India-Pakistan: Khan the Untouchable


October 1, 2007: In Pakistan's tribal areas, a male suicide bomber, dressed in a burqa (the all enveloping dress favored, by Islamic conservatives, for women), set off his bomb at a checkpoint, killing three policemen and ten civilians. This sort of attack makes the terrorists more unpopular, because most civilians see themselves, not the security forces, as the primary target. In the tribal areas, the military continues to control the main roads and towns. That means the government controls the economy. Taliban and al Qaeda have been using roadside bombs and attacks on military outposts, to unsuccessfully challenge military control of the economy. The Islamic terrorists are particularly upset with this, as it is now much more difficult to get foreigners (particularly Moslems from Europe) into the area for terrorist training.

September 30, 2007: In northeast India, tribal separatists set off two bombs in Hindu areas, killing six and wounding nearly fifty. India has been quiet about the pro-democracy demonstrations in Burma (Myanmar), which borders India's restive northeastern tribal areas. Both India and Burma have problems with the tribes on their mutual border, and, although democratic India dislikes the military dictatorship in Burma, India and Burma have been increasingly cooperating against the tribes in the past few years.

There was popular outrage at a Pakistani politicians suggestion that A Q Khan, the Pakistani scientist who stole technology from the West and created Pakistans nuclear bombs, be questioned by foreign police for his role in selling that technology (as a private venture) to other nations (like Libya and North Korea). Khan has been under house arrest for that scam, but is otherwise untouchable, because he is a national hero for creating the "Islamic Bomb." Popular demand is leading to Khan being released from house arrest.

September 29, 2007: In southwestern Pakistan (Baluchistan), the tribal rebels are becoming active again. It's small stuff, mostly murder (or attempts) of police and government officials. The recent killing of a senior police commander triggered a major response, and a hundred of the usual suspects were arrested.

A bomb went off near a mosque in the Maldive Islands (an Indian Ocean nation that is usually peaceful.) Twelve foreign tourists were injured.

September 28, 2007: Indian Kashmir had several clashes that left 11 Islamic terrorists and one policeman dead. The terrorists try to increase their attacks during Ramadan. The terrorists in Kashmir have been losing ground over the last two years, as border defenses improve, and the Moslem population in Kashmir turns against the terrorists. But there is still plenty of enthusiasm for the terrorism across the border in Pakistan, where conservative Pushtun tribes support terrorist training camps, and going to those camps is a popular activity for radical young Pakistanis.

September 27, 2007: Police in Mumbai (Bombay), India, found six bombs near a suburban train station, and dismantled them. The bombs were crude, and not powerful.

September 26, 2007: Pakistani president and dictator Musharraf is favored (by pollsters and bookies) to win the upcoming elections. Anti-Musharraf groups have responded with more frequent street demonstrations. These are not expected to change the election outcome. While most Pakistanis don't like Musharraf, they like the alternatives (Islamic dictatorship, corrupt political parties) even less. At least the economy is booming, and that is a major component of Musharraf's support.

September 25, 2007: India has about 300,000 troops, mostly from the army, engaged in counter-terrorism work. Pakistani has about 150,000 so engaged. In both cases, that accounts for about a quarter of the troops on active duty.




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