India-Pakistan: Why The Taliban Are Loved

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October 6, 2009: Pakistani terror group, Lashkar-e-Taiba, which carried out the Mumbai, India terror attacks last year, is still operating. While Pakistan has arrested Lashkar members believed to be directly involved in the Mumbai attack, the rest of the organization (over 90 percent of it) is untouched and still in business. Lashkar is very popular in Pakistan because the terror group has operated in Kashmir for over two decades, and kills Indians. Over half a century of anti-Indian propaganda in Pakistan has helped with this, and public attitudes change slowly.

India also believes that ISI (the Pakistani CIA) has maintained its contacts with Islamic terrorists since September 11, 2001, by using retired ISI officials. The vast corruption and factionalism in Pakistan enables all manner of outlaw organizations to survive. The ISI still provides useful services. ISI currently estimates that there are up to 10,000 armed Taliban and foreign terrorists in Waziristan, where the Pakistani army is massed for an offensive that many generals are not very enthusiastic about.

In the Swat valley, remaining Taliban continue to flee, surrender or be arrested. The Taliban who terrorized the valley for over a year, didn't wear masks and are generally known. As the two million refugees return, so do witnesses who can identify the Taliban terrorists.

Pakistan is trying to prevent American UAVs from operating in Baluchistan (the southwestern part of the country), especially Quetta, the capital of the province. But the U.S. believes that many Taliban and al Qaeda leaders are living in and around Quetta. This is headed for a confrontation, because nearly all the American UAV operations in Pakistan are flown from Pakistani air bases.

Pakistani artillery and helicopters have increased their attacks on Taliban fighters in Waziristan. There are a dozen or more casualties a day from this, as Pakistani troops prepare for a ground advance. A lot of the pressure for this attack, which the army generals would rather not make, is from pro-government tribal leaders. The Taliban continue to send death squads after these tribal leaders, and about one a week is getting murdered. The new Pakistani Taliban leader, Hakimullah Mehsud, has been moving around trying to intimidate, or kill, tribal rivals. The situation is not much different among the pro-Taliban tribal chiefs. The Taliban have triggered civil war in the tribal territories, with most of the tribesmen hostile to the Taliban because of the bullying and enforcement of restrictive lifestyle rules by the Taliban. Then there's the terrorist bombings, which tend to kill mostly civilians. Worst of all, the Taliban have been bad for business. But the tribesmen don't want to be ruled by the lowlander Pakistanis, who are seen, quite accurately, as corrupt and incompetent. Same deal in the Swat Valley, which borders the tribal territories, and whose population was initially receptive to the Taliban, because it was seen as a less corrupt and more just alternative to the Pakistani government. This proved not to be the case, but the Swat Valley people are still hostile to the government.

Bangladesh has sent more troops to its border with Myanmar, where there may be fighting over the building of a border fence by Myanmar. The two countries are also disputing offshore boundaries, in waters believed to contain natural gas deposits under the ocean bottom.

October 5, 2009:  Terrorists fired rockets at Peshawar, the largest city in the Pakistani tribal territories, causing only some property damage. In Pakistan's capital, a Taliban suicide bomber, dressed as a soldier, got into a UN officer (the World Food Program) and killed five people. The Taliban and al Qaeda tend to be hostile to the UN, which is seen as an instrument of the non-Moslem West.

October 3, 2009: Indian troops captured five Naga (tribal) rebels near the Bangladesh border. The captured rebels were accused of killing six other rebels in one of their camps just across the border in Bangladesh.

October 2, 2009: In eastern India, police arrested eleven men and accused them of leading a Maoist attack force of 200, that left 16 people dead. This violence was over a land dispute and the victims were land owners and their families.

September 29, 2009: Two U.S. UAVs fired missiles that killed nine people in two different attacks in Pakistan's Waziristan region, near the Afghan border. These UAVs have made four such attacks in the last 48 hours. In Indian Kashmir, Islamic terrorists fired on soldiers in a bus terminal, killing three of them and wounding a civilian.

 

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