June 3, 2010: The Taliban have had one major success in Pakistan; they have turned most Pakistanis against Islamic radicalism. Politicians in areas where most of the populations lives (Sind and Punjab province) now make a big deal about the danger of Islamic terrorism, and the need to fight back. This has alarmed the many Islamic conservatives, especially those running religious schools. But the schools have an image problem, as a minority of them have long been the source of most new terrorists. The religious schools, and the Pakistani education system in general, is under attack by parents and politicians. Currently, the education system is heavy on religious instruction, and short on teaching things that will help students get a job. Parents want fewer terrorists and religious fanatics and more employable graduates. The politicians have picked up on this, and the religious lobby is trying to keep the education as it is.
This change in attitude is just in time, because the United States wants the remaining Islamic terrorist safe houses and training camps (in North Waziristan, the tribal territories in general, Pakistani Kashmir and religious schools everywhere) shut down. Soon. Real soon. As in by the end of June. The reason is something most Pakistanis can appreciate. Several recent failed terror attacks against the United States were traced back to the terrorist training camps in Pakistan. The details of these discussions have not been disclosed, but the meetings have often been tense, and sometimes loud. Pakistan does not want to start a civil war by shutting down terror camps for groups that mainly support attacks on India. But those same groups now support training of terrorists who go and attack Western targets. Something has to give.
Pakistan declared the battle for the Kurram and Orakzai districts (near Waziristan and the Afghan border) over, and nearly all the Taliban killed, captured or driven out. The Taliban had fled to these areas after the army invaded South Waziristan last year. The army gained the cooperation of the tribal leaders in Kurram and Orakzai, making it easier for the army to hunt down and destroy the fleeing Taliban (who were trying to establish new bases to replace those lost in South Waziristan.) The army used its edge in helicopters, fighter bombers and artillery to quickly destroy groups of armed Taliban, wherever they could be found. The hostility of the local tribes made it very difficult for individual Taliban to hide in plain sight as individuals.
An opinion survey in Indian Kashmir found that 44 percent favored independence for the province, while 43 percent favored continued Indian rule. The majority of the Moslems (who are 67 percent of the population) favored independence, but hardly any of the non-Moslems did. For the last two decades, Islamic terrorists from Pakistan have tried to drive non-Moslems from the area.
June 1, 2010: Al Qaeda confirmed that a UAV missile strike in Pakistan last month killed their senior field commander, Mustafa Abu al Yazid. He occupied the number three position in the al Qaeda hierarchy, and was mainly concerned with coordinating attacks in Afghanistan. This is a dangerous job, requiring constant contact with many subordinates, and detection by American intelligence efforts. As a result, seven men in this position have died since 2001. The constant turnover has produced a rigidity in al Qaeda operations, and difficulty in responding to serious problems (like hostility with some pro-Taliban tribes). Yazid (also known as al Masri) was Egyptian and a founding member of al Qaeda. He was once the organization's treasurer, and arranged the funding for the September 11, 2001 attacks.
May 31, 2010: In Lahore, Pakistan, eight terrorists, dressed in police uniforms, attacked a hospital where one of the terrorists who had attacked two mosques three days ago, was a patient. Five people (three police, two civilians) died, but the attackers were driven off. The attack was believed to be an attempt to free, or kill, the injured terrorist (who was talking to the police.)
May 30, 2010: In Indian Kashmir, an army officer was charged with killing three civilians and trying to cover it up by claiming they were terrorists. The incident occurred last month, and became the source of much local discontent (as the kin of the three dead men were certain that the three were not involved with Islamic terrorism).
May 28, 2010: Taliban death squads attacked two mosques in Lahore, one of the larger cities in Pakistan, leaving 80 dead. Two of the attackers were captured, but one was badly injured. The two mosques belonged to a minority Islamic sect, the Ahmadi, who are considered heretics by the Taliban and al Qaeda. Even Shia (who represent nearly ten percent of all Moslems), and many mainstream Sunni Moslems, are attacked by Taliban and al Qaeda death squads because of not being the right kind of Moslem. The attackers were traced back to a Taliban base in North Waziristan.
In eastern India, Maoist rebels derailed a high speed passenger train, causing a collision with a passing freight train, killing nearly 200. The high death toll created a major public backlash against the Maoists, who promptly blamed the attack on "rogue Maoists" and promised to keep the railways safe in the future. This incident is part of the general problem the Maoists are having with too many dead civilians from their attacks. The Maoists pitch themselves as the champions of the people, but this angle does not work if you are killing lots of the people. So the Maoists are trying to adapt.
May 27, 2010: Pakistani Taliban leader Mullah Maulana Fazlullah was killed in Afghanistan, while leading the few surviving followers he had recently fled Pakistan with. Fazlullah had, for the last three years, dominated the Swat Valley, using religion inspired terror to try and establish a an Islamic police state. Most Swat residents were terrified by this, and called for army intervention. For the last year, the army has been clearing the Taliban out of Swat, and adjacent areas. Fazlullah was unable to withstand the army, and fled to Afghanistan recently. There, he tangled with the Afghan security forces, and died.