India-Pakistan: Delaying The Big Push

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August 3, 2009: Pakistan has delayed its advance into Waziristan, and a battle with the main Taliban force in Pakistan, in order to coordinate operations with Afghan and NATO troops just across the border. The Pakistanis are also hoping to talk some Taliban factions to switch sides, and reduce the opposition the army will encounter (and the number of troops killed) when the big advance does get underway. In the meantime, Pakistani F-16s and helicopters are using smart bombs and missiles to hit Taliban targets, along with some American UAVs (most of which appear to have moved their operations across border into Afghanistan.)

Mullah Omar, the head of the Taliban, approved publication, last May, of a pamphlet describing the new Taliban Rules of Engagement (ROE). In response to growing popular criticism of the criminal activities of the Taliban (kidnapping, extortion and murder), the ROE forbids all this bad behavior, and declares that anyone who does such things is not really Taliban. The pamphlet did not catch on, and few people believed it really represented a change in behavior for the Taliban. In the Swart valley and Waziristan, armed Taliban are still using terror, and acting like bandits, in an attempt to hang onto power.

In Pakistan's Swat valley, security forces continue to search for armed Taliban, and these Taliban are still active in trying to terrorize people into not cooperating with the government. The brief Taliban rule in Swat was popular with many landless farm laborers, as the Taliban promised to seize land from the wealthy property owners, and distribute it to the landless. Unlike India, which got rid of most feudal property ownership half a century ago,  Pakistan is where the ancient practices live on, bumping up against modern ideas. The Taliban anti-feudalism program has a catch, however, in that the landless farmers have to accept the Taliban social program (no fun, or schools for girls, or non-religious education at all, or women working outside the home, and so on) as well. This has become a stumbling block, for as the Taliban implemented their social program more thoroughly, they angered more people while doing so. Still, free land is still a draw for some.

August 2, 2009: Pakistan has flown over 400 F-16 bombing and photo recon sorties over Swat and Waziristan in the last four months. Pakistan has 40 older F-16s, which have been upgraded with laser designators. These aircraft carry U.S. Paveway laser guided bombs. Pakistani F-16s also drop unguided bombs. The U.S. has provided ten high resolution digital cameras for the F-16s, which can take detailed pictures of large areas the camera equipped F-16 flies over. The bombers have attacked buildings and compounds believed to house Taliban members and weapons.

August 1, 2009: For the first time in several months, policemen in Kashmir have been attacked and killed. Two policemen were shot in separate incidents. No terror group took credit for the attacks, which is unusual.

In Pakistan, 160 kilometers southeast of Lahore, a Moslem mob attacked a Christian neighborhood, burning dozens of buildings and killing eight Christians. The Moslems were enraged by rumors that Christians had, a week earlier, desecrated a Koran (the Moslem holy book.) While Christianity and Hinduism have grown more tolerant of other religions over the last few centuries, Islam has maintained its cultural, and often legal, hostility to infidels (non-Moslems). Even though non-Moslems have more rights in Pakistan, than in other Moslem states, anti-Christian mobs frequently show up, and do much damage to those rights, as well as people and property. Most of the time, Christians and Moslems live together peaceably, but it doesn't take much effort to get a spate of anti-Christian violence going. In this case, additional troops and police were sent in, and within 24 hours the situation had calmed down. But the local Christians had to hold their own demonstrations for the media, to get the police to arrest the Moslems responsible for the violence.

In eastern India, police have run into some basic problems in trying to eliminate the Maoist rebels there. The Maoists are few, mobile and popular with many of the poor people in the region. The Maoists are less popular with the many tribes that still exist in the rural areas. But the tribal people don't like any outsiders very much, including the army and police.

July 30, 2009: The Pakistani Navy accepted its first Chinese built F-22P class frigate. The 2,500 ton warship is equipped with Chinese made weapons, and one of the four ships in the class will be built in Pakistan. Some 200 kilometers northwest of Lahore, Pakistan, police arrested five suspected terrorists at a railroad station. The police received a tip that some of these men were suicide bombers headed to Lahore, with their handlers, for a mission.

July 29, 2009: Baluchistan rebels (BLUF) have forced the UN to remove many of its relief officials from Baluchistan and Pushtun tribal areas to the northeast. The rebels have threatened to kidnap more UN officials. BLUF is trying to get jailed members freed, and the Pakistani government refuses to cooperate.

In Lahore Pakistan, police received a tip, and arrested three suspected terrorists at the railroad station. The three were caught with bomb making materials (including explosives).

 

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