The American UAV offensive against Islamic terrorist leaders in northwest Pakistan is running out of targets, as Islamic terrorists seek safely just across the border in Afghanistan, or in the southwest (Baluchistan, and especially around the provincial capital, Quetta). The UAV offensive has been getting more intense of late, with over 40 attacks in the past ten weeks, and over 200 Islamic terrorists (usually leaders) killed. Pakistan continues to refuse permission for the CIA controlled UAVs to operate outside a few small areas (like North Waziristan) along the Afghan border. The Americans would like to make attacks in Baluchistan, where most of the Afghan Taliban leadership is believed to reside (often quite openly). But the Pakistanis won't allow it. The Pakistani government and local Baluchi tribes benefit (in terms of cash and no terror attacks in sanctuary areas) from providing the Taliban with sanctuary in Baluchistan. Pakistan won't admit to these arrangements, and simply declares that public opinion would be outraged if more Islamic terrorists were killed by American missiles in Baluchistan.
So far this year, there have been over a hundred U.S. missile attacks in Pakistan, compared to 53 in all of 2009 and 35 in 2008. Over 90 percent of this year's attacks have been in North Waziristan, where many Taliban and al Qaeda have long been based. The Pakistani Army has refused American requests that the area be cleared of hostile forces. Many in the Pakistani military and counter-terrorism establishment consider these Islamic terrorists as a useful tool to maintain some control in Afghanistan, and as a weapon against India. But the American missile attacks have made life increasingly risky for the terrorist leadership, and the easiest place to run to is just across the border. The American UAVs can still strike there, but the strategy appears to be to get away from the spies and informers among the tribesmen in North Waziristan. The tribes across the border are more hostile, and have a ceasefire with the Haqqani Network, which regularly moves men from North Waziristan to make attacks in Afghanistan. But the U.S. doesn't just rely on tribal informants for targeting information. There are also lots of electronic eavesdropping and sensors (various types of vidcams and special cameras) along with data mining tools. It will soon become apparent if you can run and hide. There are other problems for Haqqani, as the tribes just across the border tend to be Shia. While a minority of Pushtuns are Shia, they do not get along with Islamic radicals like al Qaeda, Taliban or Haqqani, because all three of these consider Shia heretics.
Pakistan continues to battle Taliban and Islamic terrorists in the tribal territories, or adjacent areas like the Swat Valley. There are several hundred casualties a week from these operations, which aim to clear all Islamic radicals from areas that the Pakistani government wants to control.
India and Pakistan are trying to negotiate a peace deal, to reduce the tensions brought on by several wars and over half a century of border disputes. But a peace deal has proved elusive. The main problem is that Pakistan refuses to halt its support for Islamic terror groups that target India. For a long time, Pakistan refused to admit it was providing this support, despite the mounting evidence that it was. Pakistan would eventually admit to some pro-terror support. This happened recently when Pakistan admitted that it had caused the 1999 undeclared war with India, begun as the Pakistani army sought to assist Islamic terrorists get across the border. But now there is a different kind of problem, which is more of a humiliation for Pakistan, than a problem. India no longer considers Pakistan it's chief security problem. China is now seen as the major threat, and Pakistan a fading issue. Most of Pakistan's problems are internal (corruption, religious intolerance, economic stagnation), and supporting Islamic radicalism has brought Pakistan nothing but grief. But too many Pakistanis, including government officials, will not give it up. So Pakistan, and itís neighbors continue to suffer. Pakistan officially disavows any connection with the Taliban (calling them "mercenaries") or Islamic terrorists (blaming foreigners, including India, for them). This is at odds with what foreign intelligence agencies know of the Taliban and Islamic terrorists inside Pakistan, and makes dealing with the Pakistani government on these matters a source of endless frustration. Even Pakistani investigators are often forced to admit that they are dealing with Islamic terrorist groups that are wholly Pakistani. But ultimately, Pakistan protects some of its Taliban or Islamic terror group "assets" for use against real or imagined enemies in India or Afghanistan.
Pakistani police stopped a car, travelling from the tribal territories, as it tried to enter the capital carrying 130 kg (286 pounds) of explosives. Three people in the vehicle were arrested.
November 21, 2010: In Bihar, eastern India, a Maoist bomb went off as lay in plain sight waiting for the police tried to disarm it, killing eight bystanders. This caused local civilians to riot, protesting the inability of the police to deal with the situation.
Pakistani air force commanders visiting China inspected the first of four AWACS type aircraft that will be delivered to Pakistan starting early next year.
The world's largest ship based electric power plant (the Kaya Bey) began feeding electricity into the Karachi port of Karachi. The nation is suffering a growing electricity shortage. Corruption and government incompetence have allowed the deficit to grow to 5,000 megawatts, with the Kaya Bey only able to supply 230 megawatts. Many parts of the country suffer electricity blackouts of 12 hours or more daily. This is a very irritating reminder of how mismanaged the country is.
November 20, 2010: In Bihar State (eastern India), voting took place despite energetic threats and attacks by Maoists. The massive influx of police into Maoist infested areas has not defeated the communist rebels, at least not yet. But unless the government can address the economic and social problems (corruption, poverty and bad government) in the Maoist afflicted areas, there will still be plenty of recruits for the leftist terrorists. The Maoists, cut off from foreign donations (as they are now officially designated international terrorists), have become successful gangsters. Their Robin Hood tactics mainly steal from the rich, although the Maoists keep most of the money for their own needs.
In Baluchistan, Pakistan, at least eight unguided rockets were fired at a Quetta neighborhood over the last two days. Tribal rebels were believed to be the culprits, and no one was injured.
November 18, 2010: The Pakistani Army officially admitted its role in the undeclared 1999 war with India on the high mountain frontier in Kashmir. Pakistan has always insisted that India was just fighting Islamic terrorists (who were just trying to liberate Kashmir from Indian rule). But today the names of 453 soldiers killed in "the Kargil war" were posted on the army website. Although the Pakistani troops, masquerading as Islamic terrorists, were forced to retreat during the 1999 conflict, Pakistan still considered it a victory (because it garnered much publicity for their terrorism campaign in Kashmir). India lost about 550 troops in the fighting. The elected Pakistani government of the time was opposed to the Kargil operation, and tried to remove the head of the armed forces (general Pervez Musharraf). In response, Musharraf staged a coup and ruled the country for the next nine years.
Pakistan announced that it would buy Chinese electronics and weapons for its new JF-17 jet fighters (built in cooperation with China.) The U.S. and Indian pressured European (especially French) manufacturers to not sell such items to Pakistan, because of the risk of China getting their hands on it and stealing the technology (which the Chinese have done so often in the past.) Pakistan hoped to export the JF-17, and that was easier if it was equipped with Western electronics and weapons.
November 17, 2010: In Baluchistan, Pakistan, a gun battle in a mosque left 18 wounded. The fight was over which religious leader would lead prayers.