Violent attacks by Pakistan-based radical groups now have China in their sights. From the Wall Street Journal:
A militant Muslim group claimed by video it carried out recent attacks in western China that killed at least three dozen people, a monitoring group said.The video was purportedly made by the Turkistan Islamic Party, which seeks independence for China’s western Xinjiang region, the SITE Intelligence Group said this week. The militants are believed to be based in Pakistan, where security experts say core members have been trained by al Qaeda.Xinjiang is home to largely Muslim ethnic Uighurs who say they have been marginalized by an influx of China’s majority Han to the region. Ethnic riots there two years ago killed at least 197 people.Security has been raised, but still, dozens were killed in slashings and arson and hit-and-run attacks in the cities of Hotan and Kashgar in July.The more than 10-minute video released in late August features Turkistan Islamic Party leader Abdul Shakoor Damla, whose face is blotted out, saying those attacks were revenge against the Chinese government.
The big lesson here is that Pakistan is truly spinning out of control. Deteriorating relations with the US combined with the inexorable long term decline of Pakistan compared to its hated rival India make the China connection truly vital.It gets harder and harder to speak of a unified Pakistani government pursuing a single set of policies. It looks more and more as if we have a group of uncoordinated, mutually competitive free lancers and rogue actors that no one controls.China wants a Pakistan option, but incidents like this cannot be ignored. The Uighur uprising threatens China’s security at home and if Pakistan is unwilling or unable to control the activity of these groups in China itself, it cannot be considered a reliable partner by anyone when it comes to the future of Central Asia.Americans, I suppose, should welcome this latest evidence that Pakistan is as incompetent an enemy as it is unreliable a friend, but the spectacle of what could be a rich and important country wrecking its prospects and plunging its population into misery and conflict is too appalling to applaud. This is nothing, nothing like what Jinnah had in mind.