Center for Strategic Communication

The Turkistan Islamic Party, an al Qaeda-affiliated terror group, has released a video that shows young children firing weapons while at a training camp in Pakistan.

The video was released by Islami Awazi, a propaganda arm of the Turkistan Islamic Party. A clip of the video was published on the LiveLeak video website.

In the video, the children, some of whom appear to be no older than six, are shown firing handguns, AK-47 assault rifles, and a PKM machine-gun from various positions. At one point, 13 children are seen on line, firing AK-47s while standing and lying down.

As the children fire their weapons, the black flag of the Taliban and a light blue banner used by the Turkistan Islamic Party can be seen flying in the background.

The video is similar to others released by allied jihadist groups such as the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, the Islamic Jihad Group, and a jihadist alliance called the Fedayeen-i-Islam. All of these groups are known to run camps in North and South Waziristan that train children.

The Turkistan Islamic Party operates in China as well as Central and South Asia and is thought to have scores of fighters in Pakistan’s tribal areas and in Afghanistan. TIP fighters have been killed by Coalition forces in Afghanistan and by US drone strikes in Pakistan. Abu Ubaydah Abdullah al Adam, a senior al Qaeda leader who serves as the terror group’s intelligence chief, has written several biographies for TIP fighters killed in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The group’s leaders also hold senior positions in al Qaeda. Abdul Haq al Turkistani, the slain former leader of the Turkistan Islamic Party, was a member of al Qaeda’s Shura Majlis, or executive council. And Abdul Shakoor al Turkistani, who was rumored to have been killed in a drone strike last year, is also thought to have been appointed to the Shura Majlis, in addition to being designated commander of al Qaeda forces in the tribal areas.

Prior to the US invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001, Abdul Haq ran a training camp for his recruits at al Qaeda’s camp in Tora Bora in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province [see LWJ report, The Uighurs in their own words]. He later reestablished camps for the Turkistan Islamic Party in Pakistan’s lawless, Taliban-controlled tribal areas. Twenty-two Turkistan Islamic Party operatives were ultimately captured and detained at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility; since then, 17 of them have been released or transferred to allied governments, and five have been approved for release but have refused resettlement in volunteer countries.