India-Pakistan: A Failure To Communicate

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March 10, 2012: Several years of work by NATO and the Pakistani Army to revive a railway line from Karachi to near the Afghan border continues, despite the Pakistani government shutdown of NATO truck traffic since last November. This appears to indicate that the ban will be lifted soon. NATO wants this because it is starting to withdraw its troops and their equipment from Afghanistan and this will be cheaper if done via Pakistan, rather than the longer rail trip through Central Asia and Russia. The Pakistanis do not want to lose the transportation fees for all this, especially since many senior army officers will get richer because an army controlled railroad operation will be used. But first the Parliament has to approve. The border was closed after a late November friendly fire incident that left 24 Pakistani troops dead from American air attacks. Pakistani truck companies, and their political patrons, have lost millions of dollars because of this and have pressured parliament to reopen the border. But this will only happen if more taxes are placed on NATO shipments and more politicians get a cut of this. The debate in parliament is basically over who gets what.

The Pakistani Taliban is falling apart because of factional fighting. This is one result of four years of attacks by the Pakistani Army (in response to Pakistani Taliban support for terror attacks inside Pakistan) and American UAV missile attacks against terrorist leaders (including many senior Taliban). The ISI (the Pakistani intelligence agency controlled by the army, which handles liaison with Pakistani terrorist groups) appears to be maneuvering to split the Pakistani Taliban by backing Haqqani Network efforts to start a new umbrella organization (the Muraqba Shura) to control all Islamic radical groups operating along the Afghan border. The Haqqani Network is an Afghan terror group that has been sponsored by the ISI since the 1980s. Haqqani has always been careful to cause no problems in Pakistan and only carried out attacks in Afghanistan. The ISI used to control all Islamic terror groups in Pakistan but lost control of many of them after the 2003 American invasion of Iraq.

Indian police are surprised at the lack of activity by Maoists in one of their eastern India strongholds (Chhattisgarh). Police intelligence indicates that there is a serious outbreak of factional fighting among the local Maoists, which has led to far fewer operations against the police.

March 9, 2012: A Taliban video confirmed that one of their leaders, Badr Mansoor, had been killed by an American UAV attack a month ago. This was well-received in Pakistan because Mansoor was notorious for planning many terror attacks inside Pakistan. This puts Pakistani critics of the U.S. UAV operations in an awkward position, since the Pakistani government quietly ignores the media and political uproar in Pakistan against the UAV operations, because the attacks do go after terrorists who kill Pakistanis as well as Afghans and Americans. The official line in Pakistan is that Pakistanis would not carry out terror attacks against fellow Pakistanis. Instead, these bombings are all the work of India, Israel, and the United States.

Meanwhile, the Pakistani government has angered the Taliban by charging the three wives of Osama bin laden with entering the country illegally. If this charge is successfully prosecuted the women could spend a few years in jail. The Taliban demanded that the women be allowed to return to their homes (in Saudi Arabia and Yemen) or else. The wives lived with bin Laden for five years in a walled compound in a Pakistani military town. The Pakistanis have been interrogating the three wives since bin Laden was killed last May.

The ruling party in the Pakistani government won control of the Senate (upper house of parliament) in recent national elections. The Senate can block legislation, so even if the ruling PPP (Pakistan People's Party) loses control of the lower house and the presidency they can still block laws they do not agree with (especially anything giving the military more power). The PPP is trying to cut the army and ISI down to size to prevent any more military efforts to overthrow the civilian government and impose military rule. For half the time, since Pakistan was founded in 1947, the military has run the government. Along the way the military has come to control a large chunk of the national economy and the government budget. This has made a lot of generals and admirals rich and a lot of Pakistanis angry.

American UAVs fired missiles to kill a dozen Islamic terrorists in Pakistan's South Waziristan. This was the eighth such attack this year. Last year such attacks occurred about twice as frequently. The decline in attacks is partly due to fewer targets and terrorists being more careful how they move around, if they move at all.

India defied international economic sanctions against Iran (because of its nuclear weapons program) and sent a large (70 people) trade delegation to Iran. The trade representatives are to try and come up with ways Indian businesses can profit from the sanctions by helping Iran get around the trade restrictions.

March 7, 2012: China has again openly complained that Islamic terrorist activity in western China by Chinese Turks (Uighurs) can be traced back to training camps and terrorist organizations in Pakistan. The Uighur Islamic terrorists have been operating in Pakistan and Afghanistan since the 1990s (as the East Turkestan Islamic Movement). China has been demanding, since last year, that Pakistan shut down the Uighur operations in Pakistan. Last year Pakistan said it would but carrying out that task has proved difficult. The Uighur terrorists are part of al Qaeda, Taliban, and other terrorist organizations. Pakistan provides sanctuary for many of these groups and does not want to fight them, especially those in North Waziristan (which the Pakistan recognizes as a sanctuary for Islamic terrorists). Trying to destroy these terrorist groups would be difficult and time-consuming. Nevertheless, last year the ISI told China that the Uighurs would be taken care of. The ISI tells the U.S. similar lies. The Chinese waited six months to see what happened. Apparently not much happened, so China repeated its request. China is also unhappy with continuing attacks by Islamic terrorists on Chinese in Pakistan. China is a major arms supplier and trading partner of Pakistan.

Indian police arrested an Indian journalist, who worked for an Iranian news organization and charged him with assisting the Iranian terrorists involved in attacks on Israeli diplomats last month. Indian police believe the attack was carried out by the Iranian Quds Force (a government organization that specialized in terror operations) with help from the Lebanese Hezbollah (which Quds helped create). This is very embarrassing for India, which has close economic ties with Iran and believed that it had an "understanding" that Quds could operate quietly in India and would not be involved in any terror attacks inside India (even against non-Indians). There appears to be a failure to communicate here.

Indian police raided a Maoist weapons workshop, Chhattisgarh State. In nearby Jharkhand a clash with Maoists left four of the communist rebels dead.

March 5, 2012: Pakistan successfully tested one of its Hatf II ballistic missiles. This model only has a range of 180 kilometers. More likely to carry nuclear weapons is the Hatf IV, which has a range of 2,000 kilometers and has been in service since 2008. The big question mark is whether Pakistan ever perfected its nuclear weapons design (early tests indicated an unreliable design) and overcame the difficult engineering tasks involved in creating a nuclear weapon small and rugged enough to operate in a ballistic missile warhead.

March 4, 2012: In Pakistan's tribal territories (Khyber) a Taliban suicide bomber attacked some police.  He wounded five of them while killing himself.

March 3, 2012: Near the Pakistan border, India conducted the second test of the ground launched version of its BrahMos supersonic cruise missile. The $3 million dollar missile has a range of 290 kilometers.

March 2, 2012: In Pakistan's tribal territories (Tirah Valley) a clash left 23 Islamic terrorists and ten soldiers dead. Elsewhere in the territories, a suicide bomber attacked a mosque used by a rival Taliban faction and killed 22 people. Several other battles between Taliban factions left over twenty dead.

Indian police raided and shut down Maoist weapons workshops in Kolkata (Calcutta) and Mumbai (Bombay). Nine Maoists were also arrested and large quantities of weapons and bomb components seized. The last time police found workshops like these was five years ago. Police were aware of new workshops being set up but it took years to locate them.

March 1, 2012: In Pakistan's tribal territories (Orakzai), soldiers, supported by F-16s, raided four terrorist hideouts and killed 22 armed men.

A Pakistani Supreme Court judge openly warned the ISI that they were not above the law and must respond to orders from the government.

In the last few days Indian police arrested three men and accused them of belonging to a Pakistani terrorist organization and planning terror attacks in Indian cities.

February 29, 2012: Pakistan and India are having success in negotiating a treaty that would resume trade, on a major scale, between the two countries. This would be a first because the two nations have been at war from the time India and Pakistan were created from British India.

February 28, 2012: Armed men in military uniforms stopped a four bus convoy in the Pakistani tribal territories and killed 16 Shia Moslem passengers. Sunni passengers were unharmed. The Pakistani Taliban later took credit for this attack. Most Islamic terror groups are Sunni and consider Shia Moslems to be heretics who must be killed or converted.

 

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