Uzbek Pro-ISKP Media Threatens China, Promises Attacks on Central Asia-China Pipelines
On September 9, the Uzbek-language pro-Islamic State Khurasan Province (ISKP) media group Tawhid News published a statement about IS, China, Central Asia, and the Taliban. In line with the ISKP media and communication sphere’s recently emergent trend of macro geopolitical analysis involving China, the group discusses China’s global expansion, describes the threat it faces from ISKP, and provides scathing criticism of the Taliban’s relations with China and Uzbekistan.
Tawhid News states that the expansion of the Islamic State Khurasan Province into Central Asia is one of the greatest threats to China and its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) ambitions across the region.
The statement notes that because the United States can block chokepoints in the Persian Gulf and Strait of Malacca at any time to prevent oil and gas flows to China, Beijing considers pipelines through Central Asia to be vital to its national interests.
Thus, they claim, the Islamic State’s expansion into Central Asia will undoubtedly include bombings and sabotage operations against oil and gas pipelines that run overland from Central Asia to China, which would have disastrous consequences for the Chinese economy. The primary motive for such attacks on Chinese interests and energy infrastructure in Central Asia would be Beijing’s oppressive policy actions toward Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang.
Tawhid News says that the strategy of targeting pipelines would run consistent with the tactics of other IS groups such as the branch in the Sinai, adding that Islamic State militants in the region blow up gas pipelines running from Egypt to Israel.
Similarly, they threaten, that when IS further establishes itself in Central Asia, they will bomb pipelines supplying China with energy resources.
The statement then remarks that one of the main reasons ISKP considers the Taliban an enemy is because they choose Chinese money over helping oppressed Uyghur Muslims. Tawhid News asserts that China uses the Taliban as protection against ISKP and is concerned about the Islamic State’s entrenchment in Central Asia. They comment on how ISKP has repeatedly threatened China over its harsh treatment of Uyghur Muslims as well as about the Taliban’s protection of China.
Furthermore, Tawhid News says the Taliban have already admitted to cooperating with Uzbekistan in their fight against the Islamic State.