India-Pakistan: October 22, 2004

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  Pakistan reports that seven months of army operations along the Afghan border, have resulted in 246 rebels killed (including 100 foreigners), as well as  171 soldiers. Some 500 tribesmen and foreigners have been arrested and held for questioning, or for committing crimes. It is widely believed that Osama bin Laden is hiding in, or near, this region of South Waziristan, or close by. For the first time in its history, the government has sent troops into these tribal territories. Normally, this should have triggered a civil war. But the government has been negotiating as much as it has been fighting, and using bribes and promises of infrastructure improvements (especially road and dam building) to cajole cooperation from the tribal chiefs. The tribes are not protecting bin Laden, they are guarding their tribal rights and territory. The army believes that it's only a matter of time, perhaps months, before they either have bin Laden, or drive him out of the country, into either Afghanistan or Iran.

 

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