Pakistani violence on the Indian border, mainly the one that separates Indian and Pakistani Kashmir, continues to escalate. Pakistan has been using snipers more often, many of them equipped with night vision sights. Pakistani attacks are up 63 percent over 2017 and 2018 isn’t over yet. From 2016 to 2017 attacks were up 96 percent so one might be able to take some solace from the fact that the rate of annual increase has diminished. Since 2016 about 120 have died on the Indian side of the border with more than five times as many wounded. Most of the casualties are civilians but the increasing use of snipers targets troops. The mortar shells often land deeper inside India and harm civilians who live and work close to the border.
The Chinese border has been much less active, and not very violent at all. India reports that so far this year border violations by Chinese troops are down 20 percent compared to 2017. But that still means there were 137 illegal border incursions by Chinese troops so far in 2018. In September China agreed to establish multiple hotlines along their mutual border and also between the defense ministries of both nations. This revives previous efforts to establish a hotline. In 2016 China and India have worked out and agreed to details of a hotline for commanders on both sides of the LAC (Line of Actual Control). Also known as the MacCartney-MacDonald Line the LAC is the unofficial border between India and China. The LAC is 4,057 kilometers long and is found in the Indian States of Ladakh, Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Himachal, and Arunachal. On the Chinese side, it is mostly Tibet. China claims much territory that is now considered part of India. There have been hundreds of armed confrontations over the last few years as one side or the other accuses “foreign troops” of crossing the LAC. The agreement fell apart when India went ahead, despite Chinese protests, and expanded its military ties with the United States.
The United States is exploring the possibility of working out a peace deal with the Taliban. The major problem with that is getting Pakistan to cooperate. Then there is the larger problem of such a deal turning control of Afghanistan over to drug gangs, Pakistan, Iran and Islamic conservatives (who ban education for women and generally unpopular lifestyle restrictions). The Afghan Taliban are actually a minor decision maker when it comes to peace in Afghanistan. That has always been the case, especially before the Taliban lost control of Afghanistan in 2001. Back then the Taliban provided sanctuary for Islamic terrorists, especially al Qaeda. This was seen as a minor problem by Pakistan but it turned out to be a major problem. The Taliban is still on good terms with al Qaeda, although Pakistan is not. But as long as the Afghan Taliban cooperates in keeping al Qaeda out of Pakistan all is well.
The Afghan Taliban is also seen by the majority of Afghans as the creation of Pakistan and a largely Pushtun organization financed by Pakistan supported drug gangs. The Pushtun are 40 percent of the Afghan population and the largest ethnic group in Afghanistan. The Pushtun dominate the opium and heroin business which is also opposed by most Afghans, if only because it has created so many addicts. The Taliban are also not a unified organization. The Afghan Taliban has sanctuaries in Pakistan which keep their senior leadership safe and are also the site of border crossings where most of the chemicals for refining opium into heroin get into Afghanistan along with the fertilizer and other chemicals used to make bombs.
Despite all that Russia sponsored Afghan peace talks in Russia on November 9th featured a Taliban delegation. Meanwhile, Iranian ally Qatar hosts a Taliban headquarters where the Afghan Taliban can, in effect, meet with anyone to discuss anything. The Russian peace talks attracted delegations from Russia, India, Iran, China, Pakistan and five former Soviet republics in Central Asia as well as non-government groups from Afghanistan and some Americans as observers. Technically the Afghan Taliban cannot be in Russia because Russia recognizes the international designation of the Taliban as a terrorist organization. Nevertheless, the Afghan Taliban insisted they would make peace only if all foreign troops left and there were international guarantees to keep the Americans from returning or aiding Afghans fighting the Taliban. These negotiations are opposed by the Afghan government (which sees the Russians as Taliban supporters) although the Americans have had contact with the Taliban office in Qatar. What the Taliban have always wanted is all foreign troops out of Afghanistan. When making these demands in Russia the Taliban referred to themselves as “the Emirate of Afghanistan” and making it clear where they see all this going.
Once the Taliban have all foreign troops out of the country they will negotiate with the Afghan government, which will probably lead to a resumption of the civil war that was interrupted by the American invasion in late 2001. The Northern Alliance (the 2001 opposition consisting of the other minorities who were a majority of Afghans) would be cut off from any outside support while the Taliban still have Pakistan and, to a lesser extent, Iran. In 2001 the Northern Alliance had some help from Russia, Turkey, Iran and India. The Taliban had Pakistan, al Qaeda and Saudi Arabia. This time around the Taliban has broken into factions. There is the Afghan Taliban, backed by Pakistan, financed by drug gangs and divided over the issue of Pakistani control and dependence on drug money. Worse there is a new (since 2001) branch of the Taliban in Pakistan (where there are twice as many Pushtuns as in Afghanistan). The Pakistani Taliban are not financed by the drug gangs but rather from support among Pushtuns eager to overthrow the Pakistani government and establish an Islamic government. The Pakistani military declared war on the Pakistani Taliban in 2014, killed most of them and drove the survivors into eastern Afghanistan, where they survive as a much smaller organization. Another new group is ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant), which survives in Afghanistan by attracting the most radical members of all Taliban factions as well as al Qaeda.
Pakistan has been sustaining the chaos Afghanistan has endured since the late 1970s (when Russian backed Afghan communists tried to start a revolution). The communists were followed by a Russian invasion, drug gangs, an Islamic revolution, civil war and Pakistan seeking to take control in the 1990s with their Taliban movement. Pakistan did serve as a base for millions of Afghan refugees and thousands of Afghan rebels during the 1980s but that led to Pakistan believing it could continue to support Islamic terrorist violence in Afghanistan if it was deemed to be serving Pakistani interests. Pakistan created and supported Taliban gained control of Afghanistan (or at least most of it) from the late 1990s until 2001. That led to the American invasion and Pakistan continuing to support the drug gangs and Taliban while assisting the U.S. in its “war on terror.” Many Americans want to just leave. The problem is just getting out leaves Afghanistan at the mercy of Pakistan, Iran and Russia, as well as all the drug gangs, Islamic terror groups and numerous Afghans who oppose the drugs and all the outside interference. The drugs and Islamic terrorism will still be major exports. The West can leave Afghanistan but the ills of Afghanistan won’t leave the West and that is just fine with Pakistan.
A growing number of Afghan Taliban leaders want peace and an end to being manipulated by the Pakistanis. That is not the peace deal the Afghan Taliban are offering (a religious dictatorship controlled by the Taliban) The U.S. continues to accuse Pakistan of doing nothing about the Pakistan sanctuary for the Afghan Taliban, the Haqqani Network and several other Islamic terror groups that do the bidding of the Pakistani military.
Communist Threat Contained
Indian security officials recently saw further proof that the Maoist (leftist rebels in eastern India) problem will be largely gone in three years or so. In other words, by the early 2020s. Another indicator that this assessment is accurate occurred recently when the Maoists tried to discourage voting during a major (Chhattisgarh state) election in eastern India. The turnout was larger than usual, which was a clear popular response to the usually effective (in the past) Maoist threats. Maoist leaders see the same trend but are scrambling to find ways to halt the decline. Maoist rebels in eastern India continue to lose ground, personnel and purpose. There are a growing number of senior leaders who are either tired of decades of violence and no progress or because of disagreements over strategy. Maoist leaders have tried to keep these internal crises secret but that proved impossible. There were similar problems all the way down, through middle management to most Maoist fighters who had been at it for a few years.
November 18, 2018: In southwest Pakistan (Baluchistan), a roadside bomb was used against military patrol vehicle outside Quetta (the provincial capital) killing three soldiers and wounding four.
November 17, 2018: The Indian prime minister visited the Maldive Islands just south of India to attend the swearing in of Ibrahim Solih, the newly elected (in September) president of the Maldives. His predecessor was more of a dictator and pro-China fellow who made himself very unpopular with his police state ways and willingness to accept large construction loans from China. Solih was known to be pro-India and pro-West and has requested help from India and the United States to deal with the large Chinese debts his predecessor had incurred. China saw this coming and earlier this year failed to halt the decline in their influence. During the first few months of 2017, China and India were threatening each other over who should do what in the Maldives. This conflict heated up at the end of 2017 when China and the Maldives signed an agreement that allowed China to build and operate a “Joint Ocean Observation Station”. This monitoring station would be built on an atoll that is the closest part of the Maldives to India. Opposition politicians in the Maldives claim China has already taken possession of sixteen small islands and that China has been investing heavily in the Maldives economy and influential politicians.
This agreement was apparently obtained by Chinese bribes and assurances that there would be more Chinese investments. Meanwhile, the Maldives government was in chaos over elected officials and the Supreme Court judges disagreeing about who should actually be in charge. The tiny (248 square kilometers spread over 1,192 coral atolls spread over 90,000 square kilometers of water off the southern coast of India) nation has a mostly Moslem (98 percent) population of 430,000 plus 100,000 foreign workers (a third of them illegals). Most of the population is concentrated on about 15 percent of the islands. The per capita income is about $10,000 and most of it is based on tourism followed by fishing. Many young men have been attracted to Islamic terrorism but there is not much religious violence in the Maldives. While a democracy the religious parties and military have kept the government in turmoil by asserting decidedly non-democratic powers.
Over the last decade, India has become alarmed at growing Chinese investment in neighboring countries (like Sri Lanka, Maldives and Bangladesh). Chinese firms are more experienced and effective at arranging these foreign investments and India’s smaller neighbors feel more comfortable with investment from distant China rather than neighbor (and sometimes big bully) India. The Chinese economic investments often have military implications, like China building satellite ground stations in Sri Lanka, a major port in Pakistan and now an “Ocean Observation Station” in the Maldives.
China had earlier persuaded the Maldives to join its OBOR (One Belt, One Road) project. The Maldives would be part of the “maritime road” going from Chia, through the newly annexed South China Sea and into the Indian Ocean and sea routes to the Persian Gulf the Suez Canal and East Africa and beyond. That was not a wise move because the Maldives government has always been unstable and Islamic radicalism is still an issue there. Islamic terrorists were never able to establish themselves in the Maldives, although they tried. In 2007 three men were sentenced to 15 years in prison for carrying out a terror bombing attack three months earlier that wounded a dozen tourists. The Islamic radicals were intent on destroying the tourist industry, which is the main source of income in the Maldives because they saw it as un-Islamic. Most people on the Maldives did not agree with that, and justice was swift. However, ten Islamic radicals responsible for planning the bombings fled the country the day before the attack and fled to Pakistan.
To emphasize the Indian fears in February and March at least eleven China Navy ships entered the Indian Ocean in the vicinity of the Maldives. This included a large amphibious ship carrying marines. China is expanding its marine force from three to seven brigades and building additional amphibious ships to carry and land the marines a long distance from China. The Chinese marines are not, in a Western sense, a "marine corps" but the Chinese “marines” have come to be considered elite troops and for that reason, Chinese army brigades consider it an honor to be converted to marine units. This first occurred in 1980, with a second conversion in 1998 and the third in 2017. This expansion for the marines as well as the number of amphibious ships indicates that China is preparing to expand and defend overseas territory. This is already underway in the South China Sea and India fears there are islands in the Indian Ocean that may be next. The impact this had in the Maldives was made clear during the September presidential election. For the moment China is unwelcome in the Maldives and isn’t doing much better in Sri Lanka.
November 16, 2018: Iran threatened to send troops across the border to find and destroy Iranian Jaish al Adl Baluchi rebel camps in Pakistan if the Pakistani security forces did not take action. This is an old problem for both countries. There are Baluchi tribes on both sides of the border. The religious dictatorship in Iran is hostile to Sunnis and the Iranian Baluchis do not like that at all. The Iranian Baluchi rebels have become bolder and more successful in their attacks on Iranian security forces. Iran has responded by executing more captured Baluchi rebels and that resulted in even more Baluchi violence. There was a similar situation in 2014 and Pakistan went after the Baluchi rebel camps. But that was only a temporary fix because the ethnic and religious tensions tend to persist.
Bangladesh has cancelled its latest effort to get Burmese Moslem refugees to return home. Bangladesh had planned to send 2,260 Rohingya refugees (485 families) back to Burma starting on November 15th. Burma said they were ready to receive 150 refugees a day and get them resettled. This effort was cancelled at the last moment when it was discovered that voluntary return was most definitely not working. Most of the Rohingya selected for return refused to go and some fled their refugee camp accommodations because of fears they would be forced back into Burma. The UN and most foreign aid organizations also opposed the Bangladesh repatriation plan. Bangladeshi officials later found that none of the 2,260 Rohingya selected wanted to return. The reluctance to return is based on the fact that there was no assurance that they had anything to return to other than the threat of renewed violence. Many of the refugees knew their homes had been destroyed or taken over and no one (Burmese or otherwise) had done anything to reverse that situation. Thus refugees saw returning as going from one refugee camp to another with the added penalty of more personal risk in Burma.
November 15, 2018: Afghanistan returned to Pakistan the body of a Pakistani policeman who had been kidnapped by ISIL in the Pakistani capital and taken to eastern Afghanistan (Nangarhar province). That is where his body was recently found, in a remote area near the Afghan border. There was a note from ISIL claiming responsibility. This caused an uproar in Pakistan because ISIL had kidnapped the policeman in the capital and then secretly transported him to eastern Afghanistan.
November 14, 2018: Pakistan rescued five of the twelve Iranian police kidnapped from Iran last month and believe they will rescue the other seven as well. On October 17th, in southwest Pakistan (Baluchistan) Iranian Jaish al Adl Baluchi rebels from Pakistan (where these rebels often establish bases) crossed the border into Iran and kidnapped twelve Iranian police manning a border post. Apparently, those at the border post were unconscious after eating a meal containing drugged food. Jaish al Adl took credit for the operation and said it was in retaliation for Iranian attacks on Iranian Baluchis (who are Sunni Moslems). There was also the recent (late September) border clash in which a Jaish al Adl leader was killed. Iran demanded that Pakistan quickly retrieve the missing Iranian border guards as they are believed to be in a Jaish al Adl facility in Pakistan. Jaish al Adl has been around since 2012 and is the successor to Jundallah and perpetuates Iranian Sunni Baluchi resistance to Iranian Shia rule. The Iranian and Pakistani Baluchis have family, tribal and ideological links and that makes it easier for an Iranian Baluchi Islamic terror group to establish and sustain bases in Pakistan. This is a constant source of friction between Iran and Pakistan because the Iranians could shut down groups like Jaish al Adl were it not for the Pakistani sanctuaries. Pakistan is unable to suppress its own Baluchi Islamic terrorist and separatist groups. In response to this kidnapping Iran moved several thousand more troops to the 900 kilometer long Pakistan border.
November 13, 2018: In northwest Pakistan (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), a large group of Islamic terrorists crossed the Afghan border into Nuristan Province where they encountered Afghan troops. Most of the armed Pakistanis fled back into Pakistan but eleven were killed and left behind, making it easy for the Afghans to determine what the Pakistanis were doing there (planting landmines).
November 12, 2018: Pakistan released two more imprisoned Afghan Taliban leaders, for a total of four in the last month. Was done to encourage the Afghan Taliban to attend peace talks. Pakistan has done this before and these releases have never helped.
In northwest Pakistan (North Waziristan), gunmen (Islamic terrorists or angry tribesmen) fired on a military convoy, killing three soldiers and wounding another. The attackers then fled.
November 11, 2018: In southwest Pakistan (Baluchistan), seven Pakistanis in a pickup truck were caught by Iranian border guards as the vehicle sought to sneak into Iran. When the vehicle refused to stop the Iranians opened fire, killing two of the Pakistanis and wounding four others. The vehicle stopped.
November 7, 2018: The U.S. confirmed that the renewed American sanctions on Iran will not interfere with the new trade route from Afghanistan, via Iran to the Indian Ocean port of Chabahar. The Americans make exceptions for these sanctions and in this case, Pakistan is seen as a larger threat to Afghanistan than Iran. Most of the truck traffic that used to go through Pakistan to the port of Karachi is now using the new route via Iran to Chabahar (built by India and Iran mainly for traffic to Afghanistan and Central Asia). At least $5 billion worth of trade to and from Afghanistan will use Chabahar each year. Pakistan is the big loser here, especially since they had recently increased higher traffic on Afghan goods moving through Karachi. In addition, since mid-January Pakistan has closed the main border crossings to Afghan traffic entering Pakistan. Yet Pakistani goods are allowed into Afghanistan and now the Afghans are considering blocking that and depending on trade links via Iran and Central Asia. This is an undeclared trade war by Pakistan. The main reason is growing trade with India and switching from Karachi to Chabahar for Afghan imports and exports. The United States, India, Afghanistan and the UN are increasing pressure on Pakistan over Pakistani support for terrorism.
November 6, 2018: In northwestern Bangladesh, police caught up with the much sought after leader (Khorshed Alam) of Islamic terrorist group JMB (Jamaat ul Mujahideen Bangladesh). The police were acting on a tip and other JMB members there with Alam got away. It appears Alam was wounded in the initial exchange of fire and stayed behind to delay the police so the others could get away. Two police were wounded as well. Most of the current Islamic terrorist violence in Bangladesh can be traced back to JMB, which has been around since 1998 and wants to turn Bangladesh into a religious dictatorship. To that end, JMB did establish an alliance with ISIL and is now considered a local ISIL affiliate.
November 5, 2018: India reported that its first, and only SSBN (ballistic missile carrying sub) had successfully completed its first patrol while armed with functional SLBMs (Sea Launched Ballistic Missiles.) It wasn’t much of a patrol since it was only in mid-August that the 5,000 ton SSBN INS Arihant conducted the first test launches for three K-15 SLBMs. These are short range (700 kilometer) single stage missiles. Arihant can carry 12 of them, or four of the larger (two-stage) K-4 SLBMs that have a range of 3,500 kilometers and were test fired successfully from Arihant in 2016. With the successful firing of the K-15s the Arihant will finally complete its sea trials and was expected to enter service before the end of 2018. That apparently took place quietly as Arihant went to sea for about a month, carrying some functional SLBMs. These SLBM patrols are normally longer. America, Russia, France and Britain send their SSBNs out for 3-6 months. China has had SSBNs for over a decade but as not, as far as anyone can tell, actually sent them out on patrol with working SLBMs. India has big plans for its nuclear sub force In 2015 India announced ambitious plans to build six nuclear attack submarines (SSNs) but admits development and building will probably take at least fifteen years. In 2009 India launched Arihant, after eleven years of planning and construction. By 2015 Arihant was undergoing sea trials and was supposed to enter service before the end of 2015. That was delayed and a major accident in 2017 put Arihant back in the shipyard for repairs. The apparent success of Arihant led to the SSN program, which received some development money but is otherwise stalled. One locally made nuclear sub doesn't change the balance of naval power much for India, which is already dominant in the region but it does show that India can build nuclear subs and six SSNs will make a difference. A shortage of cash and competent procurement personnel has put those plans on hold. Recently India made a deal with Russia to obtain technical assistance in designing and building more nuclear subs.
In northwest Pakistan, just across the Afghan border in Nangarhar province Afghan and Pakistani Taliban fought over territorial control and money disputes. There were about a dozen casualties before leaders from both sides arranged a ceasefire.
November 2, 2018: In northern Pakistan (Rawalpindi a military town next to the national capital), an assassin used a knife to kill Maulana Sami ul Haq a cleric who ran a religious school that trained many of the original Afghan Taliban in the 1980s and 90s. It is unclear who carried out the operation but the ISI (military intelligence) is a suspect because Rawalpindi is the headquarters of the military and the ISI can do pretty much whatever they want there. Many Pakistan backed Islamic terrorist leaders live here because it is a safe place, especially if American UAVs are looking for you.
November 1, 2018: China has agreed to provide the $6 billion loan to Pakistan to help avert an economic crisis there. Poor Pakistani fiscal policy made it difficult for Pakistan to obtain a bailout from the IMF (International Monetary Fund) and China was the only alternative. Even so, China had conditions attached and Pakistan still needs another $7 billion which only the IMF is willing to provide and only if Pakistan does something about the corruption and deficit spending that is causing the cash shortage. The IMF also wants Pakistan to sell (privatize) the money-losing national steel company and the national airline. Both are politically important because they provide lots of jobs for government supporters and are a source of cash for corrupt deals. Another corrupt practice is tolerating the wealthiest people to avoid paying taxes. This is especially true for military leaders who receive a lot of tainted (from corrupt deals) money. The military spending will increase because the Americans have halted all military aid. The IMF also notes that some of the major loan deals with China have terms that were never made public and even the IMF is unable to find out what is going on there.
While Pakistan may seem like a lot of trouble for China it is a useful client state. The other major client state of China, North Korea, is much more difficult to work with. Pakistan and North Korea have many of the same problems; corruption, obsessive aggression against a more powerful neighbor (India) and a military-dominated government. Pakistan has shown itself as much more capable of taking advice and not causing China a lot of international problems. Even so, for China, Pakistan is still a work-in-progress and there is still a lot of work to be done.
October 31, 2018: The Pakistani Supreme Court acquitted Asia Bibi, a Pakistani Christian woman of blasphemy. She was accused in 2009, sentenced to death in 2010 and been appealing ever since. The woman is trying to find a country that would give her and her family asylum because it is common for those accused of blasphemy to be murdered by Islamic radicals. Britain turned down the asylum request because of fears British Moslems would become violent over the issue. Pakistan still has severe blasphemy laws that are mostly used by Moslems against innocent Christians or other non-Moslems. Efforts to repeal these laws, or at least limit their misuse, are violently resisted by Islamic political parties. The Pakistani blasphemy laws are usually only used by Moslems against non-Moslems and when they are used against Moslems it is usually for revenge or political reasons. The laws are unpopular with the majority of Pakistanis. But the minority who do support the laws, are willing to use lethal force to keep the laws on the books. These blasphemy laws were enacted in the 1970s at the behest of the military. The opposition to repealing these laws is violent and fearless. In 2011 the Punjab province governor Salman Taseer was shot dead by one of his own bodyguards because Taseer had openly opposed the blasphemy laws and especially their use against Asia Bibi. While no one had ever been executed because of these laws, many are accused and jailed each year, and often condemned to death (and later reprieved). But over 30 of those accused have been murdered by Islamic fanatics, who are a large, and violent, minority of the population. The Islamic radical political parties called on followers to kill Asia Bibi (who remains jailed for her own safety) and anyone who supports her (including the Supreme Court judges). The army ordered mass media to ignore all the street violence and report that there was no reaction of the court ruling. Internet media told another story with dozens of photos and videos showing the escalating violence and death tool. Prime Minister Kahn went along with the army decision to try and make this a media non-event. The protesters were told by the government that Asia Bibi would not be allowed to leave the country until another legal move was made to get the Supreme Court decision reversed. Kahn then left on a trip to China as if nothing was happening in Pakistan.
In southwest Pakistan, local rebels killed five Chinese who were building a housing complex for more Chinese workers. A week later a local Baluchi separatist group took credit for the killing. Pakistan said it would catch the killers. Last August Pakistan also agreed to build a walled and restricted residential area near the port of Gwadar to house half a million Chinese working in Pakistan. The Chinese construction work on the new Pakistani Gwadar port facilities are visible to anyone on the ground or flying by and in 2017 it was noticed that some features of the new port and airport facilities are clearly intended for military use. India has long accused China (despite denials) was planning to use Gwadar as a base for Chinese warships and naval aircraft. Pakistan never had a problem with Chinese military using Gwadar as it helps keep local troublemakers out. Pakistan has assured China that there would be no terrorist violence against Chinese working on upgrading the port of Gwadar and land links north to China. Pakistan is willing to pay a high price to get CPEC (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor) done because it means Pakistan has an ally against Iran and even Western powers that might have some violent disagreement with Pakistan. Best of all China is picking up most of the $55 billion cost. In early 2017 China and Pakistan finally signed the agreement that granted China a 40 year lease on new facilities China is building in the southwestern port of Gwadar. The lease grants China most (over 80 percent) of the revenue brought in by port and free trade zone operations. China usually imports its own workers from China to do most of the work on projects like this. By 2022 China expects to have about half a million Chinese in Pakistan, some of them with their families. The easiest way to provide protection is to have most of them live in a heavily guarded and restricted access area.
Gwadar is a key part of CPEC and it has the misfortune of being in a province (Baluchistan) that does not want to be part of Pakistan. China and the Pakistanis try to ignore this by not reporting on non-Islamic terror attacks on CPEC construction projects. The government has long been accused of suppressing news of tribal separatists in Baluchistan attacking government targets and especially those related to CPEC. The separatists claim they regularly carry out attacks on CPEC construction projects, but most of their attacks are still directed at Pakistani security forces and government facilities.
October 26, 2018: India and Burma have agreed to cooperate in dealing with rebel groups operating in either side of the borders as well as growing problems with smugglers (especially those moving rare animals, drugs and gold). The two nations are also going to refurbish their border markers.
October 23, 2018: In northwest Pakistan (North Waziristan), three employees of a Pakistan oil and gas firm and their armed escort, were kidnapped near the Afghan border and later found shot to death. This often happens when kidnappers believe they cannot make their getaway with their captives and kill them so the kidnappers can escape.