China on Thursday warned that some of the militants who fought along with Islamic State (IS) forces in Iraq and Syria have started returning to their home countries posing a security threat to Beijing and Central Asian states.
China said that as part of the regional Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), it has worked out a plan of action to deal with the militants. The SCO has strengthened monitoring of both the Internet and members of the “three evil forces” who have come back from such hotspots as South Asia, West Asia and North Africa where they honed their terror skills, Zhang Xinfeng, director of the Executive Committee of SCO’s Regional Anti-Terrorism Agency told state-run Xinhua news agency.
Chinese officials in the past said a number of Uygur Islamic militants from the volatile Xinjiang province went to Syria to fight by joining IS forces and some of them were caught when they returned. “They (militants) tend to incite religious extremism, recruit followers and plot terror attacks via the Internet,” Zhang, an anti-terrorism expert from China said.
“Every SCO member state has extremists of this kind who are fighting in Syria and Iraq. These people have started returning to their homeland, which constitutes a major threat to regional security,” Zhang said. The SCO comprising China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan,
Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan is holding its two-day, 14th summit at Dushanbe beginning today.
Officials say that India and Pakistan, which have observer status in SCO could become regular members soon as the bloc is expected to take a decision to admit new members. Zhang said SCO member states have submitted to the agency relevant information earlier in the year, and plan to work out joint measures against militants of the “three evil forces” later this year, Zhang said.
“Our goal is to eradicate threats to the region’s stability before they cross the borders,” he said.