India-Pakistan: August 26, 2002


In Kashmir, rebels attacked the family of a policeman, killing four civilians. 

Having lost four wars with India, Pakistan shifted to irregular warfare over 20 years ago. Pakistan never admitted this, but the evidence has built up over the years. ISI (Interservice Intelligence, sort of a military CIA) organized and supervised this effort. The US got to know ISI during the Russian occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s. ISI organized the Afghan irregular fighters in northwest Pakistan and got along just fine with the CIA. But ISI already had networks of agents in India, where they inspired and supported several separatist groups (India contains dozens of ethnic groups that would rather not be part of India.) Except for radical Sikhs, and a few other lesser efforts, none of this came to much. The exception was Kashmir, where the local Moslems were eager, but vastly outnumbered by police and soldiers. So ISI took to training non-Kashmiris in camps in Pakistan Kashmir for irregular warfare and terrorism in Indian Kashmir. India considers this over the line (India also has it's agents in Pakistan, but nothing as ambitious as the ISI efforts in Kashmir.) ISI has used Islamic fundamentalism (just as the Islamic militants use ISI) and this is where the al Qaeda connections come in. ISI keeps its head down and denies everything, but cannot hide it's tracks. No Pakistani politician can come down hard on ISI without risking a popular backlash. Or maybe not. But no one has had the nerve to try it yet.

The Afghan government has said that most major Taliban and al Qaeda leaders still at large are probably hiding across the border in Pakistan. No one knows for sure, but U.S. Special Forces and CIA personnel continue to work with Pakistani police and soldiers to gather information about who is doing what in the "tribal areas" of northwest Pakistan.


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