Press Center

 Press Statement on the UN Designation of The Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement


Yesterday the United Nations has added to its list of terrorists and terrorist supporters associated with Usama bin Laden and his al-Qaida network the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM). We welcome this designation, which comes at the requests of the governments of Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, the United States, and China. This is an important step toward greater cooperation in Central Asia against common terrorist threats and the instability and horror that they sow. Today’s action follows a series of joint actions with our allies in the war on terrorist financing, which to date has included actions with the EU, the G-7 countries, Italy, Saudi Arabia, and now Central Asia.

With the addition of this entity, the United Nation’s list of terrorists and their supporters who are linked to the al-Qaida network now comprises 162 individuals and entities. This organization is also among the 236 individuals and entities designated under President Bush’s Executive Order 13224 aimed at freezing the assets and prohibiting financial transactions with terrorists and their supporters.

Background Information on the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement

The Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement is an organization that includes components in Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, and the Xinjiang Province of China. The ETIM’s aim is the establishment of a fundamentalist Muslim state to be called "East Turkistan." To that end, from 1990 to 2001 elements of the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement have reportedly committed over 200 acts of terrorism, resulting in at least 162 deaths and over 440 injuries.

ETIM has a close financial relationship with al-Qaida and many of its members’ received terrorist training in Afghanistan, financed by al-Qaida and the Taliban. A number of ETIM and ETIM-linked militants were captured in Afghanistan last fall fighting alongside al-Qaida and the Taliban. A July 2002 report from the Hong Kong press quoted captured militants as saying ETIM leaders still worked with Usama bin Laden.

ETIM also has a history of cooperation with other militant Islamic organizations in Central Asia including the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), an al-Qaida linked organization previously designated by the United States as a Foreign Terrorist Organization, under President Bush’s Executive Order 13224, and included in the United Nations’ list of al-Qaida linked terrorists and supporters. Indeed, according to Russian press reports in August 2000, the IMU had provided military and material assistance to ETIM in exchange for hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations. A joint meeting of ETIM and IMU was later arranged with Usama bin Laden in Kandahar.

Although ETIM did not originally target U.S. nationals, there is evidence indicating that ETIM members have been taking steps to plan attacks against U.S. interests and nationals abroad, including the U.S. Embassy in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. On May 22, 2002, two suspected ETIM members were deported to China from Kyrgyzstan on the grounds that they were planning terrorist attacks. The Kyrgyz government stated that the two men were planning to target embassies in Bishkek as well as trade centers and public gathering places.

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