The year ends with Pakistan declaring victory over Islamic terrorists while neighboring India and Afghanistan point out that Pakistan still provides sanctuary for Islamic terrorists that concentrate their attacks on Afghanistan (Afghan Taliban and Haqqani Network) and India (several groups based mainly in the northeast). Pakistan denies providing this sanctuary despite ample evidence. The Americans don’t believe Pakistan either and fear that much of the military aid provided to Pakistan for counter-terrorism work is going to end up on the Indian border where Pakistan continues to attack Indian border posts while insisting the Indians shot first. The Americans are so incensed over this that they have added additional conditions and monitoring requirements to future military aid and will, as they have in the past, halt that aid if the Pakistani generals do not comply.
Pakistan can depend on the Islamic world to take their side because Pakistan is the only Moslem nation with nukes. That means the UN won’t speak up, especially since Pakistan has China and Russia as allies. Even Pakistani officials (especially retired ones) agree that the Pakistani military has far too much power in the country and still uses Islamic terrorists to cause instability in Afghanistan and India, in part because the Pakistani military needs angry neighbors to justify the disproportionate share of the national wealth the military has long enjoyed. That is major reason efforts to deal with corruption in Pakistan so regularly fail. The most corrupt institution in the country is the military and its ally the ISI (national intelligence/secret police). The power of the military in Pakistan would not be possible without all the corruption.
The extent of military/ISI support for compliant (no violence in Pakistan) Islamic terrorists can be seen from rather obvious signs. For example many prominent Islamic clerics can continue to encourage Islamic terrorism and not be arrested. The government will try and curb mass media spreading these incendiary sermons, but those spouting this hate cannot be touched. Nor can the religious schools many radical Islamic clerics run. These schools were supposed to have been “de-radicalized” years ago but that never happened and these hate factories still graduate over 200,000 students a year. Pakistan has also had a difficult time cracking down on Pakistani Sunni Islamic terrorists who attack non-Sunni and non-Christian Pakistanis. At least the government tries, but the Islamic terrorists are supported by more than a fifth of the population and use their numbers to elect politicians who will block or hinder many counter-terrorism efforts.
Since its anti-terrorist offensive began in mid-2014 Pakistan has killed over 3,400 Islamic terrorists, while losing nearly 500 troops. This was done with a force of 180,000 troops, so the low casualty rate for this number of troops was good for morale. About 80 percent of the Islamic terrorists died in 2014 and by early 2015 most had fled North Waziristan. During that 18 months over 800 terrorist hideouts and bases were discovered and destroyed, mainly in North Waziristan and adjacent areas. Based on intelligence captured in many of these terrorist sites security forces made over 13,000 raids all over the country during which another 183 Islamic terrorists were killed and over 21,000 suspects arrested. This was scary to many Pakistanis who could see that the support for Islamic terrorism was widespread in the country and many Pakistanis were willing to actively, and covertly, support Islamic terrorist activities. The North Waziristan offensive will finally end sometime in 2016. So far about 40 percent of the million civilians who fled the area have returned and many are expected back when the warm weather returns.
On the plus side deaths among civilians and the security forces are way down (by about half) in 2015 compared to 2014. Security forces have arrested nearly 10,000 Islamic terrorist suspects in the last year including nearly two thousand radical clerics. Still, Pakistani terrorist and rebel related deaths are still much higher than in India. Pakistan is obviously a far more dangerous place, in large part because the Pakistani government has supported Islamic terrorism since the 1980s and continues to do so. But in the last five years that support has led to the spread of Islamic terrorist violence inside Pakistan and the deaths of nearly 9,000 Pakistanis and Islamic terrorists. This brought forth demands from most Pakistanis that the army do something about all this violence, often committed by Islamic terror groups that were long supported by the military. This compelled the Pakistani military to invade a major Islamic terrorist sanctuary (North Waziristan) in June 2014. Afghanistan points out that the Pakistan offensive did not touch the Afghan Taliban who still have a sanctuary in Baluchistan (southwest Pakistan). Afghans also point out that since mid-2014 there continues to be lots of evidence that the Haqqani Network, despite being forced out of North Waziristan is still supported by Pakistan. Many senior American officials agree with this assessment and more of them are openly saying so. Afghanistan’s new president is criticized by many Afghans for trying to use Pakistan to help get peace talks with the Taliban going.
India estimates that at least sixty Islamic terrorists were able to sneak into Kashmir in 2015. During that time security forces killed 91 Islamic terrorists in Kashmir. Some of these were killed on the border. So far India has the upper hand in Kashmir. In 2014 65 Islamic terrorists got across the border compared to 97 in 2013, 121 in 2012, 52 in 2011 82, in 2010, 99 in 2009 and 27 in 2008. Pakistan has made several attempts to shut down Islamic terrorists operating on the Kashmir border but these efforts by civilian officials are always thwarted eventually by the military. Indian security forces have, since 2001, made Kashmir a very hostile environment for Islamic terrorists and even most of the local Moslems want nothing to do with these Pakistani invaders. Many local Moslems do still want more autonomy. India has had similar success with Maoist (communist) rebels in eastern India and tribal rebels in the northeast. These two groups do not have much foreign support and that makes them easier to deal with.
Islamic terrorist violence is up in Bangladesh, a largely Moslem nation adjacent to northeast India that never had much of an Islamic terrorist problem. Recently a Pakistani diplomat was expelled after being caught providing cash to one of the few local Islamic terror groups. Such Pakistani support of Islamic terrorism has long been a problem in Bangladesh and anti-Pakistan feelings are increasing because more concrete evidence of that support is being found. The Bangladeshi Islamic terrorists have been increasingly targeting local journalists who oppose Islamic terrorism. Of the 27 journalists killed by Islamic terrorists in Bangladesh since 1992, four were killed in 2015 and this appears to have been a deliberate escalation of such attacks. The government is under pressure to act but that is not easy given that many politicians don’t mind seeing journalists intimidated and some politicians quietly support Islamic terrorism. This has to be done quietly because of the continuing anti-Pakistan attitudes. This is largely because the widespread rapes and murders Pakistani troops committed in 1971 when “East Pakistan” broke away from the rest of Pakistan to become Bangladesh. People don’t easily forget stuff like that and Pakistan support for Islamic terrorism in Bangladesh reminds Bangladeshis that their Moslem brothers in Pakistan have not mellowed much since the 1970s. Compared to Pakistan the per-capita incidence of Islamic terrorism is very low, but it is there.
India has seen less aggression by Chinese troops on its northern border but knows that is only temporary. So India is looking for allies to deal with China and has found many of them among the nations bordering the South China Sea. There the new islands built by China have speeded up the creation alliances that have come to include distant and powerful nations like America and India. All this is an effort to assemble military and diplomatic support to oppose an increasingly aggressive China. Much to China’s dismay such an alliance has formed and grown stronger in 2015. Recently Japan and India formed military ties directed at Chinese aggression while Taiwan, Australia, Japan and Indonesia all created new military agreements with each other. The growth of this alliance has encouraged a reluctant United States to become more involved and aggressive in defying Chinese claims. China set out to create an empire in the South China Sea but has also generated a rapidly growing and aggressive anti-Chinese military alliance. As the old warning goes, be careful what you ask for.
December 23, 2015: In southwest Pakistan (Baluchistan) troops clashed with some tribal separatists. Two soldiers and six separatists died. The Baluchistan violence has been going on for decades and the government has never come up with a workable solution to end it.
December 22, 2015: Indian and Pakistani military leaders again met on the Kashmir border to reaffirm efforts to reduce violence on the LOC (Line of Control) in Kashmir. Such incidents still occur despite a 20o3 ceasefire. The current LOC negotiations have kept things pretty quiet on the LOC since a September meeting in which India threatened a major military response to almost daily Pakistani attacks. Apparently convinced (especially by the Indian politicians and media calling for war) this was serious the Pakistanis reduced the border violence although not the efforts to get Islamic terrorists across the LOC and into Kashmir.
December 21, 2015: China agreed to spend $2 billion to build a 650,000 kilowatt power plant in Sindh province. Fuel will be provided by a nearby coal mine which China will expand and upgrade. China will supply most of the financing and many of the technical personnel as well as key items of equipment. China has become the major source of foreign investment, especially for much needed infrastructure.
December 20, 2015: Saudi Arabia has organized an anti-terrorist organization composed of 34 Moslem nations. This includes Bahrain, Bangladesh, Benin, Chad, Comoros, Cote d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Egypt, Gabon, Guinea, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Maldives, Mali, Malaysia, Morocco, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Qatar, the Palestinians, Pakistan, Senegal, Sudan, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, the UAE (United Arab Emirates), and Yemen. Indonesia, largest Moslem nation on the planet, is considering. The nation with the largest number of Moslems, India, was apparently not invited to join. All the current members are largely Sunni. Some nations are not welcome, like Iran, Syria and Iraq. This is because the Sunni Gulf States (led by Saudi Arabia) are at war with Iran, which considers Syria and Iraq allies. Pakistan has not announced exactly what it would do as part of this new coalition but did make it clear it will not take part in any operations against Iran or Syria.
December 15, 2015: Pakistan test fired a Shaheen 1A ballistic missile, apparently successfully. This missile is the latest version of the Shaheen 1 and has a range of 900 kilometers. When this version first appeared in 2012 it was believed that the range was 1,500 kilometers. But 900 kilometers is sufficient to hit most of India.
December 14, 2015: In northeast Pakistan a bomb went off in a market visited largely by local Shia Moslems. This left 23 dead over 30 wounded. This attack, near the Afghan border, was apparently carried out by Sunni Islamic terrorists who consider Shia heretics. About twenty percent of Pakistanis are Shia.