 14th, a suicide vehicle bombing targeting a bus killed 13 people, including nine Chinese workers and two Pakistani soldiers. The bus was attacked while en route to a dam construction site in northern Pakistan. Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi claimed the subsequent investigation revealed that a "nexus of Indian RAW and Afghan NDS" had provided support to the militant network responsible for the attack. Qureshi said the “Swat chapter” of Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), or the Pakistani Taliban, “executed the terrorist attack,” and that “the planning for the terrorist attack was done in Afghanistan.” The TTP quickly denied these allegations in a statement released through its official media outlet.
• On August 13th, the Baloch Republican Army (BRA) published a statement taking responsibility for one of its snipers killing a soldier of “the occupying army… guarding an under construction link road of CPEC (China Pakistan Economic Corridor).”
• On August 20th, a suicide bombing targeting Chinese nationals in Gwadar killed two people and injured three others. No Chinese citizens were killed, although two received minor injuries according to a police statement. The Baloch Liberation Army (BLA), an armed separatist group, published a statement claiming responsibility for the attack. The attacker, in his martyrdom video, said, “I want to warn China, once again, that China should stop its expansionist designs immediately and withdraw from Balochistan. Otherwise, they should be prepared to face the wrath of the Baloch nation.”
• On August 26th, Baloch Raji Ajoi Singer (BRAS) released a statement saying Baloch militants successfully attacked and killed seven soldiers guarding the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) route in the Kelkor area of Panjgur. In their statement, they warned: “The occupying forces are conducting operations on the civilian population to clear the areas around the exploitive project, CPEC, while the Baloch people are being forcibly evicted from the said areas.”
• A recent South China Morning Post (SCMP) article tells of how, in Indonesia, “an increasingly common narrative in both Islamist and jihadists chats characterises the Jokowi government as a tyrannical un-Islamic regime controlled by Chinese interests.” The author states, “since 2019, anti-China sentiment has emerged as a crossover issue for militants in Indonesia, playing a role among these circles that is similar to anti-Shia sentiment in the recent past.” I have previously written on this trend, which you can read >here<.
• The Islamic State has continued to criticize and threaten China in its media content. Since the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, the Islamic State and pro-IS propagandists have markedly increased their focus on Taliban-China relations. This subject has received attention from the Islamic State’s central and official media organs, however, the Islamic State Khurasan Province (ISKP) and pro-ISKP propagandists have taken the lead in terms of intensity. Regional and local elements from the ISKP media ecosystem have published books, videos, and images that in part or primarily focus on the Taliban’s dealings with Beijing. For more information, you can read >this post< I wrote on the recent surge in IS media criticizing the Taliban and China.
• In their statement congratulating the Taliban on their victory in Afghanistan, Al-Qaeda’s central command commended several aligned jihadist groups around the world and mentioned various regions where Muslims face oppression — Xinjiang, or “East Turkistan,” was a notable omission. However, Al-Qaeda’s official video for the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, released through AQ’s chief propaganda outlet, As-Sahab, included mention of “Turkistan” by Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) leader Khalid Batarfi. In a recent issue of the pro-AQ magazine Manhattan Wolves, there was a call for violence against several states including China: “It is not necessary that such operations take place in the American soil only, the enemies of Islam are spread all over the world, so whoever is in Frances should carry out targets in France, and whoever is in Britain, should do the same, and whoever was in Andalusia, the should target the occupying infidels, and this applies to everywhere, so here is Russia and China, Sweden, Italy and other Crusaders.”
You can read more about recent Baloch militant attacks on Chinese nationals and interests here:
1.) Balochistan Liberation Front Claims Attack on Chinese Nationals in Karachi (Late July)
2.) Baloch Republican Army Claims Attack on Security Forces Guarding the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (Early August)