The U.S. has made at least 14 UAV missile attacks against Islamic terrorists in Pakistan so far this month. This is a record number of attacks, and it is hurting terrorist operations across the border in Afghanistan. Most of the missile attacks are against groups that use Pakistani bases to launch attacks inside Afghanistan. In the last five weeks, these UAV attacks have killed over 150 Islamic terrorists, and a few civilians. The Islamic terrorists try to use civilians as human shields, but doing that 24/7 is tedious and the civilians tend not to cooperate. So there are plenty of opportunities to catch the terrorists away from their civilian shields.
There have been setbacks, however. The Pakistani Army and intelligence services (the ISI) apparently decided, earlier this year, to halt their offensive against the Taliban (and other terrorist bases) in Waziristan. The Pakistani army is still chasing Taliban who had moved outside of the tribal territories (mainly the Swat valley), but have refused NATO pleas to move onto long known terrorist bases in Waziristan. Pakistani excuses about logistical problems have worn thin, and the Pakistanis are being accused by NATO (and many Pakistanis) of collaborating with the terrorists. Not the entire government, but the military and intelligence agencies. The newly elected civilian government has been pressuring the military to suppress the Islamic terrorist groups, but not much gets done. That has given rise to new coup rumors. The Pakistani military runs the country half the time, typically taking over when there is heightened public disgust at the ineffectiveness of a civilian government. The generals can make more money when they are running the government, and being an army officer is more about making money than making war. Many generals, and politicians, see the Taliban and Islamic terrorists as a useful tool for harassing India and keeping Afghanistan under some form of Pakistani control. For the last few months, there have been fewer terror attacks inside Pakistan (outside the tribal territories) by Taliban or other government supported terrorists. This indicates that the army and the terrorists have achieved a sort of truce. The U.S. and NATO have noted this, and are not happy. The Pakistanis are more optimistic, as the army offensive into the tribal territories has extended government control into places where it has never existed before.
Meanwhile, the Pakistani government, has, as expected, mismanaged the relief effort for the 20 million people hurt (economically or physically) by the recent floods. Corruption and incompetence have left the relief effort a shambles, with foreign aid groups getting most of the work done.
Many parts of Indian Kashmir are still in chaos as mobs of rock throwing young men enforce a shutdown of the schools, and many businesses. This is angering local residents, but not sufficiently to create a popular move to shut down the mob activity. Most of Kashmir, however, is peaceful.
October 10, 2010: Pakistan reopened the border to NATO supply trucks, after closing it on September 30, to protest an incident where U.S. helicopters killed two border police who had fired on the choppers. The helicopters were pursuing a group of Taliban that had just staged an attack in Afghanistan. Such "hot pursuit" is allowed by Pakistan, and Pakistani troops often fire into Afghanistan, or at NATO aircraft. However, Pakistani media ran with the story that Pakistani sovereignty was under attack and the government had to do something. The government closed one of the two truck routes used by NATO to get supplies from the port of Karachi into Afghanistan. This halt stalled thousands of trucks trying to get through the Khyber Pass. Normally, about 250 NATO supply trucks pass through the Khyber Pass each day. Taliban and bandits attacked the stalled trucks, destroying or looting over a hundred of them. This caused great loss to the Pakistani trucking companies that haul goods into landlocked Afghanistan. Many supply trucks were diverted to the other highway into Afghanistan, and the NATO forces were forced to draw on their reserve stocks to make up for the late supply trucks. That's what reserve stocks are for. Meanwhile, there will be economic consequences for Pakistan. NATO will now move faster to shift their supply lines to railroads moving through Central Asia and the Caucasus. This is actually cheaper, but arrangements have to be made to revive train traffic that has not been this high on those routes for decades (since Russian forces left Afghanistan in 1989.) Pakistan can also expect less enthusiasm from U.S. politicians when requests are made for modern military technology, or even economic aid. As part of the border closure, there was also an increase in hostility towards American aid workers helping victims of the recent floods, which creates more anti-Pakistan feelings in the West.
October 8, 2010: In northeast India, fighting between Maoists and Indian border police left three policemen and four civilians dead. This is one of the areas where police are constantly searching for Maoists and their base camps. These facilities often include workshops for making roadside bombs and landmines. Thus these camps are key targets in destroying Maoist power in many rural parts of eastern India. The Maoists are slowly being forced out of areas they have controlled for years.
October 7, 2010: In Karachi, Pakistan, two teenage suicide bombers attacked a Sufi Moslem shrine, killing ten and wounding 80. Until the 1980s, Sufi Islam was the dominant form of the religion in Pakistan. Sufism is much less militant than the Arabian Wahhabi form of Islam introduced (by Saudi missionaries and charities) in the 1980s. Al Qaeda was founded by Wahhabis and other conservative and intolerant Islamic sects. Only about ten percent of all Moslems are Sufis and the Wahhabis consider them slackers, or worse.
October 6, 2010: The U.S. officially apologized for the September 30 incident where U.S. helicopters returned fire and killed two Pakistani border guards.
October 5, 2010: Former Pakistani president and military dictator Pervez Musharraf has admitted, while visiting the West, that Pakistan has supported Islamic terrorist organizations that stage attacks in Kashmir and elsewhere in India, and Afghanistan. This support includes soldiers helping to train terrorists. Some of these Islamic terror groups are now staging attacks against the Pakistani government. In response, the Pakistani media, and many government officials, insist that it's all an Indian plot. There is a distinct lack of evidence that India is involved in Islamic terrorist violence inside Pakistan, but this is explained away by insisting that the Americans and all their technical tricks must also be involved. The Pakistani media, and much popular opinion, exists in a make-believe world that Westerners have a hard time comprehending. For example, many Pakistanis, including the well-educated or even those who have studied in the West, will tell you, with a straight-face, that the September 11, 2001 attacks were all a U.S. government conspiracy, and did not involve Moslem terrorists. The Pakistani media finds anti-American stories the most profitable, even though massive U.S. aid is responsible for keeping Pakistan's ramshackle economy functioning. It's a bizarre situation, but it explains how Pakistan became such an economic, political and cultural disaster. Worse still, the military, which controls the nuclear weapons, is a power unto itself. The military controls large chunks of the economy, and often acts as if it is above the law (which, for all practical purposes, it usually is.) The Islamic radical groups want to replace this mess with a religious dictatorship. This hasn't worked anywhere else, but Pakistan needs a miracle and an Islamic state seems like the most reasonable one to expect.