India-Pakistan: Greedy, Unreliable, Duplicitous and Incompetent

May 9, 2011: Pakistan continues to deny, at least publically, that it knew Osama bin Laden was hiding out in a military town (Abbottabad), surrounded by retired generals and less than a kilometer from the national military academy. But the U.S. believed that senior people in the Pakistani military, and its intel organization (ISI), knew. American officials are accusing Pakistani officials that they were either in on the bin Laden sanctuary deal, or were incompetent. Which is why Pakistan was given no advance warning of the raid. But even that is unclear, raising the possibility that some trusted Pakistani military leaders may have been alerted. The Pakistanis were apparently informed once the raid was underway, and Pakistani troops assisted by cordoning off the bin Laden compound, and taking possession after the Americans left (less than an hour after they arrived.)

Increasingly, over the past few years, the U.S. has presented the Pakistani government with clear evidence of how the Pakistani army and intel services were playing both sides. Pakistan either denied the evidence or promised something would be done, but did nothing (or very little.) After the raid, the Pakistani military announced that they are investigating the bin Laden situation, but there is little confidence that anything (beyond more lies and deception) will come from that. The U.S. is pressuring Pakistan to actively help determine the extent of pro-terrorist activity in the ISI and army. So far, Pakistan has resisted this, probably because the ISI is seen as the holder of many secrets, including some that could be embarrassing (or worse) to Pakistani politicians trying to investigate the ISI.

The situation gets worse for the Pakistani generals. Since the bin Laden raid, more Wikileaks  documents have come out, showing captured al Qaeda claiming that ISI and Pakistani troops supported Islamic terrorists in India and helped them get across the border into Kashmir so that they could "kill Indians". Pakistan has always denied this, although the evidence against Pakistan has grown year by year since the 1990s.

There is no hard evidence that the Pakistanis were complicit in hiding bin Laden in town just north of their capital. But there is considerable evidence that some military personnel and organizations were in on it. What is certain about the Pakistani military is that they are very corrupt, not very effective (they have lost every war they participated in) and consider themselves a caste apart in Pakistan. The military considers themselves the only disciplined organization in an otherwise chaotic nation. That's why the military periodically takes over, then lets democracy resume control after 5-10 years (once the generals are reminded that running a dictatorship in Pakistan is very difficult).  But the failure to even detect the American raiders, much less interfere with the raid, has enraged many Pakistanis. It's not just the Americans who want answers.

The Pakistani military justifies its huge budget and immunity from most laws, by portraying India as a huge threat and always scheming to invade or grab another piece of Pakistani territory. This has been going on since the two countries were created in 1948, and there was a dispute (still unresolved) over who should control the border province of Kashmir. The Pakistani military has shown itself more successful at taking a large part of the national income for itself, than in taking Kashmir from India. The main goal of the Pakistani military is taking care of itself. Pakistani officers live very well, as the military owns many companies and other income producing assets. A large chunk of the $18 billion in American aid (sent to Pakistan since September 11, 2001) had has been stolen by Pakistani officers. The Pakistani military is greedy, unreliable, duplicitous and incompetent. They will apply all these skills in an attempt to absolve themselves of any blame in the bin Laden affair. Meanwhile, the political establishment, which shares many of the same qualities, continues to demonstrate a chronic inability to control the military. Both the politicians and generals foster conspiracy theories about how India and the West are striving to cripple Pakistan, to prevent the emergence of a mighty Islamic power. Many Pakistanis are aware that what is crippling Pakistan is corrupt and incompetent leadership within Pakistan. But life is hard in Pakistan, and it's easier to just go along with the lies, or emigrate to the West.

The Pakistani military is threatening to withdraw cooperation if the U.S. makes any more raids, like the one that killed Osama bin Laden recently. The U.S. says nothing in response to this, but American diplomats have pointed out to their Pakistani counterparts that the American Congress, which controls American spending, is talking about cutting, or eliminating all aid to Pakistan. The U.S. Department of Defense has admitted that it has prepared plans for dealing with a hostile Pakistan. Many Pakistanis are upset that the Americans were able to fly, undetected, through 200 kilometers of Pakistani territory, raid a compound and get away with bin Laden's body, and no casualties among themselves.

In eastern India (West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia) an additional 65,000 police have been moved in to guard 3,534 polling places for tomorrow's elections. The Maoists have promised to disrupt the voting in this rural district.

In the Pakistani city of Karachi, the war between Sunni and Shia radicals continues, despite weeks of police efforts to halt it. More Sunni and Shia are killed or wounded daily.

Bangladesh is demanding that India stop killing illegal border crossers. Since September 11, 2001, Indian border police have killed about a hundred people a year. The Indians are trying to keep smugglers and terrorists out, as well as economic migrants. India insists that its border troops only shoot when fired on, or feel themselves in danger of attack. Despite the efforts of the border guards, thousands of Bangladeshis cross the border each year, and these illegal migrants are a major source of discontent on the Indian side.

May 7, 2011:  India announced that 63 percent of the work is done on 39 roads to the Chinese border in Arunachal Pradesh and Ladakh. Even before these roads are complete, more are planned at other places along the 4,000 kilometer long Chinese border, in order to make it easier to resist another Chinese invasion.

May 6, 2011: For the first time since the bin Laden raid, CIA UAVs made a missile attack, killing 15 (including at least one civilian). This one hit the Haqqani network, an Afghan group that has been based in North Waziristan for decades, under the protection of the Pakistani military. The Pakistani Army continues to refuse to move into North Waziristan because of the Haqqani network bases there. At the same time, the Pakistani generals deny that they are protecting the Haqqani network. The Pakistanis also complain about the UAV attacks on the Haqqani network, and try to halt them.

Pakistani police arrested 25 al Qaeda suspects in Abbottabad (where bin Laden's compound was).

May 5, 2011:  On the Kashmir border between India and Pakistan, Pakistani troops again violated the truce, by firing 12 RPGs and 500 rounds of machine-gun ammo at Indian bunkers. The firing stopped when Indian officers used the hotline to contact their Pakistani counterparts to complain about the firing. This is the first truce violation since April 24th.

May 4, 2011: Pakistan has called for the United States to cut its military personnel in Pakistan. No numbers were given.

May 3, 2011:  In eastern India (Jharkhand) a Maoist ambush failed to overwhelm a smaller force of police. Some 400 Maoists attacked a hundred police, wounding about half of them and killing 11. But the paramilitary police held their ground and drove the communist rebels off.

In South Waziristan, Pakistan, a Taliban faction broke its truce with the army and attacked an army base with rockets. The army fired back, but there were apparently few casualties. The Taliban faction was angered by the recent killing of Osama bin Laden by American commandoes.

May 2, 2011: Pakistan has ordered the U.S. to stop using a Pakistani airbase for the CIA UAVs that search for, and attack, Islamic terrorists in the tribal territories. This will have no major impact on those UAV operations. The Pakistani airbase was closer to the areas the UAVs patrolled, meaning it will take one, or two, additional UAVs operating in Afghanistan to achieve the same coverage.

American commandos, flying in four stealthy helicopters, raided a military town (Abbottabad) 100 kilometers north of the Pakistani capital, and raided the walled compound where Osama bin Laden had been hiding for over five years. Bin Laden was killed.

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