India-Pakistan: Another Flawed Ceasefire


August 20, 2007: Low level fighting continues in Baluchistan, as a few groups of tribesmen make hit and run attacks on army checkpoints, bases and patrols. In the northwest tribal areas, the army maintained its roadblocks, and a few of them were subject to attack by unguided rockets or suicide car bombers. The army launched several attacks on villages known to harbor Islamic terrorists. About fifty have been killed in the last week, most of them Islamic terrorists. This included several armed foreigners.

In India, low level fighting with Maoists continues. But two Maoists were arrested in the city of Mumbai (Bombay). The two were caught with bombs, apparently for an urban terror campaign.

The main problem in the tribal areas is that, while the tribes are not big supporters of Islamic terrorists, they are even less enthusiastic about government control. The tribes have always been free to run their own affairs, and that is largely done in a "live and let live" manner. Thus, al Qaeda and Taliban can settle down in the tribal areas as long as they respect tribal authority. But sometimes the Islamic militants make themselves unpopular by trying to enforce strict Islamic lifestyle rules on towns and villages. That has resulted in some tribes rising up and killing or expelling Islamic militants. But these same tribal warriors will battle soldiers coming in to also fight Islamic terrorists.

In South Waziristan, the tribal district most prone to Islamic radical activity, the government has negotiated a new ceasefire with the local tribes, and will remove checkpoints and roadblocks. The army will also release ten tribesmen, and fifteen paramilitary tribal security troops will be released by the tribes (who killed one of them during the negotiations). The tribes will also cooperate in hunting down Islamic militants. This kind of deal hasn't worked before, and probably won't work again.

August 18, 2007: In Kashmir, Islamic terrorist threats against workers from outside the province, caused over 20,000 of the workers to flee in the past few weeks. Even though the terrorists withdrew the threats, the workers, most of them Hindus, were well aware of past Islamic terrorist attempts to expel all non-Moslems from the region.

August 16, 2007: About half a dozen tribal chiefs who took part in a meeting with their Afghan counterparts in Kabul, received death threats from Islamic radicals on their return.

August 14, 2007: The ammo depot fire and explosions in Kashmir killed twenty people and caused 30,000 nearby civilians to flee their homes. Some 20,000 returned after about a day, but 225 square kilometers of land around the depot is now littered with explosive shells (ranging from 20mm to 155mm) that have to be carefully removed before people can return to their homes and farms. Shells were found up to four kilometers from the depot, and the army estimates it will take six months to clear up the mess.


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