India-Pakistan: Poor, Poor Pitiful Us

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June 3, 2013: Many Pakistanis (including a lot of politicians and the media) blame the United States for the growing problem with Islamic terrorism. The way this goes Pakistan had the Islamic terrorists under control and was successfully using them against India (in Kashmir) until the United States invaded Afghanistan right after September 11, 2001. After that, many surviving Islamic terrorists in Afghanistan fled to Pakistan. Most of these refugees were from the Taliban (created by Pakistan a decade earlier) and al Qaeda (sponsored by Pakistan since the 1980s). There these groups turned on their hosts because Pakistan had agreed to side with the United States in the war against Islamic terrorism. Many (a third or more) of Pakistanis still support Islamic terrorism and do not agree with this decision by their government. Pakistanis believe that if the Americans had not responded so violently to the September 11, 2001 attacks (which many Pakistanis blame on Israel or the CIA, not Islamic terrorists) there would be no Islamic terrorism problem in Pakistan. All these beliefs are very real in Pakistan and politicians have to deal with (or simply exploit) them. There seems to be more exploiting than dealing. At the moment the popular position is to shut down American UAV attacks on Islamic terrorists and make peace with the Taliban. What prevents this from happening is the fact the U.S. can say no and has the military, economic, and diplomatic clout to make that stick. Moreover, the Pakistani military (and intelligence agencies) understand that the Islamic terrorists are in it to the death and use peace deals as a tactical tool and keep fighting. Thus the military and intel leaders want the American UAV operations to continue as this is the most effective weapon available against the terrorist leadership. Meanwhile, peace has been made with the Taliban several times already and the Taliban make no secret of their using these peace deals to gain an advantage in their uncompromising efforts to turn Pakistan and Afghanistan into a religious dictatorship. This won’t stop Pakistani politicians from trying again, if only because most Pakistanis don’t want to admit that the Islamic terrorism they back is their problem and no one else’s.

In southwest Pakistan (Baluchistan) the army and police operations continue against tribal rebels. The security forces continue to be accused of unprovoked attacks on civilians, which include destruction of crops and property, looting, and kidnapping (taking people without admitting it and later murdering them to cover this up). The Pakistani government has long denied these charges but the evidence is piling up that the accusations are largely true.

In the tribal territories the war is not just between the security forces and the Islamic terrorists,but also involves local tribal militias, who are fed up with the constant and sometimes violent presence of the Islamic terrorists. Even when the Taliban are not trying to impose their unpopular lifestyle rules, the presence of these Islamic militants disrupts movement (because of all the checkpoints) and makes life more difficult. Over the last few years these tribal militias have killed over a thousand Islamic terrorists and driven many more away.

Although Indian and Chinese officers met and resolved there border dispute a month ago, now there is yet another dispute. Starting on May 17th Chinese troops blocked the movement of Indian troops on the Indian side of the border in Kashmir. The Indians were headed for a road China had built that extended five kilometers into Indian territory. This came two weeks after China agreed to withdraw its troops that had set up a camp 19 kilometers inside India that they refused to leave. To get them out India agreed to remove some border posts that annoyed the Chinese. Both nations declared victory, but the Chinese got more out of the deal. During all this China insisted their troops were not inside India, something India continues to dispute. Now Chinese troops are not only building a road into Indian territory but are blocking movement of Indian troops on the Indian side of the border. India sees all this as the Chinese way of applying pressure on India to withdraw from territory claimed by India. Time after time this tactic is working. In response to public outcry over these embarrassments the government has promised to patrol more aggressively along the Chinese border.

The Indian armed forces announced a new batch of regulations that make it more difficult for procurement officials to take bribes from companies selling things to the military. The new rules make it easier for the media to obtain details about exactly where all the money goes. This makes it more difficult, but probably not impossible, for officials to receive bribes. Despite growing public and media pressure to halt these bribes over the last decade, senior officials are still getting caught and it is believed many others are not caught.  

June 2, 2013: In Pakistan's tribal territories (Kurram), army operations were resumed and overnight four Islamic terrorist camps were attacked. This left 23 terrorists dead, along with two soldiers. Many of the Taliban casualties were the result of artillery fire and helicopter gunships. A year ago there were similar attacks (that killed over 50 terrorists) in this area against camps or bases used by Islamic terror groups (including the local Taliban).  The men in these camps carry out ambushes of military convoys or attacks on checkpoints.

Pakistan's newly elected (but not installed until next week) prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, condemned the recent American UAV attack that killed six Taliban, including their deputy leader. Nawaz Sharif says he will halt the UAV attacks against terrorists. This is a very popular stand, given the many Pakistanis who support Islamic terrorism and believe that such terrorists that attack Pakistanis are somehow part of an American or Israeli conspiracy. This terrorist violence also includes a growing number of attacks on Shia Moslems. The Shia are a minority (about a fifth of the population) in Pakistan and under growing attack from Sunni Islamic terrorists. The Sunni majority does not get too excited about this unless the Shia begin protesting in large numbers and disruptively. This the Shia are doing more frequently in an effort to force the government to do something about this terrorism.

June 1, 2013: In Pakistan's tribal territories (Kurram and Khyber) several clashes left 19 Islamic terrorists dead along with two soldiers.

In eastern India (Chhattisgarh) Maoists ambushed a police patrol and killed a police commander.

May 31, 2013: In eastern India (Bihar State) police arrested a senior Maoist leader.

May 30, 2013: In Pakistan the Taliban announced a new deputy commander was appointed, to replace the one killed by an American UAV yesterday. At first the Taliban denied their deputy commander had been killed but now admit it.

May 29, 2013: In Pakistan's tribal territories (Kurram), army operations against the Taliban left at least 17 terrorists dead and several of their camps destroyed.

May 28, 2013: Because of the Maoist ambush in Chhattisgarh State three days ago (that killed 24 people), the government has withdrawn its offer to enter into peace talks with the Maoists. The government is also reconsidering its long-term plans to deal with the Maoists. The four year old offensive against the Maoist rebels has not been moving along as quickly as planned. This prompted the governments of the states hardest hit by the rebel violence (Chhattisgarh, Orissa, West Bengal, and Jharkhand) to form a united anti-Maoist command center two years ago so they could coordinate their operations. Meanwhile, the influx of 75,000 additional police has not increased Maoist losses but has resulted in more dead policemen. The Maoists have lost many of their rural camps and, in general, have been forced to devote more time to security (and less to attacking the government or extorting money from businesses). As always, the government has failed to effectively address the social and economic problems in the countryside (where feudalism and corruption are rampant). These problems provide the Maoists with recruits and support from many of the locals.

Indian police in Chhattisgarh found and destroyed a large Maoist camp (housing about a thousand communist rebels) that had only been established about two weeks ago. The rebels got away before the police actually entered the camp and now the Maoists will suffer more losses (from disease and such, as well as desertion) as they search for a secure location to set up another camp.

In Pakistan's tribal territories (Peshawar) two female medical workers were shot and one died. The two women were administering polio vaccinations. Last month female medical workers administering polio vaccine to children were assaulted and beaten by Islamic terrorists who oppose Western medicine. Until today’s murder it was believed Islamic militants had decided to stop trying to kill the medical workers as that brought on too much police attention and bad publicity. Last January Islamic terrorists killed seven people who were administering polio vaccinations. A month ago there was a case of polio in the tribal territories, the first such case in a year. As the vaccinations are increasingly disrupted, there will be more such cases. The Islamic terrorists say this is not their fault but God’s Will and therefore not to be criticized.

In Pakistan's tribal territories (North Waziristan) a U.S. UAV killed deputy Taliban commander Waliur Rehman and five of his associates. Rehman was believed responsible for carrying out a 2009 attack at a U.S. base in Afghanistan last year that killed seven CIA personnel. The U.S. offered a $5 million reward for Rehman’s capture or death.

May 27, 2013: In Pakistan (Karachi) police seized nearly half a ton of explosives and apparently disrupted a major terrorist attack.

May 25, 2013: In eastern India (Chhattisgarh) Maoists ambushed a convoy carrying senior politicians (from the ruling Congress Party) and their supporters and killed 24 people. An additional 2,000 paramilitary police were sent into Chhattisgarh State, to join the 30,000 already there to hunt down and find the killers. In the last eight years some 6,000 have died because of the Maoist violence. 

 

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