India-Pakistan: Fear Of Fighting


November 15, 2010: Pakistan is now accused of holding back on going after Taliban headquarters in North Waziristan because of fear that the Taliban would unleash a large number of terror attacks that would cause a political crises that would bring down the government. Such violence has killed nearly 4,000 people in the last three years, since the government launched its offensive against Islamic terrorists. The first such attack was against the Red Mosque in Islamabad (the capital), to root out radicals who threatened kidnappings and attacks in the capital. There's also fear that more government cooperation with Islamic radical groups (like the Taliban, Lashkar-i-Taiba and Haqqani network), as part of official, or secret, peace deals, will simply make the terrorist groups stronger. That sounds absurd, but stranger things have happened in this part of the world. Meanwhile, the Islamic radical violence is forcing the victims (like Shia and Sufi Moslems) to get organized and strike back. The government may be reluctant to protect the people, but the victims are becoming more violent in their own defense.

Most of these terror attacks have taken place in the tribal territories, and the Pakistani government fears that the Islamic radical groups could carry out a lot of these attacks in the lowland and more densely populated parts of the country. Several times a week, there are terrorist attacks in the tribal territories, usually against the police or soldiers. Far fewer occur outside the tribal lands.

The U.S. has been examining how the Taliban in Pakistan and Afghanistan finance themselves. These organizations have large expenses and cannot operate without substantial income. The Afghan Taliban depend a lot of protection money from drug gangs, while the Pakistani Taliban get a lot of money by extorting protection fees from truck companies that carry cargo into and out of Afghanistan. In addition, the Pakistani Taliban are receiving large contributions from Islamic charities and individual donors overseas. The pervasive corruption in Pakistan makes it easy for the Taliban to make deals with anyone, to trade security (from attack) for cash. Western nations are increasingly cracking down on Islamic radicals raising money, under the guise of Islamic charities, among Moslems living in the West. These fund raisers are being hunted down, and arrested. The fund raisers often also recruit young Moslems in the West to go to Pakistan and get terrorist training, or get involved in fighting there. Saudi Arabia and other Arab Gulf states are under more pressure, from the West, to curb such fund raising and recruiting in their own countries.

The U.S. UAV launched missile attack on Islamic terrorists in the Pakistani tribal territories continues to accelerate, with seven attacks so far this month. These attacks are a major concern with the terrorist leadership, because they are the primary target.

Indian efforts, to improve the economy and living standards in rural areas where Maoist rebels are active, are hampered by the corruption that kept these regions poor in the first place. Much of the money is being stolen or diverted to those who need it less. The military campaign against the Maoists has forced the rebels to consolidate and tighten discipline. The Maoists have lost some ground, but become more deadly in the process. The war against the Maoists has caused several thousand casualties so far this year, and is more a game of patrolling and forcing Maoists to leave an area, than fighting large battles.

November 14, 2010: In Delhi, India, police captured a Pakistani Islamic terrorist who had been operating in India for ten years. The man was captured after a brief gun battle.  In Kashmir, Indian border guards killed two Islamic terrorists trying to cross from Pakistan. The street violence in Kashmir has died down, but Islamic terrorists are still operating there, mostly going after security forces and Moslem leaders who oppose them.

November 11, 2010: The Taliban attacked a police headquarters in Karachi, Pakistan. A suicide car bomb and gunfire killed 17 and wounded over a hundred.

The Pakistani government launched another anti-corruption campaign. This one is expected to fail, as previous ones have, because the large number of corrupt officials are effective in blocking the cleanup efforts. But it's more than theft and bribes (which are estimated as accounting 1-2 percent of GDP, or up to $3 billion a year.) There is also the problem that the wealthiest people in Pakistan avoid paying taxes, leaving the government chronically broke, and unable to supply basic health, education, judicial and security services. The corruption is a major reason for widespread support of Islamic radical groups (who promise to clean up the corruption, but have shown that they only do so for a short time, before becoming corrupt themselves.)


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