The Qaşgar War

Following the downfall of the SNOR and the collapse of its CMAEC and Riga Pact alliances, many of the former Snorist nations suddenly erupted with problems that had been simmering under the lid of ultranationalist pro-Russian ideology.  One of these was Qaşgar in Uyguristan.


Qaşgar had in the XIX Century been the capital of a de facto independent Uygur state, and was a centre of Uygur culture and nationalist feeling well into the XX Century.  But with the re-establishment of effective Chinese rule in Xinjiang came a number of measures designed to minimise the importance of Qaşgar and quell separatist tendencies.  One of these was the moving of the provincial capital to the more ethnically Han city of Ürümçi; another, more directed at Qaşgar, was an enforced resettlement of Tajiks, Kırğız and Qazaqs into the region and relocation of Uygurs to other parts of the country, in order to dilute the Uygur identity of the city.
By the end of the first half of the XX Century, the Chinese government had succeeded in transforming Qaşgar from the centre of Uygur identity into a multi-ethnic city with large Tajik and Kırğız populations.  Even 40 years of Uygur nationalist pro-SNOR government did little to change this.

Lead up to the War

In May 1991, in Uyguristan's post-Snorist experiment with representative democracy, the now mostly Tajik and Kırğız region of Qaşgar voted overwhelmingly for candidates favouring secession from Uyguristan and joining Turkestan.
The renamed and re-invented Tokuz Okuz, still in power in the rest of the country, had not taken the reports of separatist sentiment very seriously, and were now faced with Qaşgar province, once the centre of Uygur national feeling, declaring itself no longer a part of the Uygur state.  On 1st June, the disbelieving government sent troops into the province to "pacify" the area.
This measure was the trigger that caused the whole situation to explode.  Two weeks later, a band of Tajik and Kırğız guerrillas armed with Russian Kalaşnıkov rifles ambushed a unit of Uygur National Army troops on the road between Qaşgar and Jarqand.  Taking the Army troops completely by surprise, they managed to defeat them and seize large amounts of the unit's heavier weaponry: anti-tank rockets, heavy espingols and anti-air weapons.
News of this spread rapidly through Uyguristan and Turkestan.  In the town of Çilik, Qazaqstan, the majority-Uygur population rioted, killing 7 Qazaqs before the Turkestani Guards were able to quell the unrest.  In the Uygur city of Jarqand, the Tajik minority declared their secession from Uyguristan along with their brothers in Qaşgar, and elsewhere in Uyguristan, Tajiks and Kırğız became targets for unhappy Uygur nationalists.  The Uygur government declared a state of emergency and sent more troops to quash the unrest in their rebel province.  The new Turkestani Ilxanate government, not wanting to appear weak before its neighbours, declared its intention to support and protect those wishing to join themselves to Turkestan, and, noting that the Uygur government appeared to have lost control of the situation, announced that it was preparing to send in its own troops to protect the civilian population.
With the situation on the ground worsening daily and the diplomatic climate turning chill, the League of Nations attempted to gather an emergency working-group comprising Uyguristan, Turkestan, Mongolia, Russia, Beihanguo and Tibet to find a non-violent solution to the problem.  Meanwhile, Uygur diplomats responded to Turkestan's declarations by saying that any Turkestani troops entering Uyguristan would constitute an act of war, and quietly instructed its military to prepare to repel attack.  Turkestan's ambassador Maqtamğulı Rahmon-ulı responded that the people of Qaşgar had renounced Uygur sovereignty and joined themselves to Turkestan; thus Turkestan had every right to send in observers to help arrange an orderly transfer of power.

The War

Turkestan sent its first troops into the Qaşgar province on 9th July 1991, initially as "observers" with qualified League approval.  Apparently, though, the second message that instructed local Uygur commanders _not_ to attack Turkestani troops entering Uygur territory had not been fully disseminated, and with relations between the two countries already tense, the Uygur National Army's local commanding officer Kärim Jınşau-ulı ordered his troops to open fire.
The Turkestanis, aware of the hostile diplomatic climate and prepared for treachery, responded with equal force, and battle was joined.  Both sides recalled their ambassadors and withdrew from the League-sponsored talks in digust.

First Phase

The first objective for both sides was control of the mountain passes between Turkestan and Uyguristan.  There are four main passes suitable for moving troops through: the Torğut, the İrkeştam, the Kulma and the Bedel.  Thus, the first phase of the war was centred on these mountain passes.
Turkestan was able to take control of the smallest of the passes, the İrkeştam, but Uygur National Army forces were able to block or seize the other three.  All of these passes, however, would change hands at least once during the course of the war.
In the high mountains of the Tyan Şan and Pamir ranges separating Turkestan from Uyguristan, it is difficult to effectively use tanks and heavy armoured vehicles, and the thin air can make extended infantry operations challenging.
Much of the early combat of the war, then, was aerial in nature.  In this arena, Turkestan had the better aeroplanes, but Uyguristan had more capable airships, and more of them.  The Turkestani Air Force has long favoured a closer-ranged, aeroplane-heavy order of battle, as opposed to Uyguristan's longer-ranged "stand-off" approach using airships armed with long-range air-to-air weaponry.  The limitations which the high altitude placed on Turkestani autogiros and aeroplanes tended to favour Uyguristan, as did the UNAF's numerical and technical superiority in airship construction.
Technology is not the absolute determiner of military success, however, and Turkestan was able to seize and keep the initiative in the early air war, pushing the airships of the Uygur National Air Force onto the defensive.
This was instrumental in Turkestan's seizure of the Bedel Pass, and this victory allowed Turkestan to send much greater weight of men and equipment against the Uygur National military forces in the Tarim basin.

Middle Phase

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Conclusion of the War

By 1994, the situation had bogged down into a stalemate.  Turkestan held most of the Qaşgar and Jarqand region, but Uyguristan refused to give up its claim to the territory.  Both nations were tired of the war, which, although local in scope, was proving a drain on their resources that neither side could support.  A cease-fire was negotiated through Russian mediation that, while not providing a long-term resolution to the situation, stopped the two sides from shooting at each other long enough for a compromise solution to be reached by the original League working group.
Hammering out the details of the solution took longer than most people expected.  Uyguristan was determined to reclaim what it regarded as its sovereign territory, whereas Turkestan was anxious to appease its pan-Turkists by holding on to what it had gained.  It was 1997 before the present solution was arrived at.  Turkestan was permitted to hold on to what it had gained in the war, but all citizens of the Qaşgar province were granted full dual citizenship of Turkestan and Uyguristan.  The original notion of a condominium was blocked for different reasons by the two combatant nations and Russia.  Turkestan disliked the idea of a condominium because it would have been required to cede its own majority-Uygur border areas into the condominium.  Uyguristan regarded Qaşgar province as theirs and no other's.  And Russia had no good experience with condominium situations due to the unwieldy Ezo condominium between itself and Japan.  The eventual solution did solve the problem, though relations between the two countries are still somewhat tense, and numerous Uygur nationalist political groups on both sides continue to call for the unconditional restoration of full Uygur sovereignty in the region.

Other Consequences

One of the issues that faced Turkestan throughout the course of the war was a supply problem.  Like its fellow former Snorist state Uyguristan, Turkestan had for the past half century obtained almost all of its military equipment from Russia.  Several states of the Russian Federation were still heavily involved in the supply of arms to the two nations, particularly the Republic of Chelyabinsk.
This most neo-Snorist of all of the Russian republics supplied armoured vehicles to both sides, but according to Turkestani sources, they gave markedly preferential treatment to Uyguristan.  Chelyabinsk denies this charge, but it is a matter of record that both Uyguristan and Chelyabinsk are ruled by the same groups that were in power in the Snorist days, but Turkestan has had a distinct change of governmental form.
Turkestan maintains that several times, urgently-needed military supplies from Chelyabinsk were delayed or rerouted, and that they were repeatedly told that their requested modernised armoured vehicles were "unavailable", despite apparently being supplied to Turkestan's enemy.
Whatever the truth of this particular charge, following the conclusion of the war, Turkestan immediately began to diversify its suppliers of military equipment, determined that no one supplier should be able to so hamper their ability to wage war to protect their interests.  Turkey and Persia were cultivated as suppliers, and plans were declared to become largely militarily self-sufficient by the year 2030.