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India-Pakistan: The Older Guys Are Shoving Back
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November 10, 2009: Pakistani troops have taken two (Ladha and Sararogha) of the three towns where the Taliban and al Qaeda had set up shop in the tribal territories. The third town, Makeen, is now being fought over. So far, the month of fighting has caused nearly 2,000 casualties, including at least 50 soldiers and nearly 500 Taliban killed. Outside of the combat zone. Islamic terrorist attacks have killed over 300 in the last month, most of the victims beings civilians. Over 50,000 troops are either inside South Waziristan, or blocking roads and passes outside it. There are believed to be about 8,000 Taliban and al Qaeda personnel defending. About 15 percent of the enemy have been killed, wounded, deserted or captured. The army has lost 1-2 percent of its force (dead, deserted, wounded). Most of the Islamic terrorists are fleeing the army, and heading for other terrorist bases in North Waziristan, and nearby areas. Some have fled across the border into Afghanistan. The offensive is proving very expensive to the Taliban. The terrorist groups have lost several hundred tons of weapons and ammunition, plus food and medical supplies, and many vehicles and computers. The fighting has hurt the reputation of the Islamic groups, who liked to boast that they were immune from attack in the tribal territories. In the last two years, the growing number of U.S. UAV missile attacks on terrorist leaders tarnished that claim somewhat. But the Pakistani troops seizing one terrorist base after another has been a major propaganda hit for the Taliban. The terror attacks throughout the country (but mostly in the tribal territories), have demonstrated the Taliban ability to slaughter random civilians, but not to threaten government control. The terror attacks increase popular enthusiasm for the anti-terrorist offensive, which is not what the Taliban wanted. But the offensive is hurting the Taliban, not destroying it. That will take months of continued operations, and some cooperation from Afghan forces across the border.

There's one angle to all this that does not get big play outside South Asia. That is the Pakistani belief that India is behind a lot of the Islamic terrorism. To an outsider, this is absurd, as a primary goal of Islamic terrorism in this part of the world, is the destruction of Hinduism. While Jews and Christians are formally recognized by Islam as kindred (if misguided) religions, the Hindus are considered pagan idolaters who must be destroyed. Hindus are seen as particularly dangerous as they are one of the few religions that, when confronted with an invading Islamic army, refused to convert in large numbers. Thus northern India, which had been under the control of Moslem leader for centuries, clung to its Hindu faith. This upsets most Moslems, and infuriates Islamic radicals.

Thus Pakistanis tend to believe, despite the religious animosities, that Islamic terror groups would accept aid from Hindu India. Afghanistan does accept aid from India, and the U.S. has good relations with India, which simply confirms Pakistani fears that the hated Hindus are conspiring to destroy Pakistan. To a lesser extent, Indians see every terrorist or criminal activity coming out of Pakistan as part of an Islamic radical plot to destroy Hindu India. There's more truth to that, at least in terms of evidence that Pakistani officials have supported Islamic terror groups that target India.

Meanwhile, in response to the terror attacks, Pakistani police have arrested over a thousand people, after interviewing many more. Most of the terror attacks take place in the tribal territories, and concentrate on government officials and tribal leaders who oppose the Taliban. That latter group is increasing, despite the terror attacks. Many Pushtuns see the Taliban as a front for criminal gangs and local hotshots seeking a shortcut to tribal power. The Taliban tend to attract a lot of younger guys with more ambition than clout, and the religious fanatic angle enables older tribal leaders to be shoved aside. Now many of the older guys are shoving back.

India has seen a twenty percent increase in Maoist violence this year, with nearly a thousand deaths attributed to the communist rebels so far this year. India is massing over 70,000 troops and special police in the east, to attempt inflicting some major damage on the leftists.

In Bangladesh, police continue to keep Islamic radical groups on the defensive. The groups lack sufficient popular support to provide safety from police informers. Thus the Islamic terrorists are constantly on the run, and unable to plan and carry out many attacks.

November 9, 2009: In Pakistan's tribal territories, a suicide bomb in a rickshaw was set off in the largest city (Peshawar), killing three.

November 8, 2009: In eastern India, Maoist rebels attacked police and killed four of them.

November 7, 2009: In Pakistan's capital, a suicide bomber was shot in the head when he tried to approach a police checkpoint on foot. The truck he arrived in sped off.

November 6, 2009: In Pakistan's capital, gunmen wounded an army general and a soldier. In the tribal territories, two suicide bombers were wounded during a shootout at a checkpoint.

November 4, 2009: A group of Taliban ambushed a van near the Swat valley, in Pakistan's tribal territories, killing two female teachers. The Taliban have continued to carry out their violent campaign against the education of girls, even though most parents want to educate all their children. Pakistani police promptly rounded up 75 of the usual suspects, including two dozen Afghans who lacked proper identifications. These men were sent back to Afghanistan.

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pointblank    Article unkind to Muslims   11/10/2009 1:44:28 PM
The article was reading well in the begining until it got to the part about Hindus and India. Its surprising the writer does not give any credit to Muslim rulers who despite their unchallenged power took great care to make sure that Hindus and other minorities rights and their lives were safe.
Islam was spread in the region not by the sword which is a common myth, those were battles for territory or consolidation etc, which was common among hindu princly states as well. islam was spread by sufis who preached love and oneness. Mughal emperor Akbar even came out with a hybrid religion fusing Islam and Hinduism, many of the royals took Hindu princess as wives.
Which world is the writer living in, Pakistanis are over their hatred for India, they watch Indian movies, listen to their songs, those days are long gone in Pakistan, I dont know if Indians are holding on to their hatred of Muslims or Pakistan, seems the writer is, but Muslims and Pakistanis of the younger generation are not concerned with India, instead they enjoy Indian culture as they enjoy the Western culture as for the Jihadees or extremists, they hate everyone, even Pakistanis and fellow Muslims so dont confuse them with ordinary Muslims or Pakistanis.
The main people blaming India are the religious bigots because they can see that the idiots amongst them are causing hatred for mullahs amongst the masses, so obviously they will blame India israel etc, but Pakistanis are no longer fooled, all the terrorists being caught are muslims and home grown criminals.
The Indian writers should not fall for what the mullahs screech, they were never popular in Pakistan and are less so today.
Had Mughal or other Muslim invaders wanted to covert hindus by force, no power on earth could have stopped them back then, no amount of hindu intransigience would have prevented an all out conversion or death, but the opposite was true in history, Muslim rulers once they won their battles left the people alone and took care of their temples, their culture and respected their traditions, thats why India is a vibrant place today.
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Gerry       11/10/2009 8:28:00 PM
Wouldn't it help Pakistan to claim that the terrorists in the tribal areas were the result of India's support? I'm sure India must have secret oranizations equal to the US CIA that can be blamed for funneling guns and money to the Taliban in a double cross of Pakistan. I'm think most Pakistanis would eat this up.
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