India-Pakistan: September 8, 2002


In Kashmir, artillery, machine-gun and mortar fire across the Line of Control increased considerably. For the last few weeks, such fire has been sporadic. Today it became intense, with hundreds of shells fired in within a few hours.  Two Indians were killed. Both sides blamed the other for starting the escalation.

In northwest Pakistan, a thousand armed tribesmen blocked roads to protest army efforts to arrest al Qaeda suspects. The army would not back down and the tribes agreed not to use force to protect "foreign guests" (al Qaeda suspects). On September 5th, some 60 armed tribesmen forced police to give up four al Qaeda suspects seized at a roadblock in the northwest. Some 6,000 Pakistani troops, and an undisclosed number of Americans, are searching the area for al Qaeda. In some cases, the Pakistanis have used mortars and artillery to shell fortified villages that refused to let the troops enter. The area contains many tribesmen who still back the Taliban and al Qaeda. 


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