India-Pakistan: Maoist Massacre Reality Check



April 11, 2010: In Pakistan's tribal territories, troops and warplanes went after increasingly active Taliban groups near the Khyber pass and Waziristan, killing, wounding or capturing over 300 in the last few days. The Pakistani Air Force now have smart bombs and targeting pods for their F-16s. Thus the Pakistani Taliban are facing the same, all-seeing, highly accurate death-from-above as their counterparts in Afghanistan. This means that the Pakistani Taliban cannot move large (over a hundred men) groups of gunmen without risking detection and destruction from the air. While Pakistan is waiting for a dozen UAVs coming from the United States, the American Predator and Reaper UAVs already there pass on useful information to Pakistani forces. The U.S. UAVs are mainly concerned with finding terrorist leaders and technical specialists, but don't ignore any other useful information they spot while doing that. This combination of surveillance and smart bombs is devastating. One F-16 bombing attack near the Khyber Pass, killed about fifty Taliban. Ground troops then advanced and found dozens of bodies, and seized two terrorist camps. In the nearby Orakzai area, over fifty Taliban were killed when a large group of them were caught in the open. Troops later found over fifty bodies, with signs that many more fled the area, carrying many wounded with them. The Taliban also tend to lose when they get into gun battles with the troops, thus the growing Taliban use of terrorist attacks. But these kill mostly civilians, and increase popular anger against the Islamic radical group.

All this fighting in the tribal territories has caused a growing refugee problem, with over 200,000 civilians having fled the battle zone near the Khyber Pass in the last five months.

Despite nearly two years of effort, the Pakistani government has not been able to purge all the army officers who still favor the use (and support of) Islamic terrorists. The enemy here is India, which is seen as unbeatable in a conventional fight, but vulnerable to Islamic terrorists. While Pakistanis are enraged at the continuing Islamic terror attacks, these Islamic radical army officers want to contain and control Islamic terrorists, not completely destroy them. Many Pakistanis, mainly Islamic radicals or conservatives, agree with this. So, despite all the death and disruption caused by al Qaeda and the Taliban in Pakistan, many (as much as 20 percent of the population) still see these terrorists as allies.

April 8, 2010: In Pakistan's tribal territories, Taliban bombs damaged three girls schools outside the city of  Peshawar. In Bangladesh, police arrested Pakistani terrorist leader  Mobasser Shahid Mubin (of the LeT), who was apparently there planning attacks inside India.

April 6, 2010: In eastern India, Maoists attacked a platoon of paramilitary police returning from a patrol, then ambushed troops rushed in as reinforcements. When the fighting was over, 76 Indian  policemen were dead, the largest one day loss in the long war against the Maoists. The army and police commanders are now under enormous pressure to respond. But the high death toll was the result of poor leadership, planning and training, and that would be fixed by some grand, media worthy, act. The Maoists have carried out these elaborations before, and the military has to be always on their guard for this sort of thing.

April 5, 2010: Taliban terrorists attacked the American consulate in the Pakistani city of Peshawar, but failed to get in or hurt any Americans. Four of the six terrorists were killed in the attack.

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