For the second time this month, a cleric in the Pakistani tribal
areas was killed, after being accused of "spying for the Americans."
The body of Maulana Mohammad Hashim, an Afghan cleric, was found on a road in
North Waziristan today. These killings are believed related to tribal and
clerical politics, more than with U.S. espionage efforts (which are real
enough, but probably involve more low profile people.) What is often missed by
outsiders is a civil war among the Pushtun tribes on both sides of the border.
This war involves many factions. The most obvious, and violent, faction are the
Islamic radicals, who want to establish an Islamic government for the tribal
areas, and beyond. Opposing them are traditionalists, represented by the
families that have long held power, and the tribal elders and chiefs holding
that power. Then there are the tribal reformers, who want democracy, either
within the tribe, or as part of Pakistan. There are several other factions, all
pulling for modernization and joining the modern world. This conflict is rather
messy and complicated, so it doesn't get reported much. But if the reporting
that does get out, doesn't seem to make much sense either, the "civil
war" is the reason why.
18, 2006: In northeast India, a confrontation between police and tribesmen led
to the deaths of three police and four civilians.
16, 2006: In the last few days, police operations in Kashmir have resulted in
several gun battles, as Islamic terrorists were found, but refused to
surrender. At least ten of the terrorists have been killed.
15, 2006: Pakistan and Afghanistan continue to trade accusations over which
country is providing the most bases for terrorist groups. Afghan police
recently arrested two Pakistani men, who were traveling towards the Afghan
carrying terrorist bombs. It was assumed that the bombs were built somewhere in
Afghanistan, and were being taken to Pakistan for a terror attack. The
arrested men have not been cooperative.
14, 2006: Pakistan revealed that the October 30 attack on a religious school
near the Afghan border, was undertaken because the place was training suicide
bombers, and many of them were due to leave the next day for attacks in
Pakistan and Afghanistan.