2008: Pakistan has moved two brigades to
the Line of Control (which divides Pakistani and Indian portions of Kashmir).
No reason given, although the Pakistanis may want to help keep the Islamic
terrorists from crossing into India. That would be nice.
Pakistanis continue military operations against the Taliban along the Afghan
border, but things have slowed down because of the Winter weather. Pro-Taliban tribal
gangs continue to threaten U.S./NATO truck routes into Afghanistan. This is
seen more as an extortion scam, than an attempt to cut NATO supplies lines. The
groups attacking the truck traffic are asking for more money to stop the
attacks. Doesn't sound like, as some pundits have speculated, that the attacks
are retaliation for the many successful missile attacks on terrorist leaders
government continues its crackdown on illegal banking. These operations are
used to finance terrorist groups, but in this case, the Pakistanis are more
interested in the illegal movement of billions of dollars out of the country.
This occurred as the Pakistani economy got hit with the effects (smaller export
orders) of the current world-wide recession. The illegal movement of such large
amounts of foreign currency makes it more difficult for the government to
finance imports, and get foreign aid. On the other hand, the wealthy families
that own the exported billions are getting a higher rate of return overseas,
and avoid the risk of any of their money being seized (for unpaid taxes or
criminal activity.) The endemic corruption in Pakistan makes it difficult to
run a business, or an economy, efficiently.
sent counter-terror officials to Saudi Arabia and Sri Lanka, to see if successful counter-terror methods used there
could be useful against the Taliban and al Qaeda in Pakistan. There may be some
useful techniques that can be borrowed, but Pakistans situation is quite
different from that in Saudi Arabia or Sri Lanka. Pakistan, for example, has a
weaker and more divided government, and is faced with a much larger and
aggressive terrorist threat. Despite the Mumbai attacks and the Islamic
terrorism along the Afghan border (and occasional attacks in non-tribal areas) the
government refuses to shut down all the "charities" and other
organizations that belong to the terrorist groups. The Pakistanis get away with
this because most of them believe that their nuclear arsenal stops India from
attacking, or doing anything, to coerce a real crackdown on the Pakistani
2008: In the Pakistani city of Islamabad
(the capital), police raided a terrorist bomb factory and seized over half a
ton of explosives, 520 detonators and other bomb making materials. The three men
who operated the bomb factory escaped the police, but their identities are
known. The bomb factory location was discovered by high-level intelligence
units, and passed on to the police. There are suspicions that this was an ISI
operation, and that the pro-terrorist operatives at ISI warned the three
terrorists, as the police would not explain how the three men operating the
bomb factory escaped capture.
continues to have problems with Maoist violence in the eastern part of the
country, and with tribal separatists in the northeast. But both these situations
are far smaller, and less bloody, than what Pakistan faces.
2008: More Sharia (Islamic law) courts are being established in the tribal
areas. Not because the tribesmen back the Taliban or al Qaeda, but because the
civil courts are so corrupt and inefficient. Some cases drag on for decades.
With a Sharia court (conducted by religious scholars), you can often get same
day justice. This is different from
imposing Sharia law on a population, which the Taliban continues to try to do in
parts of the tribal territories. This is not popular, especially the Taliban
attitude towards educating women and girls (don't) or having fun (no booze,
music or vids).
2008: A recent opinion survey in Pakistan found that 73 percent believed their
economic improved last year, but were not so optimistic about 2009. There has
been a big drop in confidence in the government (only 31 percent in October,
versus over 80 percent in June.) Pakistanis do not believe their government is
doing a good job with the economy, or the terrorism problem. The U.S. has also
been openly criticizing Pakistan for not cracking down on Islamic terrorism enough.
As always, the problem is that so many (perhaps a third) of Pakistanis back the
goals of Islamic terrorists (the establishment of an Islamic religious dictatorship
to rule the world.) More Pakistanis now believe that Islamic terrorists were
not responsible for the recent attacks in Mumbai, India. A growing popular
belief in Pakistan is that this was the work of the Israeli Mossad (secret