India-Pakistan: Anonymous Terrorism Threatens Peace

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July 12, 2006: No one has taken credit for the Mumbai attacks, which is why the culprits are believed to be Islamic terrorists operating in Kashmir and northern Pakistan. These Islamic militants are trying to drive non-Moslems out of Kashmir, and establish an Islamic government. This is popular in Pakistan, because most Pakistanis believe Kashmir should be part of Pakistan, not India. Kashmir was one of the disputed areas, when India and Pakistan were formed, in 1947, from British controlled territories that included present day India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Burma. The issue of who should control Kashmir has never been resolved. In the last two decades, Islamic radicals have made control a religious, as well as nationalistic, issue. But terrorist attacks deeper inside India cause many Indians to call for an invasion of Pakistan to root out the terrorists. To avoid that, the government of Pakistan, and many of the Islamic terrorist groups operating in Kashmir, openly condemned the Mumbai attacks. If the Indians come up with compelling evidence that the bombers were Islamic terrorists, from groups operating in northern Pakistan, the Pakistani government will be under tremendous pressure to go after those camps, and risk more civil disorder, and civil war, in those tribal areas. At the same time, the terrorist attacks could lead to more violence between Hindus and Moslems in India. There are actually more Moslems in India than in Pakistan, but Moslems are a minority in India, and Hindu nationalists are quick to stir up anti-Moslem riots and massacres, at the least provocation.
July 11, 2006: India was hit with about a dozen terrorist bombings. Five were in Kashmir, seven in Mumbai (Bombay). The attacks in Kashmir appear to be directed at the tourist industry, which has been slowly making a comeback in the region. The Kashmir attacks left eight dead and nearly 40 wounded. The Mumbai bombs went off in trains during rush hour, killing some 140 people and wounding over 300.
July 10, 2006: In Pakistan's southwest, an army offensive against rebellious Baluchi tribes led to the destruction of seven camps, the deaths of some two dozen tribesmen and the surrender of nearly fifty. The army used helicopters and ground troops.
In eastern India's Chhattisgarh state, Maoists violence left a policeman and local politician dead. The Maoists have basically declared war on the government, which has responded with more troops and police.
July 9, 2006: In Pakistan, president Musharraf again criticized Islamic radicalism for many of the country's problems. The Islamic radicals foster terrorism, block economic progress and encourage separatism. But the Islamic radicals are also entrenched in tribal areas in the north, where they combine religion and tribal unity to resist economic and social progress. Such proclamations, plus over a hundred thousand troops deployed in the tribal areas, have not done a lot to reduce the power of the Islamic radicals.

 

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