India-Pakistan: The Immediate Threat


September 29, 2013: Pakistan refuses to accept responsibility for the Islamic terrorists operating from its territory and attacking India. In response to more of these attacks and growing Indian anger over the Pakistani attitude, the Pakistanis are increasing their accusations that it is all India’s fault. Despite much evidence saying otherwise, Pakistan accuses India of causing the border incidents involving Pakistani troops firing across the border in Kashmir and insists that India is behind the rise of Islamic terrorism inside Pakistan. Indians don’t quite know how to handle this, as it defies logic and the growing evidence that the Islamic terrorism has been Pakistani government supported (via the ISI and Islamic political parties) for decades. A growing number of Pakistanis agree with the Indian position but saying so out loud inside Pakistan can get you killed, even if you are a senior and well-guarded government official. Indian diplomats continue to warn their Pakistani counterparts that another spectacular attack (like the 2008 one in Mumbai) could generate enough popular outrage in India to force the government to undertake more aggressive measures. After all, India is a democracy and politicians increasingly get elected only if they promise to deal with the Islamic terrorist threat. The Pakistani diplomats complain that the anti-Indian paranoia defense is popular in Pakistan because getting aggressive against Islamic terror groups puts individual Pakistani politicians at risk of assassination. That is seen as a more immediate threat than war with India. Moreover, the pro-terrorist/anti-India stance is very popular in Pakistan due to decades of government (and army) sponsored anti-Indian propaganda.

Meanwhile, the Pakistani government continues to try holding peace talks with the Taliban. This is difficult because the Taliban demands more and more concessions and is still carrying out attacks. The Taliban have also demanded that the army withdraw from the tribal territories, release 4,000 imprisoned Taliban, and stop the American UAV operations before talks begin. The army refuses to do any of this. The army had earlier demanded that peace talks should only take place if the Taliban disarmed first, and the Taliban refused that as well. Most people closest to the Taliban (the army and most of the population in the tribal territories) believe such negotiations are futile. The Taliban have broken every peace agreement they have ever made and openly state that their goal is Islamic rule in all of Pakistan and nothing less. The decades of government sponsored propaganda supporting the use of Islamic law (sharia) and support for Islamic conservatives has caused this problem, where most Pakistanis, who have no close contact with the Taliban, still see these Islamic terrorists as reformers, not fanatical killers bent on establishing a harsh religious dictatorship in the country. The Pakistani leaders caused this problem and are finding that solving it can’t be done quickly. Yet most Pakistanis still support peace talks with the Pakistani Islamic terrorists (especially the Taliban), despite the fact that the Taliban makes no secret of the fact that it considers such negotiations a tactical tool to gain some advantage and eventually impose a religious dictatorship on Pakistan. Westerners find this hard to believe, but you need only peruse Pakistani media (plenty of it has English language versions) to see the twisted logic in action. Army leaders are being increasingly outspoken in their criticism of these peace efforts. The army is convinced that the terrorists have no intention of negotiating anything other than the establishment of a religious dictatorship for Pakistan. A majority of Pakistanis oppose that, although a large minority would back such a move. The government says it will go along with army plans to use more force against the Islamic terror groups but only after the civilian leadership is convinced that negotiations are impossible. India believes that all Pakistan wants to negotiate is a deal whereby Islamic terrorists stop attacking inside Pakistan while being allowed (and supported) to continue attacks outside the country (especially India and Afghanistan). Pakistan will never admit this, although this has, for all practical purposes, been government and army policy for decades.

The Pakistani army and the politicians running the country cannot agree on how to deal with the Taliban and the growing number of attacks made by these terrorists. Minorities (especially Christians and Moslem sects like Shia and Sufis) are particularly angry at the governments inability to halt the terrorist violence and are getting more vocal (and sometimes physical on the streets) about it. The Sunni Moslems who comprise most of the Islamic terror groups consider it their sacred duty to attack these unbelievers (that includes Shia, Sufi and other Moslem sects that have slightly different beliefs and practices than the Sunni majority).

In southwest Pakistan (Baluchistan) relief efforts continue. Over 500 have been confirmed dead so far and the ultimate toll is expected to be north of a thousand. The separatist tribesmen in the area have not helped much and are accused of shooting at helicopters involved in relief operations and at troops on the ground moving relief supplies.

Chinese violations of the LAC (Line of Actual Control) border with India continue, but both countries agree that current negotiations for a new treaty to deal with this will be signed in October. Then again, maybe not. Recent Chinese intrusions are in the northwest and have, in effect, taken control of 640 square kilometers of territory on the Indian side of the border. The 4,057 kilometer LAC is also known as the MacCartney-MacDonald Line and is the unofficial border between India and China. The LAC is mostly Tibet on the Chinese side. China claims much territory that is now considered part of India because when Tibet was independent in the early 20th century Tibet agreed to the MacCartney-MacDonald Line. When China reconquered Tibet in the 1950s that border agreement was renounced as “unfair.” China has never backed away from its claims on Indian territory and its violation of the LAC is a major crises for India (which has a defense budget one third that of China’s). The Chinese believe that the Indians are militarily weaker and not willing to confront a gradual and persistent Chinese effort to take control of contested area. India fears that a new border treaty will not halt the Chinese encroachment because previous agreements have not.  

September 28, 2013: In Pakistani Baluchistan 4 soldiers transporting earthquake relief supplies were ambushed by tribal rebels and killed. Some of the separatist rebels see army relief efforts as an invasion of their territory and are responding with force.

In Indian Kashmir Islamic terrorists fired on an army convoy, but there were no casualties.

September 27, 2013: In the Pakistani tribal territories (city of Peshawar) a bomb went off on a bus, killing 20 and wounding 43. Most of the bus passengers were government employees, who were apparently the intended target. A similar attack took place a year ago.

September 26, 2013: In Indian Kashmir three Islamic terrorists attacked a police post, killed 4 policeman and a nearby civilian, and then took one of the police vehicles to a nearby army camp which they entered and began shooting again. Eventually the 3 terrorists were killed but not before they killed had killed 10 people in the 2 attacks. The 3 dead terrorists were teenagers who had just crossed the border from Pakistan. This attack took place in Jammu, the southern, more (65 percent) Hindu, part of the province that had not seen violence like this in 11 years.

September 24, 2013: In Pakistani Baluchistan a major (7.7 magnitude) earthquake hit, halting military and police operations against separatists in areas near the coast (especially Awaran District) where the damage was greatest. Additional soldiers and police were sent to the worst hit areas, as is customary. Thousands were killed or injured and over 500,000 had their homes demolished or heavily damaged. Awaran District is the poorest of the 11 in Baluchistan Province and home to 300,000 people. The district is also noted for the large number of local tribesmen who belong to separatist groups fighting the government for more tribal autonomy and a larger share of the revenues from local natural gas fields. Baluchistan is the largest province in Pakistan (40 percent of the country) but only has nine million people (out of a total Pakistani population of 170 million).

In the Pakistani tribal territories (South Waziristan) 6 mortar shells fired from Afghanistan killed 2 and wounded 4.

September 22, 2013: In the Pakistani tribal territories (city of Peshawar) 2 Taliban suicide bombers attacked outside a church just after worship services ended and killed over 80 people and wounded over a hundred. This led to several days of street demonstrations by local Christians and other religious minorities (including many Moslems) who have been the target of Islamic terror attacks. The Pakistani government is under growing pressure to do something about this, but so far government counter-terror efforts are stalled because of attempts to negotiate a peace deal with the terrorists.

Elsewhere in the tribal territories (North Waziristan), an American UAV fired missiles at a compound occupied by Islamic terrorists, killing 7 of them. This makes 21 American UAV attacks in Pakistan so far this year and the second this month. Such attacks have steadily declined since they peaked in 2010 (117 attacks). In 2011 there were 64 and last year only 46.

September 21, 2013: In the Pakistani tribal territories (Dir) an army patrol encountered a group of heavily armed men near the Afghan border and killed 12 of them. More of the Islamic terrorists were wounded but got away. 2 soldiers were wounded in the action.

September 20, 2013: Indian Army officials admitted that after the 2008 Pakistani terror attacks in Mumbai secret intelligence operations were resumed inside Pakistan. These had been halted in 1997, in an effort to bring peace with Pakistan, but that approach was seen as not working after the 2008 attack (and several more major ones since 1997).

In the Pakistani tribal territories (city of Peshawar) Islamic terrorists threw a grenade into a mosque killing 3 clerics and wounding 18 worshippers. The terrorists frequently attack mosques that do not support Islamic terrorism.

September 19, 2013: In eastern India (Bihar state) Maoists attacked a police compound under construction using a car bomb and gunfire. One policeman was killed and two were wounded. The building under construction was heavily damaged.

September 18, 2013: India accused Pakistan of violating the Kashmir ceasefire 18 times so far this month and 96 times so far this year. That’s the highest number in 8 years (there were 93 last year, 51 in 2011, 44 in 2010, 28 in 2009, 77 in 2008, 21 in 2007, and 7 in 2006.

September 17, 2013: In Pakistan parliament called on the government to back the army in dealing with the Islamic terrorists. Government leaders are still trying to get peace talks with the Taliban going. The Taliban is the largest terrorist group in the country but there are over 40 more.

September 16, 2013: Afghan officials accuse Pakistan of firing over 40 rockets into Kunar province during the last 24 hours.

In eastern India (Bihar state) Maoists ambushed a police patrol, killing 2 policemen and wounding 3 others. 




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