Update: Oct. 17 2016 via the Atlantic — “Kyrgyzstan suffered its first-ever suicide bombing: an IED car attack at the Chinese embassy in Bishkek that killed the attacker and wounded five others, three of them Chinese. The attacker was Zoir Khalilov, a 33-year-old ethnic Uighur man carrying a Tajik passport, according to Kyrgyz authorities. Chinese and Kyrgyz media reported that he was a member of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), a Uighur separatist group.”
See the brief below for my original assessment.
Brief: 30 Aug 16, 9:30 AM – Car bomb at Chinese Embassy Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan kills one injures two. Suspected that Uighur separatists are responsible, symbolically ahead of Kyrgyzstan’s 25th independence anniversary on 31 Aug. Expect immediate, prolonged communications blackout and escalated security restrictions in Xinjiang, China.
Implications: China’s response to the bombing will only reinforce anti-Chinese sentiments by Uighurs, ensuring future attacks and further ISIS recruitment. China Watchers – Look out for increasing globalized Uighur terrorism. Future bombings are less likely to occur in the PRC than in smaller regional countries due to the PRC’s high security and lack of unregulated weapons/explosives.
Analysis: Kyrgyzstan, an independent Turkic state, is symbolic to Uighur separatists who want to establish an independent East Turkistan in China’s Xinjiang province. China has long suppressed the East Turkestan Independence Movement, and has borne the brunt of multiple mass stabbings and car bombings by Uighur separatists since 2014.
While no group has claimed responsibility, the attack falls around other multiple high-profile events: recently Nurlan Motuev was sentenced to jail for “terrorism and incited ethnic, racial, and religious hatred” (29 Aug. 2016), World Nomad Games (3 Sept. 2016), and the G20 summit in Hangzhou (4 Sept. 2016).
On 28 July. 2016 Uighur nationals were called to fight along side ISIS and have been reported fighting in Syria, Iraq, and Indonesia. Uighur separatists hope that their support for ISIS will be reciprocated through the liberation of Xinjiang.