India-Pakistan: Terrified Taliban Unite


March 31, 2009: Most of the major Taliban factions in Afghanistan and Pakistan have publicly pledged to work together to defeat the increasingly effective attacks by Pakistani, U.S., NATO and Afghan forces. This is mostly a PR thing, as the many Pushtun tribal factions that call themselves Taliban have many divergent objectives. Some of these tribal factions have also been feuding with each other for years, and these hostilities are not going to be halted by a press release.

U.S. military commanders (including those of Central Command and the Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff) are joining their Afghan counterparts in criticizing Pakistani intelligence (the ISI) for supporting Taliban attacks in Afghanistan. The U.S. had, for years, pressured the Pakistanis quietly to do something about these ISI problems. U.S. commanders allude to specific situations where it was obvious that Pakistani intelligence warned Islamic terrorists about an American operation against them. The U.S. now says it will "consult" with Pakistan before attacks inside Pakistan (the tribal areas, presumably), but reserves the right to go after Islamic terrorists anywhere in the tribal areas, on either side of the border.  In effect, the U.S. is telling Pakistan that American attacks inside the Pakistani border areas will continue, no matter how much Pakistani media jumps all over this "invasion" of Pakistan.

Meanwhile, Pakistan is broke (due to the global recession and persistent corruption and poor administration) and is seeking $10 billion from foreign donors. The money would be used to placate the worst cases of poverty (like in the tribal areas) and hire more troops for the security forces.

In Bangladesh, police raided a religious school (operated by Bangladeshi expatriates in Britain) and found large quantities of weapons. Other Islamic radical leaders are being questioned for links to the recent mutiny among the Bangladesh Rifles (the border guard organization that has since been disbanded and reformed.)

March 30, 2009:  In Lahore, Pakistan, a dozen Taliban attacked a police training facility and killed eight recruits, and wounded dozens of others. After an eight hour siege, police commandos went in and captured four of the attackers alive. Three others blew themselves up and another 4-5 died from gun fire. A day of fighting left at least 40 dead and nearly a hundred wounded. While the Taliban took credit for this attack, many Pakistani media blamed India. Police revealed that one of the arrested attackers was an Afghan.

March 28, 2009: Tribesmen kidnapped 11 tribal policemen near the Khyber Pass. This is a common tactic by tribal factions to settle disputes. Meanwhile, in Pakistani Kashmir, police raided a camp run by the LeT (Lashkar-e-Taiba), a group that recruits and trains Islamic terrorists for attacks in India (especially Indian Kashmir, but all for last Novembers Mumbai massacre). Pakistan had long refused to touch Islamic terrorist groups that operated in Indian Kashmir.

In eastern India, police raided a group of Maoist leaders meeting in a jungle camp, and arrested eight of the rebels. The Maoists are trying to organize interference for the coming elections.

March 27, 2009: India revealed what Pakistani based terrorists were already aware of; Indian spies in Pakistan provided information on the movements of Islamic terrorists across the border (Line of Control). Recently, Indian forces ended a five day operation against a group of terrorists surrounded in a forest near the border.

March 26, 2009: A suicide bomber attacked a mosque, used by border guards and soldiers, near the Khyber Pass, killing fifty people, and wounding many more. The mosque is also popular with travelers going through the Khyber Pass. This is believed to be retaliation for army operations against local Taliban and tribes feuding over who gets payoffs from trucking companies using the highway into Afghanistan. Armed groups of up to a hundred Taliban continue to attack the truck depots around Peshawar (the largest city in the tribal territories.)




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