Empire Of The Ring Chapter 260
The Kazakh and U.S. government reached an agreement on the provision of surplus military supplies.
Although it was a military aid that began with a unilateral unrequited request from the U.S. side, it was officially known as an agreement because of the symbolism of Kazakhstan being an independent country. Kazakhstan was perceived as a subordinate state of Russia by many, so the Kazakh government intended to dispel such distorted views. The announcement was sending a message to the Chinese government which had been getting Kazakhstan’s resources at cheap prices that the Kazakh government could establish a business relationship with the U.S.A or with European countries. As for the U.S. government, it wanted to reduce China and Russia’s influence over Kazakhstan from establishing a relationship with Kazakhstan.
As everything was not what they seemed to be, the U.S. CIA got extremely busy over China and Kazakhstan’s issues. Assuming that Central Asian countries would revolt when China persecuted Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, they were getting ready to shake the Chinese government from the backstage.
Before Youngho’s group left to Xinjiang Uyghur, Michael called Youngho to warn him.
“You need to do this at a subtle level.”
“I got you chief. We’ll adjust the level of intensity on the spot.”
“Did you say that those Serbians are already fully immersed in there?”
“Well, yes. They were sent as a military advisory group.”
“Keep in mind that you guys are there only to stir up things, not to declare war. This will go on for a prolonged term.”
Michael had many concerns and requests but the operation in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region was approved. The U.S. CIA had been financially supporting independence fighters’ organization in Xinjiang, and as a huge population of Chinese people moved to Xinjiang, Uyghur people who felt threatened decided to actively begin their independence movement.
The U.S. who just agreed on sending military support to Kazakhstan did not let that pass. So, Youngho and Jong-il were now being sent as executives responsible for Russian mercenaries in Xinjiang to investigate the local situations.
In Xinjiang, 27 former Serbian militiamen had been working as mercenaries to fight for Uyghurs. These were the people who were involved in ethnic genocide during the Bosnian civil war. Since Serbians were Pan-Slavs, their identities were disguised as Russians, and they had been adapting well without any trouble.
Officially, Youngho received an order from the CIA but his personal reasons for visiting Xinjiang was to secure a foothold there and to check the training status of independence fighters’ group there. This was where the Serbian people were sent.
Youngho was not nervous since the only thing that could prove his identity was his Russian passport. Around the Chinese border between Kazakhstan and Xinjiang, there were many Asians who could speak Russian because they were mostly Central Asians that had been citizens of the federal states of the former Soviet Union.
Those people were from many different countries of Central Asia but many were also citizens of Russia, so it was not a difficult job to cross the border of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Many merchants crossed the border daily to sell their goods.
Youngho and Jong-il also reported that they were furriers and passed the checkpoint. It would be more convenient to use an airplane but because most merchants crossed the border by driving their cars, they also had to travel by land. Also, furs were not only sold in big cities, but they were also the items that were sold frequently in rural regions, so driving a van or an SUV made more sense.
“See that person in mountain-climbing clothes? He looks suspicious. Let’s talk in Russian now.”
The person that Jong-il pointed was acting careless but the vibe that came from his body was quite different than common hikers. There were not a lot of travelers who looked as comfortable as him around the border. It seemed that he was advertising that he was sent by authorities.
“Man, it’s like he’s saying it out loud that he’s got power.”
“You know how authorities are. We shouldn’t be worried too much.”
“We’re lucky to be Asians here. No one’s paying attention to us.”
Since they always grabbed people’s attention when they traveled around the Caucasus, they were glad that they were not noticeable now since they were surrounded by Asians. Youngho felt a strange comfort from it.
Uyghurs were currently staging a separate independence movement centered on the East Turkestan’s exiled government, the United National Revolutionary Front and the Turkestan Islamic Party. The Chinese government called them Uyghur separatists. They were troubling the Chinese government as they were active in big cities like the Pamir Mountains and Urumqi but it did not find a way to effectively root them out yet. Especially, the independence fighter groups that were active in Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture and Kizilsu Kyrgyz Autonomous Prefecture were they immensely troubled the Chinese government using their sufficient human resource and geographical advantages.
Since they were close to Tian Shan’s mountain range, when they took off the city with the help of civilians, soldiers or officials of the Chinese government were not able to catch them easily.
There had been massive rebellions in Xinjiang in 1997 and 2014, so the region was under the oppressive rule of China as Chinese military resided and controlled the people. Because of this, Uyghurs’ hostility towards Chinese people was bigger than one could imagine. That was why Chinese people in Xinjiang only resided in big cities. They did not feel comfortable traveling around the region away from big cities.
Although not all Uyghurs had blue eyes and brown or blond hairs, since many were Mongolian decent, they could easily distinguish Chinese people from themselves and foreigners. Now Youngho and Jong-il were in the city of Kashgar, and the local Uyghurs immediately knew that they were not Chinese. According to them, Chinese people were not the only ones to stride down the street confidently in their region like the two but also foreigners who looked confident even if they did not wear Islamic attire. Also, since the two were Koreans, some things would have looked different from Chinese people.
“I am Yaniv, and this one standing next to me is Sergey.”
Youngho borrowed his friends’ names as he introduced himself and Jong-il to the leader of the United National Revolutionary Front of Kashgar. Yaniv and Sergey would be stunned to know this but there was no way that they would find out about it. Youngho figured that it would be safe to use different names.
“It must have been a long trip for you to get here.”
Youngho had talked to him on the phone before but it was his first time meeting the independence fighter group.
“Well, it was not a trouble at all. We’re supporting you because we want money but it is also because we really want Xinjiang Uyghur to be an independent country.”
Youngho flattered the leader since it was better to maintain a good relationship with him.
“I appreciate your help in many ways. Our group is strengthened to the level of a military force with the support of your Russian mercenaries.”
“Could I meet our mercenaries?”
“There are six left in the base and the rest of them are scattered around different footholds for training. I’m afraid that you can’t meet them here.”
“I guess the United National Revolutionary Front has sufficient financial support.”
Youngho asked since the mercenary payments that were received were quite high.
“I can’t tell you about the details but in short, we have more than we need because of the support of our people living overseas. We’d only be able to repay them when we achieve our freedom.”
The money sent from the CIA also was disguised as the donation of Uyghur overseas. Since the U.S. wanted to hide their existence in helping Xinjiang Uyghur, Youngho also had to stay as an executive responsible for Russian mercenaries.
“The reason for our visit is to check the level of military strength and training here before deciding whether we should keep our mercenaries here.”
“What are you talking about? Our men are trained in different regions in small-scale groups to avoid the eyes of the Chinese government. There’s still a long way to go. We need to keep training our men for at least two to three years more until we reach our desired military strength. We’ll pay your mercenaries more.”
Youngho agreed to his offer since the former Serbian militiamen had no place at the farm now anyway.
“Which force is more threatening to the United National Revolutionary Front? Is it the public police or is it the occupation forces?”
“Well, they’re both troublesome. The public police are hiring Chinese gangsters to incite bloodshed and the Chinese government force had sent search parties to the mountainous regions multiple times and there had been some small-scale battles. We managed to move our hideout without huge damages on our side.”
It seemed like they could not fight back the Chinese force. Instead, they were busy evacuating their hideout.
“I heard that European mercenaries are also active here. I guess they’re doing great jobs.”
“I can’t tell you about classified information but they are a great help to us. Because of them, civilians are also encouraged to fight for themselves.”
“Well, they’re carrying on their job well despite their noticeable appearances.”
“Chinese can’t distinguish between Uyghurs and Europeans, so they don’t have trouble working as mercenaries here.”
As many Westerners could not distinguish between Asians from different countries, it seemed that the Chinese also could not distinguish Uyghurs from Europeans. It was fortunate news since the former Serbian militiamen would not be detected from other Uyghurs. Youngho had thought that they only trained Uyghur independence fighters deep in the mountains because of their looks.
Recently, the Chinese force had been appearing across the border of Afghanistan. It was because another Uyghur independence fighter group, Turkestan Islamic Party had its base in Badakhshan which was located in the northeast part of Afghanistan. As the government of Afghanistan was receiving benefits from Chinese support, it was overlooking the Chinese force’s patroling across their border.
“Do our mercenaries keep in touch with each other?”
“The military advisory group that was dispatched to Afghanistan is out of contact now but there’s nothing to worry about. They must’ve moved their hideout because of the recent increase of the patrols around the area. They’ll contact us soon once they’re safe.”
Since it was common to lose contact with their men who were dispatched to different locations, no one seemed to be stirred by this.
“How many were dispatched there?”
“Four. They are volunteers.”
“They volunteered to go to a danger zone?”
“That’s right. We are very appreciative of them because they went ahead to volunteer to go to the dangerous area first.”
Youngho could not believe that people volunteered to go to the cold and deserted highlands as a military advisory group. He wondered if their choice was out of self-abandonment or comradeship. Where they were sent was a part of Afghanistan which was a long stretch of land between Tajikistan and Pakistan, a narrow part of the area was touching the border of China. Badakhshan was the high and rugged terrain near the upper stream of the Amu Darya River in the west side of Pamir Mountains. It was such a rough plateau that most people did not bother to go there.
The former Serbian militiamen went there voluntarily and they were out of contact now.
Although he was delivering terrifying news, the leader of the United National Revolutionary Front explained it very calmly.
The former militiamen were sent because they had convicted crimes in the past but their families were still alive and living in the Arirang Autonomous State. Youngho could not ignore them.
“Jong-il. Should we go and check out the place?”
Jong-il’s eyes glistened from hearing Youngho’s remark.