India-Pakistan: We Few, Against The World


December 30, 2009: In Pakistan, police have engaged the population to identify Islamic terrorist cells and prevent more bombing attacks (which are killing mostly civilians). As a result, police have recently seized 2.5 tons of explosives and interrupted at least six terrorist bombings. In the tribal territories, 700 retired members of the Frontier Corps (the border police) were called up to help deal with the terrorist threat.

For over a decade, the Pakistani government has been split over how to deal with Islamic radical groups. Until the last few years, those officials and institutions who sought to protect Islamic radical groups, were able to do so. But no more. Gradually, the more radical members of the terrorist groups pushed for war against the government, so that an Islamic dictatorship could be established. This was not acceptable to the few thousand elite families that basically run the country. While many Pakistanis are Islamic conservatives, most do not support a religious dictatorship either (having seen how that has not worked in neighboring Iran, and noticing how corrupt many Pakistani clerics are.) So now, the Islamic terrorists find themselves at war with the entire country. The Islamic radicals have the support of only a few percent of the population, but that's a recruiting pool of several million, mostly male, mostly uneducated and mostly homicidal people. That results in less than 100,000 active terrorists, and many of these are very borderline in terms of effectiveness.

In the tribal territories, the Taliban have come to rely on terrorism to resist getting wiped out. The biggest problem the Taliban have are tribal militias that are out to get them. The Taliban fight back by going after tribal and militia leaders. These assassination targets include government officials. These men are well protected, so the terrorists have resorted to things like blowing up the officials homes at night, killing their target, and his family.

The violence in the tribal territories includes Islamic radical groups who are still fighting each other. This aspect of tribal territory violence is usually ignored, but it has gotten worse as the army destroys safe houses and other resources, forcing some terrorist groups to flee into the territory of rival terrorists. This has been turning violent, as the radicals put rivalries above dealing with a common enemy.

The U.S. has convinced most, but not all, Pakistani intelligence and military officials to go after the terrorist network of Sirajuddin Haqqani. This Afghan warlord got started in the 1980s, and has survived since then by being a reliable ally of the Pakistani military. Haqqani has bases in Pakistan, but does most of his violence in Afghanistan. While the Pakistanis appear to have agreed to take down Haqqani, nothing has actually been done yet. Apparently the Pakistanis are waiting for a counteroffer from Haqqani. This is more of a courtesy, to a long time ally, because the Americans have Pakistan by the wallet, and U.S. commandos have been taking apart Haqqani's operations in Afghanistan. The Pakistanis are willing to give up Haqqani, and put more effort into defending Islamic terror groups that mainly attack India. These outfits, particularly those that have launched attacks outside of Kashmir, are much respected by many Pakistanis. This respect is dissipating as these terrorist groups are revealed to have carried out attacks within Pakistan.

December 28, 2009: In Karachi, Pakistan, a suicide bomber attacked a religious of Shia Moslems (celebrating an annual event), and killed thirty people. Karachi has long been the scene of Sunni and Shia radicals fighting each other. Each group considers the others heretics. The suicide bombing set off violence as Shia mobs attacked the police, and Sunni neighborhoods, in retaliation. The police has made a major effort to protect the Shia festivities, and the Shia felt betrayed by the suicide bombing. The Taliban are anti-Shia, but so are most Sunni Islamic radical organizations. Sunni and Shia religious leaders went on the air, and into the streets, to calm things down. Meanwhile, a smaller attack, in Pakistani Kashmir, left eight Shia Moslems dead. There has usually been little Sunni/Shia violence in this region, but here is where many of the Islamic terror groups have their camps. For decades, these camps prepared men for carrying out attacks in Indian Kashmir. But in the last decade, the camps have turned out Islamic terrorists trained for attacks anywhere, and that has brought down the wrath of the Pakistani government, and the world.

December 26, 2009: In North Waziristan, Pakistan, an American UAV attacked a Haqqani network compound with missiles, killing at least 13 people.

December 25, 2009: In the tribal territories, terrorists blew up three high schools. The Taliban are very hostile to secular education, especially for girls. But most Pakistanis, even in the tribal territories, are pro-education, and hostile to the Islamic alternative (religious schools), which turns kids into terrorists or unemployable religious zealots. Meanwhile, counter-terrorism forces throughout the country are rounding up the usual suspects, and raiding known, and newly discovered, safe-houses and mosques. Many foreigners were picked up, including five American Moslems (whose parents migrated and assimilated, and had reported these college age students missing.) The FBI quickly connected the fact that these five Americans, were the same five men their parents had reported missing. The five thought they could go to Pakistan and become Islamic warriors, but the Islamic radicals there were unsure that these five were reliable or of any use.

December 24, 2009: In Peshawar, Pakistan, a suicide bomber headed for a market place, detonated his bomb when he realized police screeners could not be avoided. He killed five people, and wounded over 20, who were waiting in line to be checked.




Help Keep Us From Drying Up

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling.

Each month we count on your contribute. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage.
Subscribe   contribute   Close