July 7, 2009: Pakistan is seeking $2.5 billion to repair the damage in the Swat Valley, and move the two million refugees from the Taliban fighting, back to their homes. International donors have only offered a tenth of that amount. Part of the reluctance to donate is because of past situations, where a lot of aid donations disappeared into the Swiss bank accounts of politicians.
In Pakistan, the army has a large measure of popular support in its fight against the Taliban. Two years ago, only 34 percent of Pakistanis believed the Taliban were a threat to them. Now it's 81 percent. Some 70 percent said their sympathies were with the government, compared to five percent with the Taliban. Moreover, many of those opposed to the Taliban are Pushtun and Baluchi tribesmen living along the Afghan border. Because of that widespread change in attitude, and the presence of the army in the tribal territories, the tribes feel confident enough to fight the Taliban. Mostly, this is in the form of tribal militias (Lashkars), and these are defeating Taliban attempts to move in. Some Taliban groups, fleeing the Swat valley, have run into large tribal militias, and been chased away. But the tribes are taking casualties, and are asking for help from the army. In many cases, the tribes need no help. This occurs when small (less than a dozen gunmen) groups of Taliban come by, and the local tribal militia outguns them. Tribal custom usually results in the Taliban first being asked to leave, and fired on if they don't. This is making it difficult for the Taliban to run away from the army.
The Pakistani army and air force aircraft are hitting the Taliban, even when the troops are not advancing. To support this sort of thing, the government is buying UAVs to increase the number of targets found. Currently, ground combat and air attacks are causing the Taliban several hundred casualties a week (dead, wounded, captured and missing). The security forces are losing far fewer, and most of these are due to terrorist (often suicide) bomb attacks. Pakistani security officials warn that the Taliban have moved 25 cars, fitted out with explosives, to half a dozen major Pakistani cities. Shortly after this announcement, police found and seized three of these vehicles.
In Bangladesh, Islamic terrorists have been quiet for the last year or so, but intelligence officials say that these groups are recruiting, training and arming themselves in preparation for another round of terror attacks. Indian police recently caught a Islamic terrorists organizer, Abdur Rahim, along the Bangladesh border. In this area (Indian West Bengal) Islamic terrorists, based in Bangladesh, move into India to carry out attacks.
July 6, 2009: India has increased its defense budget to $29.39 billion, up 25 percent from last year. This is more than what the military asked for last year, largely because of last years Mumbai terrorist attacks, and is largely intended to upgrade India's Cold War era weapons and equipment.
July 4, 2009: Terrorists in Pakistani Punjab, fired three rockets across the border into Indian Punjab. The rockets landed near two villages, wounding a man and doing some property damage. This is the first time this has happened in peacetime. Apparently the Taliban or al Qaeda are trying to create tension between India and Pakistan, which would send most Pakistani troops to the Indian border. This time around, it's unlikely that there will be an international crises.
July 3, 2009: Pakistani troops have moved up to a 250 kilometer portion of the 2,600 kilometers Afghan border, to block the escape routes for Taliban forces fleeing an American offensive in Helmand province. Meanwhile, near the Khyber Pass, an army Mi-17 helicopter went down, killing all 41 on board. The Mi-17 is designed to carry 24 troops, plus a crew of three. But the Mi-17 is a roomy aircraft, and easy to overload. That is not a good idea when operating a high altitudes. The Taliban later took credit for the crash, but it was more likely the overloading and overcast weather. In South Waziristan, American Predator UAVs used Hellfire missiles to kill at least 15 Taliban, and wounding at least 25. This attack was on a Taliban training area, believed to be controlled by Baitullah Mehsud, who runs Tehreek e Taliban (the largest Taliban organization in Pakistan.)
July 2, 2009: In Rawalpindi, Pakistan, a suicide bomber on a motorcycle attacked a bus carrying Defense Ministry employees, killing six of them. Rawalpindi, and many Defense Ministry facilities, are 12 kilometers from the capital.
July 1, 2009: The Pakistani Army has cleared the last Taliban controlled town in the Swat Valley. The Taliban, true to the tribal tactics their members were raised to use, do not fight to the last man. Instead, when it's obvious that the army will win a battle, the Taliban try to flee. That doesn't work as well as it used to, for the army has hundreds of helicopters, which pursue, and kill many of the retreating Taliban.
Indian police in Andhra Pradesh, killed two Maoist leaders, during a chance encounter with a group of the communist rebels. The Maoists continue to find receptive audiences in many rural parts of India, where most of the population is poor, and feeling left behind.