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India-Pakistan: Why Al Qaeda Central is Immune from Attack
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February 19, 2007: Al Qaeda is fighting back against the Pakistani tactic of bombing terrorist camps along the Afghan border. In the last few weeks, terrorists bomb attacks have killed over a hundred people. Police have also prevented several additional bombings, capturing bomb making materials and documents proving the al Qaeda connection. Some of the captured bombers were actually preparing for attacks on Shia religious festivals next month, but most were revenge hits ordered up by al Qaeda.

Pakistan is in a tough position. With most of the population either enthusiastic, or supportive, of Islamic radicalism, it's difficult for the government to declare open war on the tribes providing bases for the Taliban and al Qaeda along the Afghan border. Officers have already reported that up to a third of their troops might be "unreliable" if there were sustained military operations in the tribal territory. Yet, if the government does not go after these bases, the people in them have vowed to continue building their strength until they can topple the government. Such a headache.

February 18, 2007: The courtroom bombing motivated the police to arrests fifty terrorist suspects. Meanwhile, a Pakistani train headed for India was bombed, killing at least 65. Al Qaeda was again suspected. The train service with India was just resumed, after being suspended in 2002 because Islamic terrorists attacked the Indian parliament.

India is offering Myanmar more goodies (weapons, diplomatic support), to get more cooperation in shutting down tribal separatists from northeast India, who have bases in jungle forests on the Myanmar side of the border.

February 17, 2007: In southwest Pakistan (Baluchistan), a suicide bomber set off his explosives in a courtroom, killing the judge and 14 others. Another 30 people were wounded. This was unusual, for the Baluchis are not into suicide attacks. Police believe the bomber was an Afghan, or a non-Baluchi of some sort, probably dispatched by al Qaeda.

February 16, 2007: Police in Pakistan say they have evidence that the recent suicide bombings were the work of Islamic radical groups in the tribal areas along the Afghan border. But the Taliban and al Qaeda groups hiding out there continue to deny any involvement. This is so the terrorists can make their point (and intimidate the government), without enraging the public and encouraging another major military operation along the border. Meanwhile, the Pakistani government is insisting that Afghanistan do more to guard their common border. Currently, the Pakistanis have about a thousand watchposts along the 2,500 kilometer border, while Afghanistan has only about a hundred. But this is the result of different tactics. Afghanistan has access to a NATO (mainly American) force of recon aircraft and UAVs to patrol the border, while Pakistan has more people. Nevertheless, Pakistan is willing to cooperate more with border security. This might help settle the argument between Pakistan and Afghanistan over where the Taliban and al Qaeda are based. Both countries insist that the other hosts 80 percent of the bad guys.

February 15, 2007: Radical Islamic clerics in northern Pakistan have been pushing the idea that vaccinations for diseases is a Western plot to poison Moslem children. This particular fantasy has been rattling around for nearly a decade, and has prevented the UN from wiping out polio. Like small pox (which was wiped out in the 1970s), once there are no people with polio, the disease is gone for good (it can only survive in a human host). The Islamic clerics urging parents not to vaccinate their children against polio, provide the disease with hosts, and keep it going. Last year, 24,000 children were not vaccinated in northern Pakistan because of this paranoid fantasy. As a result, at least 39 cases of polio were confirmed last year. The victims (usually children) either die, or are crippled for life. In 2005, there were 28 cases. When confronted by angry parents, the clerics say that it's "God's will" that the kid is dead or crippled from polio. Most Moslem parents accept that, because Islam means, literally, "submission."

In central India Maoist rebels killed three volunteer village guards, while a policeman died trying to defuse a Maoist bomb.

February 14, 2007: Over 90 percent of the 13,000 madrassas (religious schools) in Pakistan have been registered. But the 500 or so that have not registered contain most of those that are heavily into training Islamic radicals and terrorists. Religious schools are popular because they are free, and most teach secular subjects as well. Only about 40 percent of Pakistanis are literate, and most parents realize that education is a way out of poverty.

India has ordered its police to increase efforts to shut down Maoist terrorist organizations. This is not easy to do, as the Maoists are based in remote, rugged areas, and often have support from locals. Nevertheless, dozens of suspects have been picked up lately.


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