2008: While the Pakistanis consider al
Qaeda, and its bombing campaign, as a threat, the Taliban are seen as more of
an opportunity. After all, if the Taliban keep their conservative religious
ways in the hills, it reduces tribal wars and fighting, As for the Taliban
crossing into Afghanistan, that is also a good thing. The Afghan government is
getting too cozy with India, and Pakistani "support" for the Taliban gives the
Afghans something to think about. But the Afghans don't trust the Pakistanis,
and don't like them much either. For Pakistan, this is all a geo-political game,
for the Afghans it's a matter of life and death.
2008: In Pakistan's major city, Karachi,
six bombs were set off by Islamic terrorists, killing one person and wounding 36.
Not much of an effort, for the Islamic radicals promised a lot more carnage on
the first anniversary of the police assault on the radical controlled Red
Mosque in the capital. Al Qaeda has a hard time getting any traction outside
the tribal areas along the border. That's because al Qaeda is considered a
bunch of murderous foreigners (pretty accurate, actually) and even the many
native Pakistani Islamic radical groups won't deal with these outlanders.
2008: In Pakistan's capital, an Islamic
suicide bomber killed himself, three civilians and 17 policemen. Over 40 were
wounded. This was to commemorate the police storming of the Red Mosque a year
ago, an operation that shut down a major Islamic radical organization in the
city. In addition, there were generally peaceful demonstrations by Islamic
2008: Indian Maoists are getting better
organized, and state governments are making more determined efforts to destroy
these leftist rebels. Moreover, the Indian Communist Party has left its
alliance with the ruling Congress Party. While the Indian Communist Party
officially denounces the Maoists, it also uses its political power to prevent
the government from crushing the Maoists. That's less likely now, although the
main reason for the survival of the Maoists are the persistent social and
economic inequities in the countryside.
2008: The Taliban retreated in the face
of the army advance near the Afghan border. The Taliban had come out of the
hills, harassed people in urban areas, and run away when the soldiers showed
up. But the Taliban continue to torment the country folk with new, religiously correct,
lifestyle rules. The army shows no intention of going into the hills after the
Taliban. Thus the centuries old stand-off continues.
2008: The Taliban freed 57 paramilitary
troops they had captured when they invaded urban areas along the
Afghan-Pakistani border. The paramilitaries are often allies of the Taliban (or
at least belonging to the same tribe or clan) and these "kidnappings" are often
a ploy for the paramilitaries to avoid fighting their kinsmen. The captives are
rarely injured, and usually freed after a short time.
2008: The U.S. has put financial
restrictions on two new Pakistani religious charities, which American investigators
assert are simply older ones that were banned because they raised money for