Counter-Terrorism: The Pakistan Paradox

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December29, 2006: For over a decade, Pakistan has sponsored (but denied doing so) Islamic terrorist activity in Kashmir (an Indian province that Pakistan claims as its own). Increasingly, those Kashmiri terrorist groups have been found operating deep inside India. On December 19th, three Moslem men were arrested in the Indian capital. Found with the three was bomb making materials (7 pounds of RDX and detonators). These three men had been found via information provided Bangladeshi Islamic terrorists who were arrested last October, also in the capital. The Bangladeshi men were also caught with explosives.

The Islamic terrorists operating in Kashmir have been recruiting and training Bangladeshi Moslems, as well as Indian Moslems. The Pakistani based terrorists are taking advantage of a growing Islamic militant movement in Bangladesh, and ongoing (for decades) unrest in northeast India (which abuts Bangladesh). Most of the violence in the northeast is tribal, with demands that illegal migrants from Bangladesh, and legal migrants from the rest of India, be kept out, and the tribes be given more autonomy. The northeast states are especially corrupt, with criminals and terrorist groups running extortion rackets and other illegal activity to finance their operations. Overall, the terrorist violence in the northeast is only about a third of what goes on in Kashmir, but the unruly atmosphere has enabled Islamic terrorists to establish a pathway from Bangladesh, deeper into India.

Pakistan has always denied any connection with this Islamic terrorism. But the terrorism in Kashmir is widely popular in Pakistan, for it strives to retrieve a province many Pakistanis believe India "stole" when the colonial power Britain departed in 1948, creating Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka in the process. Thus the Pakistani government officially condemns the Islamic terrorists camped out in northern Pakistan, where they train themselves, and then sneak into Kashmir. But in reality, the terrorist camps are tolerated, and any foreign reporter who can get into the region (which is not easy, or safe, to do) can see the camps. Pakistan also tolerates Islamic terrorist activity along the Afghan border, mainly because shutting it down would involve a militarily and politically messy war with the Pushtun tribes there. Thus, Pakistan has become the home of the most energetic Islamic terrorist organizations on the planet. All this, despite Pakistan's official status as a staunch U.S. ally in the war on terror.

 


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