India-Pakistan: Tribes Trip Over Landmine Use

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March 28, 2006: In northeast Pakistan, the armed followers of rival religious leaders fought each other, leaving at least two dozen dead. Religious leaders often double as warlords in this part of the world. In this case, it was a Pakistani religious leader who urged his followers to go after Afghan refugees (who had been there for years) who followed an Afghan cleric. Both clerics have used radio stations to preach, and denounce their rivals.

Indian Maoists have apologized for land mines that killed or wounded civilians. The increasing use of anti-vehicle mines is turning public opinion against the Maoists. But the mines are important weapons for the Maoists, as it cripples a key government advantage; mobility along the road system.

March 27, 2006: The rebellious Pakistani tribes (Pushtun in the northeast and Baluchi in the southwest) are increasingly using anti-vehicle mines, and hitting civilian vehicles. This is proving counterproductive, as the vehicles hit are too often innocent civilians, not military or police. Today, for example, a bus full of school children was hit. No one was killed, but half a dozen kids were injured. Bad for the image, which is increasingly a factor since everyone has access to some kind of electronic media.

March 26, 2006: In the last few days, Pakistani police and troops have arrested 57 Baluchi tribesmen in the southwest. In the last three months, over 250 people have been killed by tribal violence in Baluchistan, and these arrests are meant to take down some of the key tribal terrorists.

 

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