India-Pakistan: June 16, 2002


Two fuel trucks, delivering gasoline from Pakistan to Kandahar in Afghanistan, were rocked by bombs attached to their undercarriages. The bombs were too weak to penetrate the fuel tanks and not much damage was done. The trucks were stopped at a gas station outside Kandahar. Some say this was the work of Taliban or al Qaeda in Pakistan. But there is also a fierce, and often violent, competition among gangs for control of truck traffic between Pakistan and Afghanistan. With the Taliban gone and traffic way up, the truck gangs have been fighting each other more than usual.  The gangs don't want to stop the traffic, and they don't want to get into a fight with American troops, they just want a monopoly on truck traffic so they can jack the rates up. Foreign aid organizations have already noted frequent increases in trucking rates since the Taliban fell from power.

India has allowed about 25 percent of the soldiers massed on the Pakistan border to go on leave. This leaves the combat units there much less capable of combat. This is also a gesture towards Pakistan that could lead to both nations pulling their armies away from the border. But there are still frequent incidents of soldiers on both sides of the border firing at each other with rifles and machine-guns.

In Kashmir, rebels killed five Hindu civilians and wounded three others. Three security personnel (VDC) were killed, as well as four rebels and 13 other civilians. India has armed some 25,000 VDC (Village Defense Committee) militia with World War II weapons (.303 caliber bolt action rifles.) 

On the Bangladesh border, Indian borders got into a gun battle with two Bangladeshi nationals they caught cutting the wire border fence. The Indians have been on alert to the danger of Islamic radicals trying to enter from Bangladesh. Six other Bangladeshis were arrested as they tried to enter India. It is not known if any of these eight men were Islamic radicals, although the two with guns are suspicious.

So far, the shelling on the Line of Control has killed 32 Indians and at least a 100 Pakistanis. The Indians have more (and higher quality) ammunition. Both sides has artillery spotting radar and computerized fire control, but the Indian equipment is more modern and available in larger quantities. 


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