India-Pakistan: A New Deal In The Tribal Territory


September 7, 2009: Pakistani troops continue to go after Taliban in the Khyber Pass area. A week of this has left over a hundred Taliban dead and even more arrested. Hundreds of Taliban gunmen more have fled the area, but some are still sneaking around, and not leaving. The Taliban had been terrorizing the locals, and extorting money from the tribesmen and the truck drivers. More worrisome, the Taliban provided bases for suicide bomber operations, which were used against army bases and border guard border stations.

In Pakistan, the government decided to  import bullet proof cars for government ministers, who are increasingly attacked by Islamic radical assassins. The government is also out to fundamentally change the way things are run in the tribal areas. The century old agreement (between the British colonial officials and the Pushtun tribal chiefs) gave the tribes a lot of autonomy, in exchange for peace. But the recent Taliban unrest has pushed the government to face the problem (of tribal governance) head on, and are beginning to tear up the 1901 agreement. Not all the tribal people, and their leaders, are unhappy with this. The Taliban terrorism has exposed the weakness of tribal government. Many believe that change can't be any worse than what is happening now.

India has identified counterfeit Singapore and Australian dollars in circulation. Indian officials first detected counterfeit U.S. dollars, and traced the source back to Nepal, and from there back to Pakistan, where the bills are printed. It's unclear if this counterfeiting is government sponsored.

In Pakistan, because of recent Taliban rocket attacks on the airport, five of six foreign airlines have stopped flying into Peshawar, the largest city in the tribal territories.

Sri Lankan counter-terrorism officials have told their Pakistani counterparts that they have discovered that an attack, by Pakistani gunmen, on the Sri Lankan cricket team during a visit to Pakistan earlier this year, was paid for by the LTTE, a Sri Lanka rebel group that was crushed earlier this year, after two decades of fighting. That defeat resulted in many documents and LTTE officials being captured, and that revealed all sorts of information on how rebel groups in the region cooperate with each other. Apparently, the LTTE was in touch with the Taliban, and paid to have the Sri Lankan cricket team shot at.

In eastern India, Maoist rebels have been hunting down and killing civilians they suspect of being police informers. At least five people have been murdered in the last few days. So far this year, nearly six hundred people have been killed in India because of Maoist related violence.

September 6, 2009: In Quetta, the largest city in Baluchistan, someone threw a grenade at a police station, missed, and wounded twelve civilians in the nearby market.

September 5, 2009:  In southwest Bangladesh, police killed three Islamic terrorists.

September 2, 2009: Death threats against USAID officials have caused the U.S. to close the USAID offices in Pakistan's capital. This will interrupt the flow of aid to Pakistan. It's believed that the death threats may be related to USAID cracking down on Pakistani corruption and the theft of American aid funds and supplies. Meanwhile, unidentified gunmen attacked and wounded the Religious Affairs Minister, wounding him. The minister himself belongs to the more moderate Sufi sect of Islam, and has been a strong opponent to the Taliban.

September 1, 2009: Pakistani troops attacked four Taliban bases (compounds or homes the rebels had taken over) in the Khyber Pass area, and killed at least 40 Taliban, while arresting another 43. Several thousand civilians fled the fighting. Meanwhile, over the last five days, nearly fifty Taliban have been killed the Swat valley.

In Kashmir, an Indian soldier was killed by Pakistani troops firing across the Line of Control (the border separating Indian and Pakistani portions of Kashmir). While the ceasefire between Pakistan and India has greatly reduced the violence along the border, there is still shooting. Often, Pakistani troops or border guards will fire on Indian troops to distract them while Islamic terrorists try to sneak into India. Last year, there were about three incidents a month, of Pakistani troops  firing into India, while this year, it's 3-4 a month. This violence is almost always from the Pakistani side.




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