2008: In Pakistan, banned Islamic
radical groups are reforming, often under new names, in the cities, especially
Karachi. This is a challenge to the new government, which hasn't yet decided
how to respond. Meanwhile, up in the tribal territories, the army continues to
push the Taliban out of the Peshawar suburbs. Officers mentioned that an
advance against the Taliban in the Swat Valley would be next. Meanwhile, the
Taliban has suspended peace talks with the government, if only because the
Taliban never had any intention of honoring any agreements they negotiated.
government believes that a lot of the worst violence is the work of al Qaeda
foreigners (from Central Asia, the Middle East and Chechnya). Many of these
guys have been around since late 2001, when they were driven out of Afghanistan.
But the "foreigners" have often offended some of the tribes, and are not
universally accepted up in the hills. More Arabs have been moving in of late,
as al Qaeda abandons Iraq, to make a last stand along the Afghan-Pakistan
2008: Maoist gunmen attacked a boat
crossing a reservoir near the southern coast of India. Most of the 64 police on
board were killed. The remote area is a
major base for Maoists, and thousands of counter-terror troops are moving in to
flush out the communist rebels.
2008: Pakistani troops moved to drive
Taliban gunmen out of Peshawar, and other areas they do not, by tradition,
control (as members of their tribes, not as Taliban, which is too recent a
creation to have much tradition.)
2008: Pakistani troops could be seen
moving towards Peshawar, the major city (with a population of over three
million) in the Pushtun tribal area along the Afghan border. In recent days,
Taliban gunmen have been moving into Peshawar, apparently with the intention of
taking over. Peshawar is on the eastern end of the Khyber Pass, a major gateway
of the ancient Silk Road between China and the Middle East, and the modern day
main route into Afghanistan. While the Pushtun tribes control the countryside,
the Pakistani government has always controlled Peshawar, and major towns in the
tribal areas. With the Taliban now moving in on Peshawar, the government has to
respond. Too much money is at stake. The tribes can have their backcountry
wasteland, but the government wants to hang on to the cash cows. Now truckloads
of Taliban are in Peshawar, demanding the theaters and video shops close, and
2008: In the Swat Valley, pro-Taliban
followers of a local Islamic cleric, invaded Pakistan's only ski resort (nearly
20,000 feet up in the mountains) and burned it down.
2008: Pakistani Taliban captured 27
pro-government tribesmen and later killed 22 of them in Waziristan. This has
caused the pro-government tribes to demand army intervention, so that revenge
can be obtained and honor maintained.
2008: In the last week, Pakistani Taliban
loyal to tribal leader Baitullah Mehsud have, well, gone wild in Waziristan, near
the Afghan border. This includes attacking pro-government tribesmen and police
guarding the Khyber Pass (one of the main roads into Afghanistan). The Taliban
tribesmen have also been hijacking food trucks headed for areas occupied by
Shia. The violence between Sunni Moslems and Shia (whom the Sunni consider
heretics) predates the creation of the Taliban.
2008: While the Islamic terrorists have
failed to drive India out of Kashmir, they have managed, in the last two
decades, to drive most (95 percent) of the Hindus from the Kashmir Valley. But
many Hindu shrines, some over 3,000 years old, remain. Thousands of Hindus
return each year to pray at these shrines, and the Moslems have begun agitating
to restrict access to these shrines. The most militant Moslems want the shrines
destroyed. Although Moslem armies first entered this region a thousand years
ago, the struggle between Islam and much more ancient Hindu religion continues.