India-Pakistan: Terrorist Activity Declines

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November 18, 2014: In northwest Pakistan (North Waziristan) five months of fighting against Islamic terrorists, especially the Pakistani Taliban, has come to the point where major operations have largely been replaced by air attacks on terrorist hideouts and clashes on the ground when patrols encounter small groups of terrorists. The army admits that about 20 percent of the area has not yet come under government control. This is territory in very remote and rugged terrain that is difficult to get ground troops into. Despite the difficult terrain, the troops continue to move into hostile territory.

Over 1,200 Islamic terrorists were killed and hundreds more arrested so far. Even with the coming of cold weather the Islamic terrorists are still suffering over a hundred casualties a week. The army has managed keep their own casualties down. In five months the army has lost 45 dead and nearly 200 wounded. Civilian casualties have kept low because most civilians fled to stay with kin or in government refugee camps until the campaign is over.  The military effort is now devoted to finding and destroying Islamic terrorist hideouts where the enemy seeks to wait for warmer weather and prepare for another eight month “fighting season”.

More Islamic terrorist violence is now occurring to the north, in the Khyber region where many Islamic terrorists have fled to from North Waziristan. In Khyber some groups of Islamic terrorists are planning and carrying out attacks, especially against pro-government tribal leaders. These tribal elders have made it more difficult for Islamic terrorists fleeing North Waziristan to find refuge in Khyber. In part this is because the tribal leaders encourage people to report the presence of Islamic terrorists, which usually results in an aerial attack or a raid by ground troops. Because of this the army has shifted a lot of its forces north to Khyber and there has been a lot more action up there since October.

The military has also pointed out that because of the five month old offensive Islamic terrorist attacks inside Pakistan have dropped by more than a third. That is because all Islamic terrorists groups in North Waziristan were attacked, including the Haqqani network. The offensive discovered over 200 terrorist hideouts and hiding places for weapons and equipment. Dozens of bomb building workshops were found, along with nearly 5,000 bombs (either completed or under construction) and over 130 tons of explosives.  Dozens of vehicles and over 3,000 automatic weapons (assault rifles and machine-guns of various calibers) were seized along with enormous quantities of equipment that could not be moved as Islamic terrorists fled the attacks and advancing troops. The extent of these losses has reduced the capabilities of Islamic terror groups in the region. Despite that some of the Islamic terrorist groups are starting to recover from this defeat and some have managed to reorganize and carry out a few revenge attacks against the government.

Yet not all terrorist related deaths in Pakistan are the work of Islamic terrorists in the northwest. For example Pakistan has recorded more than 4,900 deaths attributed to religious intolerance in the last 25 years. These include violence against different forms of Islam (usually Shia) as well as against Christians, Hindus, Sikhs, Jews and others.  Most of these 4,900 Pakistani deaths have occurred since September 11, 2001. Religion based violence has been on the increase there starting in the 1970s when the Pakistani government basically legalized a lot of it. Since 2001 there have been over 20,000 terrorism related deaths in Pakistan, nearly all of the victims were other Moslems that Islamic terrorists accused of not being Islamic enough and thus, according to their murderous logic, not Moslems at all and deserving of death. Yet most of these deaths are not classified as resulting from religious intolerance. There is a widespread tendency by Moslems and non-Moslems alike to downplay the religious basis for Islamic terrorism. Why that is so is hard to say. Apparently it’s partly due to political correctness, the self-image most Moslems prefer to use and billions spent by oil-rich Arab states over several decades to support this worldview in the UN and international media.

In northwest Pakistan (Kurram) a roadside bomb hit a school transport, killing a student and an adult. The Taliban was suspected.

In eastern India years of efforts to shut down leftist (Maoist) rebels have hurt the rebels but it has also created more random violence by some Maoist factions. In some areas where that is happening police have imposed dusk to dawn curfews on the country roads or railroads.

November 17, 2014: India complained of information indicating that China has been training Pakistani troops along the Chinese border with the Pakistani portion of Kashmir. China denied that this was taking place.

November 16, 2014: In northwest Pakistan (North Waziristan) aircraft and helicopters hit several targets (suspected Islamic terrorist hideouts) and killed at least 27 people. On the ground Taliban fighters attacked troops establishing a new checkpoint in an action that left seven Islamic terrorists and three soldiers dead. There are still some smaller towns and villages in North Waziristan where some Taliban are hiding out for several months of cold weather and that’s where a lot of the combat is currently.

November 15, 2014: China agreed to invest another $42 billion in Pakistani projects. In return Pakistan promised more help in fighting Islamic terrorism against China. Many of those terrorists are based in Pakistan. China also expects Pakistan to protect its investments from terrorist violence.

November 14, 2014: In northwest Pakistan (North Waziristan) aircraft and helicopters hit several targets (suspected Islamic terrorist hideouts) and killed at least 30 people.

November 13, 2014: Pakistan successfully tested another long-range (1,500 kilometers) Hatf VI ballistic missile, of the type used to deliver nuclear weapons against India.

In northwest India (Kashmir) soldiers clashed with Islamic terrorists, leaving two terrorists and one civilian bystander dead.

November 12, 2014: In northwest Pakistan (Khyber, north of North Waziristan) aircraft and helicopters hit several targets (suspected Islamic terrorist hideouts) and killed at least 19 people.

November 11, 2014: In northwest Pakistan (North Waziristan) American UAVs fired missiles and killed four Islamic terrorists. The American UAV effort is concentrating on the small areas in North Waziristan where Islamic terrorists are still active. It is assumed that the Americans are sharing surveillance data with the Pakistanis, who are believed sharing information on which key Islamic terrorists are still up in the hills. Both nations deny any cooperation in the UAV program, but rumors and leaks indicate otherwise. At the same time the Pakistanis are upset at recent American accusations of Pakistani support for Islamic terrorists. This has never been a secret and has been going on since the 1970s. The Americans stand by their recent pronouncements on the subject. Indian officials go further and accuse the Pakistani military of creating Islamic terrorist groups to attack India and create tension between the two countries in order to maintain the disproportionate amount of the national wealth the Pakistani military receives. Many Pakistanis are beginning to believe this and that has the Pakistani generals more worried than terrorist violence. Despite the criticism, American military leaders have thanked the Pakistanis for their attacks on the Haqqani network in the five month offensive. The Americans note that this had led to a very obvious decline in Haqqani supported terrorist attacks in Afghanistan.

Elsewhere in northwest Pakistan Islamic terrorist attacks left five dead while tribal separatists in the southwest (Baluchistan) tried to kill a judge but only managed to kill a child and wound 25 other civilians.

In eastern India (Jharkhand) paramilitary police launched a major operation against local Maoists in order to disrupt efforts by the leftist rebels to interfere with upcoming elections.

November 10, 2014: In northwest Pakistan (North Waziristan) several clashes left four Islamic terrorists and two soldiers dead. Elsewhere in the northwest two roadside bombs killed six civilians.

November 9, 2014: In northwest Pakistan (Khyber, north of North Waziristan) aircraft and helicopters hit eleven targets (suspected Islamic terrorist hideouts) and killed at least 13 people.

In Kashmir Pakistani troops again violated the 2003 ceasefire agreement by firing on Indian troops across the LOC (Line of Control) with machine-guns and mortars. This incident lasted several hours and left a soldier and a civilian dead on the Indian side of the border. Indians responded with similar type weapons. There had been two similar incidents in the last week but neither of those caused casualties. The official Pakistani Army position is that India starts these incidents by firing first but there is little evidence of that and even the Pakistani government is at a loss as to why their military continues to allow these incidents to happen despite orders to maintain the ceasefire. India believes many of these attacks are used to distract Indian border guards to assist Islamic terrorists trying to cross the LOC. The Indians also believe a lot of this border violence is for Pakistani media, to keep Pakistanis fearful of war with India and prevent reforms in the Pakistani military (especially more civilian oversight) and cuts in the military budget. Meanwhile the Pakistanis will claim that any Indian return fire was “unprovoked”, especially if any Pakistani civilians (which the Pakistani army does not seem too concerned about) are killed by the return fire. These ceasefire violations have been particularly numerous in October and have caused over a hundred casualties, about 20 percent of them fatal. Most of those hurt have been military but nine civilians have been killed and nearly eighty wounded in the last month alone. This caused over 35,000 Indian civilians to flee the border area.

November 7, 2014: In northwest Pakistan (Khyber, north of North Waziristan) Islamic terrorists attacked soldiers but after several hours of fighting retreated, taking their dead and wounded with them. The army pursued and the next day found 17 bodies that the fleeing terrorists abandoned in order to escape the pursuit.

November 6, 2014: Off the east coast of India a navy support ship sank when it sprang a leak during a training exercise. Four of the 28 sailors on board died. This led to calls for more scrutiny of navy problems with maintaining their ships and training their personnel.

November 3, 2014: In eastern Afghanistan (Kunar) 17 rockets from Pakistan landed in remote areas, wounding two civilians. These rocket, mortar and artillery attacks from Pakistan have been particularly heavy in the last year. Pakistan refuses to admit they are even happening.

In eastern India (Chhattisgarh) police arrested two senior Maoist leaders. In nearby Jharkhand Maoists killed seven villagers. This sort of violence is increasingly common as rural people turn against the leftist rebels and the Maoists turn to terrorism to coerce rural people to not cooperate with the police. 

November 2, 2014: In eastern Pakistan (near Lahore) a terrorist bomb went off at the only official border crossing with India, killing 61 and wounding over 140. Nearly all the casualties were Pakistanis. Three Pakistani Taliban factions soon took credit for it and said it was aimed at India, even though it was on the Pakistan side of the border. Before the Pakistani terrorists took credit for the attack some Pakistanis were blaming India. Indian security officials do not believe the Pakistani Islamic terrorists have the ability to launch major attacks in India, especially after the five month offensive against Islamic terrorists in northwest Pakistan.

November 1, 2014:  In Pakistan casualties from terrorist violence were down nine percent in October versus September. In October there were 24 bomb attacks, three of them suicide attacks, which left 18 dead and 59 wounded.

In northwest Pakistan (Orakzai and Bajur) Islamic terrorist violence left 20 terrorists and six soldiers dead.

China scored another minor naval victory over India as word got out that Sri Lanka (the large island-nation off the southern tip of India) had agreed to let another Chinese nuclear sub visit. On September 25th, for the second time in a month a Chinese submarine visited Sri Lanka. The sub was a nuclear powered Type 091 and it was the first time a Chinese nuclear sub had visited Sri Lanka. Earlier in September a diesel-electric Type 039 visited. In 2013 China agreed, as part of a $2.2 billion loan for economic projects, to provide training for troops in Sri Lanka. This deal will also include delivery of more military equipment. Sri Lanka, which has long had tense relations with India, has become the beneficiary of Chinese economic and military aid over the last decade and has become very friendly with the Chinese. Sri Lanka received crucial military aid from China during the war with Tamil rebels (who received a lot of aid from Tamils in southern India and were finally defeated in 2009). India can't become too friendly with Sri Lanka without causing political problems with its own Tamils (many of whom still support the defeated Tamil rebels of Sri Lanka, where Tamils have long been a troublesome minority.)  

October 31, 2014: In eastern Afghanistan (Kunar) 11 rockets from Pakistan landed near two villages, wounding two civilians.

October 30, 2014: In northwest Pakistan (South Waziristan) American UAVs fired missiles and killed seven Islamic terrorists, including Haqqani network commander Abdullah Haqqani.

China protested the Indian decision to build 54 more border security bases along the Chinese border in northeastern India (Arunachal Pradesh). China claims that it owns Arunachal Pradesh and is willing to negotiate an Indian surrender of this territory. India is not interested in that sort of negotiation. Alarmed at the more than 340 Chinese border violations so far this year, India is forming 12 new border police battalions, each with about a thousand personnel. These will be posted on the 3,500 kilometer long border with Chinese Tibet. In 2013 there were 411 of these Chinese border violations, following 426 in 2012 and 213 in 2011.  Indians living in areas near the Chinese border are becoming more vocal about growing Chinese aggressiveness in asserting its claims. Recently there have been more Chinese protests against India building roads near the Chinese border in northeastern India. This involves an area that new (2014) Chinese maps show Indian territory claimed by China as actually being part of China and within China’s borders. This is just another escalation in a long-running border dispute over who owns areas like Arunachal Pradesh.  In this part of northeast India there are few, if any, ethnic Chinese. The locals know that a Chinese takeover would mean drastic changes because the first thing China does in places like this is move in a lot of ethnic (Han) Chinese and marginalize the natives. This rarely ends well for the locals. While these Chinese claims have been on the books for decades, since 2000 China has become more vocal about it. That's one reason India has been rapidly increasing its defense spending. But since both nations have nuclear weapons, a major war over these border disputes is unlikely. Constant Chinese pressure is another matter. China is applying the same tactic in all its recently activated territorial claims. Constant pressure while avoiding anything that might trigger a war is seen by China as a slow but certain way to secure its claims.

October 29, 2014: In northwest Pakistan (Khyber, north of North Waziristan) Islamic terrorists clashed with soldiers leaving 21 terrorists and eight soldiers dead.

 

 

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