India-Pakistan: We Have Created A Monster


March 28, 2010: The U.S. has convinced a growing number of Pakistani military and political leaders that cracking down on Islamic militants (especially the Taliban and al Qaeda) is a matter of life or death for the nation. But many individual Islamic terrorists are simply moving to the anti-India terrorist groups (dedicated to chasing India out of Kashmir, and killing Hindus in general). The Kashmir issue is very popular in Pakistan, and the politicians and media are afraid to touch it. Most Islamic terrorists, for tribal and religious reasons, will stay in the tribal territories. But the fighting there is helping build up the anti-Indian groups.

This just gets worse for Pakistan. For example, the U.S. has arrested a Pakistani American Islamic terrorist, David Headley, who admitted that he had worked with Pakistani army officers while helping plan the November, 2008, terror attack in Mumbai, India. Pakistani eventually admitted that Pakistani Islamic terrorists were responsible for this attack, but have resisted admitting that Pakistani military and intelligence officials helped out. The U.S. and India insist there's lots of evidence to back this up. The Pakistani government does not want the political and media blowback from going after Islamic radicals in the military and intelligence services, so they insist these connections do not exist.

The Pakistani Air Force has made it official; its doctrine no longer concentrates on fighting India. For the last year, the air force has been getting lots of valuable combat experience using smart bombs in the tribal territories. Pilots have also been using targeting pods in action, and generally learning how to deal with rebellious tribesmen. So the air force has made this experience part of the official playbook.

Despite the success in the tribal territories, many senior Pakistani generals are still fixated on war with India. Pakistan has fought several, and lost them all. Even after several years of peace talks, with India Pakistani officials still complain that they can't do more in the tribal territories, because more troops must be sent to the Indian border. This perplexes India, which accepts, but can't really comprehend, this Pakistani obsession with defending against an Indian attack which the Indians say they have no intention of launching. Especially in light of the fact that both countries have nuclear weapons.

The Indian offensive against communist Maoists is having some success. Dozens of villages and settlements have been returned to government control. But most of the Maoist gunmen have fled the police and troops. The crunch will come the Maoists attempt to continue their criminal activities. The big one is extorting money from businesses. This is believed to bring in over $300 million a year. Most of the thousand or so Maoists attacks last year were in support of their extortion operations. If the new offensive can put a dent in Maoist extortion income, the communist group will have suffered a major setback. But the Maoists have been fighting back, increasing their attacks on railroads, and ordering urban allies to stage anti-government riots.

March 27, 2010: In Pakistan's North Waziristan, an American UAV fired two missiles at a building where "foreigners" were staying. At least four people were killed. The U.S. UAV attacks concentrate on "foreigners" (usually Arabs) because it's easier to get informants in the tribal territories to provide information about al Qaeda "foreigners." These Arabs have been around since late 2001, and there's been a lot of friction. Sometimes there's been violence, so the locals find it convenient to get paid to tell the Americans where they can kill the foreigners without involving any local tribesmen. Elsewhere, near the Khyber pass (Orakzai), Pakistani troops clashed with a force of al Qaeda gunmen, killing 21 while losing five soldiers.

On the Kashmir border, for the second time in four days, Islamic terrorists were caught trying to sneak into India. These two attempts have left at least 13 terrorists dead. There have been sixty such attempts so far this year. The existence of these terrorists in Pakistani Kashmir, where terrorists training camps and bases operate openly, is a major issue between Pakistan and India. But in both countries, ownership of Kashmir has been turned into a major issue by decades of media and political exploitation. It gets worse because the Pakistani Islamic terrorists have, over the last decade, expanded their "free Kashmir" (from Indian rule) campaign to include major terror attacks throughout India. Pakistan cannot halt this without risking attacks on the "free Kashmir" militants. Meanwhile, Indian media and politicians increasingly call for "stronger measures" against this Pakistani lack of cooperation against terrorists. Since both countries have nuclear weapons, "stronger measures" could escalate into the use of nukes. Despite that, the Pakistan based Islamic terrorists have increased their efforts this year, to commit violent acts in Kashmir. Their main goal is to drive out all non-Moslems, and two that end, homes, and other property, of non-Moslems are attacked. Non-Moslem religious places are also prime targets, and nearly 200 non-Moslem religious facilities in Kashmir have been attacked. For both nations, Kashmir has become a monstrous problem, one that defies resolution, and that could destroy everyone if it ever escalated to nukes.

March 25, 2010: Over the last two days, near the Pakistan's Khyber pass, troops raided  Qaeda safe houses and camps, killing 36 terrorists.





Help Keep Us From Drying Up

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling.

Each month we count on your contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage.
Subscribe   Contribute   Close