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India-Pakistan: Khan the Untouchable
   Next Article → POTENTIAL HOT SPOTS: Burma the Impregnable
October 1, 2007: In Pakistan's tribal areas, a male suicide bomber,  dressed in a burqa (the all enveloping dress favored, by Islamic  conservatives, for women), set off his bomb at a checkpoint, killing  three policemen and ten civilians. This sort of attack makes the  terrorists more unpopular, because most civilians see themselves, not  the security forces, as the primary target. In the tribal areas, the  military continues to control the main roads and towns. That means the  government controls the economy. Taliban and al Qaeda have been using  roadside bombs and attacks on military outposts, to unsuccessfully  challenge military control of the economy. The Islamic terrorists are  particularly upset with this, as it is now much more difficult to get  foreigners (particularly Moslems from Europe) into the area for  terrorist training.

 

September 30, 2007: In northeast India, tribal separatists set off two  bombs in Hindu areas, killing six and wounding nearly fifty. India has been quiet about the pro-democracy demonstrations in Burma  (Myanmar), which borders India's restive northeastern tribal areas.  Both India and Burma have problems with the tribes on their mutual  border, and, although democratic India dislikes the military  dictatorship in Burma, India and Burma have been increasingly  cooperating against the tribes in the past few years.

 

There was popular outrage at a Pakistani politicians suggestion that A  Q Khan, the Pakistani scientist who stole technology from the West and  created Pakistans nuclear bombs, be questioned by foreign police for  his role in selling that technology (as a private venture) to other  nations (like Libya and North Korea). Khan has been under house arrest  for that scam, but is otherwise untouchable, because he is a national  hero for creating the "Islamic Bomb." Popular demand is leading to  Khan being released from house arrest.

 

September 29, 2007:  In southwestern Pakistan (Baluchistan), the  tribal rebels are becoming active again. It's small stuff, mostly  murder (or attempts) of police and government officials. The recent  killing of a senior police commander triggered a major response, and a  hundred of the usual suspects were arrested.

A bomb went off  near a mosque in the Maldive Islands (an Indian Ocean  nation that is usually peaceful.) Twelve foreign tourists were injured.

 

September 28, 2007: Indian Kashmir had several clashes that left 11  Islamic terrorists and one policeman dead. The terrorists try to  increase their attacks during Ramadan. The terrorists in Kashmir have  been losing ground over the last two years, as border defenses  improve, and the Moslem population in Kashmir turns against the  terrorists. But there is still plenty of enthusiasm for the terrorism  across the border in Pakistan, where conservative Pushtun tribes  support terrorist training camps, and going to those camps is a  popular activity for radical young Pakistanis.

 

September 27, 2007: Police in Mumbai (Bombay), India, found six bombs  near a suburban train station, and dismantled them. The bombs were  crude, and not powerful.

 

September 26, 2007: Pakistani president and dictator Musharraf  is  favored (by pollsters and bookies) to win the upcoming elections.  Anti-Musharraf groups have responded with more frequent street  demonstrations. These are not expected to change the election outcome.  While most Pakistanis don't like Musharraf, they like the alternatives  (Islamic dictatorship, corrupt political parties) even less. At least  the economy is booming, and that is a major component of Musharraf's  support.

 

September 25, 2007: India has about 300,000 troops, mostly from the  army, engaged in counter-terrorism work. Pakistani has about 150,000  so engaged. In both cases, that accounts for about a quarter of the  troops on active duty.

 

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