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India-Pakistan: We Know Where You Live
   Next Article → PEACEKEEPING: The Endless Rutted Road
July 1, 2010:  Pakistan has declared South Waziristan clear of the Taliban, and is offering cash and goods to the 300,000 tribesmen who fled the fighting, to help them get resettled. South Waziristan has no more visible terrorist groups or bases, but some are still there, hidden in remote valleys. Thus while there are still Islamic terrorists in the area, they are a lot less effective, and their working conditions are a lot more stressful. The U.S. has also been stalking Islamic militants in South Waziristan, and this has resulted in some missile attacks.

Pakistani troops continue to hunt down armed groups of Taliban in parts of the tribal territories near Waziristan, particularly Bajur, Orakzai and Swat. There continue to be 200-300 casualties a week, most of them Taliban or civilians. Pakistan is using aircraft, helicopters and artillery against any large groups (a dozen or more men) of fighters they find. Smaller groups are usually just arrested. But large groups of Taliban continue to be found, and resist, leaving most of the hostiles dead or wounded (and captured). Many of the most destructive actions are air attacks on Taliban bases in remote areas, where the Taliban thought they were safe from attack. But the Pakistanis now have precision bombing capabilities, and just received their first all-weather F-16 fighter bombers. There will be 18 of these in action by the end of the year.

Hundreds of key al Qaeda and Taliban personnel are trapped in North Waziristan, and hunted throughout the rest of Pakistan. Their biggest problem is the loss of mobility. The profusion of police and army checkpoints, increased scrutiny at seaports and airports makes it more difficult to move, and when you do, there's a higher chance of getting caught. There are fewer terrorist attacks, despite the threats from the Islamic terror organizations. This war in the shadows is going against the terrorists, but the bad guys are not giving up. Well, some are quitting and going home, but thousands of militants continue the fight.

As the Taliban are hammered in the tribal territories, they have struck back by threatening, and increasingly, attacking senior judicial and security officials, and their families. This has an impact, and demonstrates how the Islamic militants often survive sustained campaigns against them.

Five American Moslems (whose parents migrated and assimilated, and had reported these college age students missing last December), were tried and convicted of terrorism and sentenced to ten years in prison. The five claimed they were jihadis, not terrorists, and only wanted help in getting into Afghanistan (via Pakistan), so they could kill foreign (American and NATO) troops. Pakistani prosecutors wanted to put the five in prison for life because of their terrorist activities. The five young men tried to win some public support by insisting that they meant no harm in Pakistan, and just wanted to get to Afghanistan and fight non-Moslem soldiers. The U.S. wanted the five extradited to  America, for prosecution on terrorism charges. Pakistan might still to do this, but evidence found on the five Americans indicated that they were planning attacks on Pakistani targets and thus the five had to be prosecuted in Pakistan first.

India has sent 3,000 more troops to its portion of Kashmir, as Islamic terror groups switch tactics from death squads and bombings to street demonstrations. These mass gatherings are sometimes very violent, and the police and troops shoot back. This has left at least eleven demonstrators dead in the last two weeks. The Islamic militants are trying to rebuild their popular support by creating martyrs among the Moslem population. This loss of popular support has made it more difficult for the Islamic terrorists to operate. That has reduced the violence among civilians (especially non-Moslem civilians). In the last 21 years, nearly 70,000 people have died because of this Pakistani terror campaign against Indian rule in southern Kashmir. That has created a generation of young Moslem Kashmiris who admire the Islamic terrorists and their war against the non-Moslem world. The parents of these kids see it differently, but that's the usual generational divide in these situations. Terrorism related deaths are way down in the past few years, but Pakistan has refused to shut down the terrorist bases just across the border in Pakistan, so the Islamic terrorists keep coming.

Pakistani and Indian efforts to coordinate anti-terrorism efforts are hampered by continued Indian suspicions of Pakistani officials who are supporters of Islamic militant groups, especially those specializing in attacks on India. Some of these Pakistani officials exist, and given how many Pakistanis (about a third of the population) that still back Islamic militancy, the problem is not going away anytime soon.

June 29, 2010:  In eastern India, Maoist rebels ambushed a force of 70 security personnel, and killed 26 of them. This the latest of three  such attacks in the last three months, and morale among security personnel searching for Maoists has plummeted. A force of commandos was sent after the Maoists who conducted this attack. But it is difficult to find anyone in these remote, forested areas.  These defeats indicate that the 70,000 special police assembled for the anti-Maoist campaign, were not properly prepared for the job.

 

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