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India-Pakistan: In Love With The Enemy
   Next Article → LEADERSHIP: A Credibility Problem In South Korea
November 29, 2010: The Taliban isn't the only problem Pakistani police have. There are hundreds of criminal gangs, mainly in the two major tribal territories cities (Quetta and Peshawar) and the largest city in the country, the port of Karachi. Taking down the gangs helps reduce corruption, as the gangs will buy off the cops and politicians as often as they can. Increased anti-gang efforts in Karachi, mainly in support of counter-terrorism efforts, has revealed a larger terrorist support infrastructure than expected. Turns out the gangs of Karachi will help anyone get into, or out of, the country, for a price. Karachi, with a population of over 18 million (11 percent of the national population), is the largest city, and port, in Pakistan. It is increasingly a refuge for Taliban fleeing the fighting in the tribal territories, and taking refuge among over a million Pushtun who live in Karachi. There are dozens of other religious and ethnic factions in Karachi, and many have armed militias and a lunatic fringe. The killing of one senior leader can trigger blind reprisal attacks at suspect groups, which causes more reprisals. The cycle of hatred and violence has been a burden to Karachi for over half a century.

Meanwhile, Pakistan has failed to find a way to change it public opinion problem. A large minority of the population believes the Taliban and al Qaeda are heroic defenders of Islam against India and the West. These pro-radical Pakistanis have  political parties and officials holding high positions in the government. You can read these pro-Taliban statements in the newspapers and see pro-Taliban politicians talking about it on TV. These pro-radical groups survive despite the growing number of terror attacks outside the tribal territories. The Taliban try to cooperate by targeting anti-Taliban government officials, but often civilians are killed instead.

The Pakistani military, under threats of much reduced military aid from the United States, has agreed to move against the last Taliban sanctuary in North Waziristan, but only after the Taliban are chased out of areas to the east, especially the Swat Valley (which is just outside the tribal territories, and leads to the Pakistani capital of Islamabad). Infantry and support battalions have been seen moving out of Swat, and other army units in Swat spreading themselves thinner to provide security. There are still a few Taliban left in Swat, but a lot of corrupt civil servants have moved back into the valley, and these keep the locals angry enough to tolerate some Taliban activists.

The separatist violence in Indian Kashmir is winding down, as the Moslem population grows frustrated at the constant hassles caused by their demonstrations, and lack of any gains. Some 110 people have died during five months of protests.

As India shifts its attention from Pakistan to China, it faces a far more formidable competitor. One of the major advantages China has is a better educated population and has more than five times as many Internet users. That's partly because China has three times the GDP of India, and a lot more people who can afford Internet access.

November 26, 2010:  In the Pakistani capital, police caught two suicide bombers before they could attack their targets (parliament and a mosque in an upscale neighborhood.) The Taliban, al Qaeda and other Islamic militant groups are increasing their efforts against government targets, in an effort to get the Pakistani military out of the tribal territories. Meanwhile, India is angry at Pakistan, on the anniversary of the 2008 terror attack in Mumbai that killed or wounded over 500 people, because of unwillingness to help Indian arrest and prosecute the Pakistanis responsible. The attack was planned and directed from Pakistan, using Pakistani terrorists, yet Pakistan has refused to go after all the Pakistan based Islamic terrorists responsible for the attack. Meanwhile, Islamic terrorists captured in Indian Kashmir admit that the Pakistani government has allowed terror groups to rebuild their training camps. Many of these camps were closed by an embarrassed Pakistan in late 2009 and early 2009. That didn't last.

November 25, 2010: In Indian Kashmir, troops found and killed three Islamic terrorists near the border. The Islamic militants not only have a harder time getting across the border, but a more hostile Moslem population is more likely to report the presence of Islamic terrorists. Thus there are fewer terror attacks in the Winter because the terrorists spend so much of their time just staying hidden, and alive.

Pakistan has openly offered a large reward ($120,000), and protection afterward, for a well placed spy within the Taliban. This appears to be some kind of publicity stunt, as Pakistani intelligence has long had informants within the Taliban. But the Pakistan Taliban has undergone heavy casualties in the last year, both from external attack (by the Pakistani military and American missiles) and internal fighting. Pakistan may have lost some key informants within the Taliban. This may also be in response to reports that the Taliban has set up two more groups for launching terror attacks within Pakistan, especially outside the tribal territories.

November 23, 2010: In Indian Kashmir, troops found and killed two Islamic terrorists near a village. One of the dead was a terrorist group leader.

 

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