India-Pakistan: Telling the Tribes The Truth

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August 13, 2007: In Pakistan, the last month has produced nearly 400 deaths from Islamic radical violence. However, most Pakistanis are more concerned about upcoming elections, and the end of military rule, than they are of tribal support for the Taliban and al Qaeda. This year, most of the Islamic radical violence has been in the tribal areas. The Islamic radicals tried to assert themselves in the urban areas, and failed. This was a major blow to the Islamic radicals, who had convinced themselves that they had major support all over the country. They don't.

In India, NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations) are accused by the government of providing aid to Maoist rebels. "Doctors Without Borders" was ordered to say away from some infested Maoist areas, after being accused of treating Maoists wounded in battles with police.

Bangladesh believes it has local Islamic terrorists on the run. There have been lots of arrests, and not much terrorist violence, so far this year.

August 12, 2007: Pakistan's president Musharraf admitted that much of the Taliban violence in the region was coming from bases in Pakistan. This had been denied for years, but at a meeting of Pushtun tribal leaders from both countries, Musharraf made the admission, and urged the tribes to forgo Islamic terrorism for economic progress. Such a practical approach is not popular with many of the tribesmen.

August 11, 2007: There's been more violence between Shia and Sunni militants in Pakistan, as well as more attacks on the Christian minority. This religious violence kills or injures dozens of people a month, and has been present for decades.

August 10, 2007: In Pakistan, the tribesmen are making largely ineffectual attacks on army troops. The pro-Taliban tribesmen are not suicidal, and avoid taking on the troops directly. But their indirect attacks, with unguided rockets and poorly constructed roadside bombs, are not very effective, and cause few casualties.

In eastern India, Maoist rebels have increased their attacks on politicians and security forces.

In Kashmir, a fire broke out in the main ammo, which supplies nearly 100,000 security troops, as well as providing reserve stocks in case there is a war with Pakistan (in which case, over half a million troops would move into the area.) At least 30 Indian troops have been wounded by the exploding ammunition. Local Islamic terrorists took responsibility for the fire, which is more likely the result of an accident.

August 9, 2007: In Pakistan's tribal areas, pro-Taliban tribesmen kidnapped sixteen tribesmen serving in a paramilitary security force. If the paramilitaries are killed, it would trigger a tribal war of revenge, thus the use of kidnapping to try and force the pro-government tribesmen to change their minds.

August 8, 2007: One Pakistani tribe, the Bajaur, are eager to stop efforts to immunize children against polio. Many of the tribesmen have accepted the myth that the vaccinations are actually a Western plot to poison Moslems. So tribesmen kidnapped eleven health workers who had come to vaccinate the kids. As a result of this violence, the vaccination program has been halted. The Bajaur are very pro-Taliban, and consider any children getting polio to be "God's will." Earlier this year, a Pakistani resident of Australia, visited the tribal area, was infected with polio, but didn't discover he was ill until he flew back to Australia. He was cured, but not before a panic in Australia, and particularly in nearby New Zealand, where a large chunk of the population is not vaccinated against polio (because the disease was wiped out there decades ago.)

August 7, 2007: In Pakistan's tribal areas, troops destroyed two fortified compounds used by Islamic terrorists. The army has increased patrols and shut down much road traffic throughout the tribal zone along the Afghan border. The reinforced checkpoints attract attacks from tribesmen desperate to regain use of the roads.

 

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