India-Pakistan: Tribal Tribulations


November19, 2006: For the second time this month, a cleric in the Pakistani tribal areas was killed, after being accused of "spying for the Americans." The body of Maulana Mohammad Hashim, an Afghan cleric, was found on a road in North Waziristan today. These killings are believed related to tribal and clerical politics, more than with U.S. espionage efforts (which are real enough, but probably involve more low profile people.) What is often missed by outsiders is a civil war among the Pushtun tribes on both sides of the border. This war involves many factions. The most obvious, and violent, faction are the Islamic radicals, who want to establish an Islamic government for the tribal areas, and beyond. Opposing them are traditionalists, represented by the families that have long held power, and the tribal elders and chiefs holding that power. Then there are the tribal reformers, who want democracy, either within the tribe, or as part of Pakistan. There are several other factions, all pulling for modernization and joining the modern world. This conflict is rather messy and complicated, so it doesn't get reported much. But if the reporting that does get out, doesn't seem to make much sense either, the "civil war" is the reason why.

November 18, 2006: In northeast India, a confrontation between police and tribesmen led to the deaths of three police and four civilians.

November 16, 2006: In the last few days, police operations in Kashmir have resulted in several gun battles, as Islamic terrorists were found, but refused to surrender. At least ten of the terrorists have been killed.

November 15, 2006: Pakistan and Afghanistan continue to trade accusations over which country is providing the most bases for terrorist groups. Afghan police recently arrested two Pakistani men, who were traveling towards the Afghan carrying terrorist bombs. It was assumed that the bombs were built somewhere in Afghanistan, and were being taken to Pakistan for a terror attack. The arrested men have not been cooperative.

November 14, 2006: Pakistan revealed that the October 30 attack on a religious school near the Afghan border, was undertaken because the place was training suicide bombers, and many of them were due to leave the next day for attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan.




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