India-Pakistan: Religious and Tribal Loyalties Feed Mass Violence

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February 21, 2006: India is pulling more CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force) personnel out of Kashmir and sending them to eastern India, where there are growing problems with Maoist rebels. There are currently 64,000 CRPF in Kashmir, and 28,000 in the areas under attack by the Maoists. Meanwhile, Pakistan has arrested hundreds of Islamic radicals, in its efforts to stop riots by Islamic radicals over a number of issues. About 20-30 percent of Pakistanis support the Islamic radicals, and many of these can be gotten to join riots if the issue is presented the right way.

February 20, 2006: Pakistan and China signed 13 agreements binding the two nations together even more closely than in the past. Meanwhile, in the southeast Pakistan city of Sakkur, police arrested over twenty people for leading riots that damaged two Christian churches. The riots were in response to Islamic radicals distributing Danish religious cartoons. Sakkur is home to about 11,000 Christians, who are frequent targets of Islamic radicals.

February 19, 2006: In southwest Pakistan, rebellious tribesmen blew up six natural gas pipelines in the last several days. Vehicles also hit several landmines laid by the Baluchi tribesmen. In the southwest, the government banned further demonstrations over Danish religious cartoons. Over a dozen people have been killed in nearly a week of such demonstrations.

February 18, 2006: In Pakistan, television showed three men, in the tribal areas on the Afghan border, being beheaded for opposing Taliban and al Qaeda operations there. This was meant to send a message. Meanwhile, in the same region, two army trucks were damaged by landmines, wounding six soldiers.

February 17, 2006: On the Afghan border, Taliban fired on Afghan troops from the Pakistani side of the border. There ensued a battle across the border. The Taliban gunmen got away before Pakistani troops could arrive to make arrests. Meanwhile, in southwest Pakistan, Islamic radicals continue rioting and fighting each other. Some of this is based on the Danish cartoons, but most of it is just the usual religious animosity and anger at government corruption.

February 16, 2006: Pakistan has sent some 25,000 troops (including six infantry brigades) to the southwest, to fight Baluchi tribesmen.

February 15, 2006: In southwest Pakistan, three Chinese engineers were killed by tribesmen. Police later made 55 arrests, and seized large quantities of weapons and ammunition. China is paying for a number of major building projects in the southwest, including a major port expansion at Gwadar. The Baluchi tribes want to get paid for allowing this, but the government won't play along.

 

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