The U.S. CIA believes that al Qaeda and the Taliban has established base
areas in Pakistani tribal areas along the Afghan border over the last year or
so. The Pakistani government has been unable to assert police or military
control over many border areas. The army is not willing to take the losses, and
the paramilitary forces that regularly police the border areas, are reluctant
to fight guys who are often from the same tribe or family. The recent elections
in Pakistan have brought a new government into power (although Pervez Musharraf
remains president, an office subject to a separate election). It appears that
the new government will be no more aggressive against the pro-Taliban tribesmen
than was Musharraf. For over half a century, Pakistan had an "arrangement" with
the border tribes. As long as the tribes caused no problems outside the tribal
areas, the government would leave the tribes alone. But many Islamic extremists
want to turn Pakistan into a religious dictatorship. Many in the Pakistani
government are willing to make a deal whereby the Islamic extremists would be
left alone, as long as Pakistan was spared further terrorist attacks.
India, police raided a Maoist camp, and killed at least eight Maoists, and
caused 30 or more to flee. Many weapons and much ammo was captured, along with
2008: In northwest Pakistan, fighting between Sunni and Shia extremists left
over twenty dead, and even more wounded. This violence has been going on for
over half a century.
2008: Near the Afghan border, tribesmen seized a bus, and its 40 Afghan
passengers, in an attempt to get Afghanistan to release three members of the
Pakistani Pushtun tribe who were recently arrested in Afghanistan.
2008: Over a dozen trucks carrying fuel
to Afghanistan, were destroyed by bombs. This traffic has been under attack for
years, but of late, more trucks have been lost. The trucking companies make
payoffs to be free of attack, but more of the attackers are Islamic terrorists,
not gangsters running a protection racket. While the fuel trucks are described
as "supplying U.S. forces in Afghanistan," all fuel going to Afghanistan, comes
by truck. Even the Taliban are dependent on this traffic.
2008: While Islamic terrorist violence is down in Indian Kashmir, the
terrorists are still getting support from Pakistan. What is uncertain is to
what degree the ISI (Pakistani intelligence agency) is still running Islamic
radical support operations. The Pakistanis say no, but Indians still capture
terrorists who indicate there is still government support for the terrorists in
Pakistan. India is facing increased Islamic terrorism in other parts of the
country, but it is unclear to what extent the ISI is responsible for this.