India-Pakistan: Terrorists? What Terrorists?

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March 6, 2006: While Islamic violence is still the biggest killer, the communist Maoist rebel groups of northern and eastern India are catching up. In 2004, Maoist violence led to 653 people (100 police and 466 civilians, of whom 87 were Maoists.) This rose to 892 last year (153 police, 516 civilians, including 223 Maoists). While deaths were up 37 percent, actual violent incidents only rose four percent, to 1,594. The Maoists use violence to terrorize civilians to support them, or to extort money from businesses. The government believes that there are 9-10 thousand armed Maoists operating in the country.

In Bangladesh, police arrested Sidiqul Islam, the second in command of Jamaatul Mujahidden Bangladesh (JMB). The leader of that group was captured last week. The JMB has been responsible for most of the Islamic violence in Bangladesh over the last year. In response, nearly a thousand RMB members have been captured or killed.

Pakistani president Musharraf has criticized Afghanistan for not correctly interpreting military intelligence available to them. This is Pakistan's way of saying they will not do anything dramatic to shut down Taliban and al Qaeda camps along the Afghan border. Pakistan insists that the Taliban terrorists are hiding out in Afghanistan.

March 5, 2006: Pakistan halted attacks on terrorist camps in Waziristan, along the Afghan border. These operations killed up to fifty, most of them hostile gunmen, and wounding about as many. Half a dozen police and soldiers were killed. Nearly a thousand civilians fled the towns to avoid the fighting.

March 4, 2006: Over a hundred thousand Pakistanis came out to demonstrate all over the country to protest the visit of U.S. president George Bush (as well as the Danish cartoons, and several other issues). But the visit was a big deal for most Pakistanis, because of the military and economic aid coming from the U.S. Pakistani president Musharraf had earlier ordered an air strike on one of the known terrorist training camps along the Afghan border. But this was a one-time event, as the Pakistanis do not want endless war with the Pushtun tribes in the northwest. There are also problems with rebellious Baluchi tribes in the southwest. These tribes comprise less than ten percent of Pakistan's population, but cause problems far out of proportion to their numbers.

March 3, 2006: In response to the attacks on the al Qaeda camp, tribesmen and al Qaeda gunmen attacked government forces in the nearby towns of Miran Shah and Mir Ali. More Pakistani troops and police were sent to deal with this.

March 2, 2006: In Karachi, Pakistan, a suicide car bomb hit the American consulate, killing a U.S. diplomat and three others.

March 1, 2006: Pakistani warplanes and helicopters attacked an al Qaeda/Taliban training camp in the village of Saidgi, in Waziristan, along the Afghan border.

 

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