India-Pakistan: Fight To The Death With The Tribes

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April 28, 2006: In southern India. Maoist rebels clashed with police, resulting in nine dead rebels. The police have been searching for Maoist camps and arms caches in the area, and have found many of both.

April 27, 2006: In Indian Kashmir, an Islamic terrorist threw a grenade at a police patrol, but missed and wounded 17 civilians, including seven tourists. The decline of terrorism in Kashmir has seen an increase in tourism, mostly from India. While Pakistan has shut down some Islamic terrorist training camps across the border from Indian Kashmir, many camps are still operating. But the border security, on both sides, is much better. Far fewer Islamic terrorists are getting into India, and Indian police are steadily eroding the Islamic terrorist force in Kashmir.

April 25, 2006: Pakistani forces engaged against Baluchi insurgents in the southwestern part of the country have been conducting operations that at times involve brigade-sized units, with artillery and attack helicopters in support. While military operations in Waziristan and Baluchistan are apparently going well, several senior Pakistani military commanders are pressing for an increase in non-military approaches to resolving some of the problems in both regions. Claiming that the Taliban has been effectively defeated in Pakistan, these commanders see a need to develop political, economic, and other solutions to local problems, including opposition to increased control by the central government. Otherwise, they argue, military solutions will ultimately result in military problems.

So far this year, fighting in Baluchistan has left 158 dead, and 147 wounded. A third of these were civilians, 21 percent security forces and about half rebellious tribesmen. Most of the violence has been caused by tribesmen operating under the banner of the Baluchistan Liberation Army (BLA). The tribes want a larger share of the oil and gas revenues generated from wells in Baluchistan. The tribes also want less interference from the government. But Pakistan would never allow that. Like the Kurds, the Baluchi tribes have never been able to establish an independent state partly because the Baluchi tribes don't get along with each other very well. This part of the world is one of those areas where tribalism is alive and well, and a cause of much poverty and suffering.

To the north of Baluchistan, in the Pushtun area along the Afghan border, the Waziristan region has seen the Taliban in open rebellion against the government. In the last year, some 150 pro-government tribal leaders and elders have been killed by the Taliban. Increased activity by army and police in Waziristan has been an attempt to halt the terrorism. No central government has ever controlled these tribal territories, but Pakistan has been tempted, for generations, to finally break the back of tribal rule in this area. The war on terror provided an excuse to finally do it, or at least try to. What may give Pakistan the incentive to persevere, is the fact that the Taliban back al Qaeda, which has declared war on the Pakistani government.

 

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