India-Pakistan: Showdown Time


March 5, 2007: Pakistan is being forced, by Taliban attempts to invade Afghanistan from Pakistan bases, to confront the threat of Islamic terrorism. It was the government that encouraged the growth of Islamic radicalism in the late 1970s (when another general was running the country), in the belief that this would break the cycle of corruption that was crippling the government and economy. That didn't work, and Pakistan is still trying to rid itself of the murderous Islamic terrorist organizations that have since shown up. Worse, many senior officials of the government and military still believe that Islamic radicalism is the solution to the countrys problems. But those same officials are not willing to sacrifice their careers for that belief. They will, however, be less enthusiastic when ordered to take action against Islamic radical groups. The Islamic terrorists recognize this situation, and are careful to avoid targeting their allies when carry out assassination operations against Pakistani officials. President Musharraf risks civil war if he again turns the army loose on the Pushtun tribes along the Afghan border. But the West threatens him with far worse if a major terrorist attack in the West is traced back to bases in Pakistan.

March 4, 2007: In Indian Kashmir, Islamic terrorists have demanded that cable TV companies drop foreign channels, because these channels show un-Islamic content. The Islamic terrorists did this once before, in 2005, and killed three cable company employees. The foreign cable channels went off the air for a while, then came back on. This sort of thing makes the Islamic terrorists more unpopular, but the terrorists don't seem to care any more. Increasingly, the Islamic radicals are spending most of their time terrorizing Moslems. The terrorists cannot afford to lose too much support among the Moslem population, as that would severely limit their mobility, fund raising and ability to recruit new members.

In eastern India, Maoist rebels assassinated a prominent politician, and four others. Maoists are increasingly using such killings to force the government to recognize rural areas where the Maoists have basically taken over the government.

March 3, 2007: Pakistani police almost captured Wahid Baksh, the leader of a group of Baluchi Iranian rebels. Baluchi tribes live on both sides of the border. The Baluchi are Sunnis, and never got along with the Shia Iranians. Iran has been pressuring Pakistan to crack down on rebel Iranian Baluchis who maintain bases inside Pakistan. In return, Iran will go after rebel Pakistani Baluchis who try to hide out in Iran. Meanwhile, the Pakistani government got a migraine when an American general mentioned, in public, that U.S. and NATO troops fire across the border at Taliban and al Qaeda fleeing into Pakistan, and even pursue them into Pakistan. This is true, but it's supposed to be kept quiet, as Pakistani public opinion does not tolerate such invasions of Pakistani territory. But because Pakistan will not stop the invasion of Afghanistan from Pakistani territory, it has to tolerate some flexibility along the border.

March 2, 2007: In eastern Pakistan, a roadside bomb was used in an attempt to kill a judge. The government is prosecuting the leadership of an Islamic terrorist group that has been killing Shia Moslems for years. The wounded judge was presiding over the trial. Islamic terrorists have long used terrorism against government officials, in order to avoid prosecution for their crimes. Islamic radicals are increasingly trying to impose their life style by threatening the owners of barber shops (that cut off beards) and music stores (that sell un-Islamic entertainment.) The terrorists are also threatening journalists who criticize Islamic terrorism.

March 1, 2007: Pakistani police arrested Mullah Obaidullah Akhund, and several key associates, in the southwestern Pakistani city of Quetta. This was part of a crackdown on Afghan refugees who are engaged in criminal activities (smuggling, drugs or the Taliban all count) Akhund, the Taliban Minister of Defense in Afghanistan until late 2001, is considered the number three man in the Taliban. At first, the Taliban publicists denied that Akhund had been caught, then tried to downgrade Akhunds stature. Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan, has long been a city where Taliban operated openly. The Baluchis are also pro-Taliban, but not as much as their Pushtun cousins. The Baluchis want their own country, while the Pushtuns just want to be left alone.

February 28, 2007: For the fifth time this year, the Taliban have murdered someone along the Afghan border, and accused them of being a spy for the Americans. This tactic is being used more frequently by the Taliban to intimidate opponents. Some of those opponents are informing the government, or maybe even the Americans, about what the Taliban are up to. But most of the Taliban opponents simply don't agree with the Taliban concept of Islam, and the need for a religious dictatorship. The Taliban attempts to dominate tribal leaders does not go down well. For the Pushtun on both sides of border, tribe is everything. Your tribe is your final defense against persecution and privation. To many Pushtuns, the Taliban are a bunch of power hungry extremists, who will kill you if you openly disagree with them. President Musharraf has tried to avoid confronting the Taliban threat, if only because most Pakistanis prefer to let the tribes along the Afghan border sort out their own affairs. But in this case, one faction, the Taliban, is also invading Afghanistan, and trying to take over that country. This has always been a problem with the Pushtun tribes and borders. The U.S. is rubbing Musharrafs face in this border problem. This is not very polite or diplomatic, but neither is Pakistans attempt to just look the other way as Pakistani tribesmen invade a neighboring country.




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