China accused Pakistan, one of its closest allies, of providing training for attackers who killed 20 over the weekend in the northwestern Xinjiang region. Officials said the ethnic Uighurs were trained in Pakistan-based camps.
Local authorities said 20 people were killed in attacks by knife-wielding Uighurs on Saturday and Sunday in the second week of violence to hit Xinjiang.
The city government hasn't said whom it blames for the attack on Saturday, when it says that two Uighur men hijacked a truck near a popular night market, plowed it into a crowd, then leapt out and stabbed eight people to death. The crowd killed one of the attackers.
But it said Monday that an "initial probe" had shown that leaders of Sunday's attack on a restaurant, in which 11 people died, had training in Pakistan-based camps of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, the Wall Street Journal reported.
In a statement on their website, Kashgar authorities, claimed that the bombers of one attack had learned explosive-making skills from Pakistan's terrorist-run camps, AHN reported. "The heads of the group had learned skills of making explosives and firearms in overseas camps of the terrorist group East Turkistan Islamic Movement in Pakistan before entering Xinjiang," the online statement said.
China has long pointed the finger at Uighur groups waging a sometimes violent campaign for independence, of being part of ETIM, which it says has links to al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations and has sent people to train and fight in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
"But China rarely points a finger so directly and publicly at Pakistan, suggesting to some analysts that Beijing is either unhappy with Islamabad's counterterrorism efforts or anxious to portray the recent violence as emanating from abroad," the Wall Street Journal reported.
"The entire city of Kashgar is under martial law, and authorities have arrested at least 100 Uighurs," the Germany-based World Uighur Congress said in a statement, Reuters reports.
Earlier this month, 18 people died in an attack on a police station in the city of Hotan, the Guardian reports. Chinese officials blamed the attack on "terrorists" who were Uighurs.
But Uighur activists said Chinese security forces had provoked clashes by opening fire on peaceful demonstrators.