Pakistan has again arrested, Ustad Mohammed Yasir, the former spokesman for the Taliban. He was last arrested in 2005, and handed over to Afghanistan. But he was freed two years later, in order to get a kidnapped Italian journalist released. The Pakistani government is under a lot of pressure from India and the United States to arrest and prosecute those responsible for the Mumbai massacre. Pakistan does not want to cause domestic unrest by jailing Islam terrorists who are considered heroes to many Pakistanis (for killing Indians, which is a big deal since India has beaten Pakistan in several wars over the last half century, and is doing much better economically.) Nationalist media in Pakistan insist India is about to invade. But Pakistani troops sent to the border, find that there are no Indian troops on the other side. India has planned operations against Pakistan, but from the air. These would be attacks on Islamic terrorist training camps that operate openly in Pakistani (northern) Kashmir.
In Kashmir, troops and police and Islamic rebels have been shooting at each other for five days, in forests near the Pakistan border. So far, four terrorists and three soldiers have been killed. The army is unsure of how large a force of Islamic terrorists it has cornered.
Maoists in eastern India have a new problem; religion. While technically atheist, the communist Maoist fighters can still be sensitive to religious issues. In eastern India, Maoists killed a Hindu religious leader, for opposing them. At first, local Christians were blamed for the killing, and dozens of Christians were killed in retaliation. When the Maoists admitted to the murder, over a hundred Hindu Maoists spilt off and formed a Hindu Maoist organization, which is now at war with Christian Maoists.
The Khyber Pass highway has been reopened, as local tribesmen, warily eyeing newly arrived army tanks, promise to keep the bandits away from the several dozen trucks that roll down the road every hour.
January 4, 2009: Another suicide bomb attack took place in northwest Pakistan, killing five policemen and two civilians. Meanwhile, in Kashmir, Indian patrols are running into a higher than usual number of Islamic terrorists trying to sneak across the border from Pakistan.
January 3, 2009: Troops patrolling the Khyber Pass highway seized a van loaded with 900 pounds of explosives and suicide bomb making components. Seven terrorist suspects were arrested as well and turned out to be Taliban.
January 2, 2009: The Pakistani effort to clear bandits from the Khyber Pass ran into no resistance, the hostiles apparently fled the area. Troops arrested 28 tribesmen, and killed three others, but no one fired on the soldiers and police. Tribal leaders in the area promised to keep bandits off the road in the future. But they always say that when the army shows up.
January 1, 2009: Pakistan is in a difficult position regarding the November Mumbai terrorist attacks. Pakistan would like to blame it all on Indian militants. But one of the ten attackers, Mohamed Ajmal Amir Kasab, was captured alive. Recently, the father of Kasab appeared on Pakistani television, admitting that his son was Pakistani and mixed up with terrorists. The U.S. FBI gave Pakistan recordings of satellite phone calls between the Mumbai attackers and known Islamic terrorists in Pakistan. Some of these men were arrested and admitted to their role in the Mumbai operation. India wants these men turned over to them, but Pakistan insists on prosecuting them. India rejects this, because in the past, Pakistan has only gone through the motions of prosecuting and punishing Islamic terrorists.
India and Pakistan exchanged lists of their nuclear facilities. This was done in accordance with a 1988 treaty, whereby both countries promise not to bomb nuclear facilities in the event of a war (as this would spread radioactive material over a wide area). Each year, an updated list is exchanged.
In South Waziristan, along the Afghan border, a U.S. UAV fired a Hellfire missile at a vehicle carrying seven Central Asian Islamic terrorists, killing four of them.
December 31, 2008: As Pakistani troops pulled out of the Swat Valley (which is only 160 kilometers from the capital, Islamabad), some of the 2,000 Islamic radicals who have been terrorizing the region, left their mountain hideouts and began murdering people and looting ("collecting taxes.")
December 30, 2008: Pakistani troops and helicopters began advancing along the highway that runs through the Khyber Pass and into Afghanistan. This is a vital supply line for foreign troops in Afghanistan, and several gangs of tribesmen have been attacking the trucks lately. Some of the attackers claim to be Taliban. The road will be closed for several days as the army attempts to hunt down and kill the men responsible for the attacks.
December 29, 2008: Four months of heavily protected (by army and police) voting in Kashmir resulted in pro-India parties winning 45 of 87 seats. The northern, Moslem districts, voted for separatist candidates, but enough Moslem voters supported pro-India candidates, along with Hindu voters in the south, to gain a majority. Islamic terrorists urged Moslems not to vote, and many anti-Indian voters stayed away from the polls, but a higher-than-usual number of voters came out, and most of these were pro-Indian. This puts pro-Indian Moslems firmly on the side of the government and is a major defeat for the separatists.
December 28, 2008: Pakistani troops have left North Waziristan, along the Afghan border. To the north, a suicide bomber killed 26 people near a polling station, after saying his car had broken down and asking bystanders to help push it to get it started. Troops are also pulling out of the Swat Valley.
December 27, 2008: Pakistan has ordered about a third of the 120,000 troops fighting the Taliban, to move to the Indian border. This is a victory for the Islamic terrorists, who launched the November attacks in Mumbai to create tension between India and Pakistan. This technique has worked before, but it was hoped that the Indian and Pakistani leaders would not fall for it this time. But the defensiveness of Pakistan, in trying to deny that the terrorists came from Pakistan, and the insistence of India that Pakistan hand over terrorists operating in Pakistan, caused a media frenzy on both sides of the border that led to halting combat operations against the Taliban. Pakistani leaders consider it more important to pretend to be preparing to defend against an Indian invasion.