In northwest Pakistan most of the fighting has shifted from North Waziristan to nearby Khyber where, in the last few months the army has killed nearly 300 Islamic terrorists and lost 35 soldiers. This battle has become more intense of late as the army sought to block the Tirah Valley, which was the main route the Islamic terrorists used to get into and out of neighboring Afghanistan. The ferocity of this campaign is in part because of continued anger at the Taliban attack on a school in December that left over 140 (mostly kids) dead. The fighting in North Waziristan has left over 2,200 Islamic terrorists dead since mid-2014, as well as over 200 soldiers and police.
Pakistani intelligence (ISI) and the army have apparently ordered the Islamic terrorists they support in Kashmir to avoid attacking civilians and concentrate on members of the security forces. This is a result of increased ISIL violence against Moslems (which is unpopular with Moslems in general) and the failure of the use of coercion by Islamic terrorists to change the minds of Moslems in Indian Kashmir who have lost faith in the three decades of Pakistan sponsored violence. Pakistan has been trying to use Islamic terrorism to defeat India, expel all non-Moslems from the area and unite all of Kashmir under Pakistani rule. For many of these civilians that is no longer seen as a desirable option. Independence is popular but unlikely as both Pakistan and India oppose it. The Kashmiri Moslems know that most of the violence and civilian casualties is the result of Pakistan sponsored Islamic terrorists. In the last few years the Islamic terrorists have been using force to try and persuade Kashmiri Moslems to more actively support the use of terrorism in the area. But the civilians have, after three decades of this, grown tired of the constant violence and resulting economic disruption and poverty. So the ISI decided to try to reduce civilian casualties. That will be difficult to do as attacks on soldiers and police often have to be carried out in urban areas where there are lots of civilian bystanders.
Afghanistan is working directly with Pakistan to get the government and military there to shut down all Pakistan based Islamic terrorists groups. Groups like the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani Network have long enjoyed sanctuary in Pakistan, but long if they made no attacks inside Pakistan. The Pakistani military and the ISI (the Pakistani CIA) are the main supporters of the Afghan Taliban, Haqqani Network and other groups that only attack outside Pakistan (mostly inside Afghanistan and India). Getting the Pakistani government to agree to shut down these terror groups is easy, getting the Pakistani military to actually do it is another matter because in Pakistan the military and ISI can defy government orders and only a major change in public opinion towards Islamic terrorism will generate enough pressure to get the military and ISI to back down. That pressure has been building since 2001 as Islamic terrorist violence inside Pakistan became more intense and more Pakistanis turned against this religious violence. But pro-Islamic terror Pakistanis are still a large, stubborn and often violent minority. Eliminating support for Islamic terrorism in Pakistan is a slow process and no one has come up with a way to speed it up.
Meanwhile Afghanistan sees the Pakistani success in North Waziristan and Khyber resulting in a lot of these Islamic terror organizations simply moving across the border to Afghanistan. This has led to a lot more violence and counter-terror operations in eastern Afghanistan and Afghan requests that the America keep their troops strength up (to 10,000) for at least a year is one of the responses. Afghanistan also wants Pakistan to help the Afghans deal with Islamic terror groups that have long worked for Pakistan but have now relocated to Afghanistan. At the moment Pakistan is leaving alone Islamic terrorists who specialize in attacking India no matter where they are.
In Pakistan the government has executed over 60 people (most of them Islamic terrorists) since it decided on December 17 to lift the six year old ban on executions. This change was because of that December terror attack on a school that killed 132 children. Pakistan has over 8,000 people in prison with death sentences. Nearly half of them are their because of terrorist activities and the government said it would execute many of them. Islamic terrorist groups are scrambling to try and bribe or intimidate judges to prevent the execution of at least some of the condemned. Apparently the Islamic terrorists have had little success in halting the executions, although at this rate it will take over 20 years to kill everyone on death row. Meanwhile prison officials are double checking the identities of those awaiting execution because of a growing scandal involving criminals paying other men to take their place in jail and serve their sentences for them. It is unlikely that this would happen with someone on death row, but in Pakistan anything is possible.
Indian effort to build six French Scorpene submarines under license has been delayed once again. The previous delay was in late 2014 when India said the first Scorpene would enter service in late 2016. Before that (2012) it was announced that the first Scorpene sub would not be ready until 2015. The most recent delays (caused by problems procuring components) will delay the first Scorpene until 2017, or later. The problem is mainly poor management by the Indian firms building the Scorpenes. One of the worst examples of this occurred in 2013 with the abrupt departure of ten Spanish technical advisors essential for getting the Scorpenes built. Their contract expired at the end of March 2013 and, despite the expiration date being well known, Indian bureaucrats were unable to get a new contract in place on time. Similar avoidable delays have occurred several times already and the price has gone up with each delay.
India has joined Burma in pressuring China to do something about the continued shipments of Chinese weapons to tribal rebels in northern Burma and northeast India. China denies this is happening and points out that many Burmese rebels have long used Chinese weapons they bought from illegal dealers in China and then smuggled into Burma. China also points out that Burmese troops also use Chinese weapons. Burma and India counter that the rebels in both countries are using weapons China did not sell to the Burmese Army. Moreover these Chinese weapons (often older and cheaper designs) are showing up worldwide in the hands of rebels, terrorists and gangsters. The point here is that China is looking the other way as a huge illegal arms sales and smuggling operation goes about its business. China is in the midst of a major corruption crackdown so these complaints from Burma and India might be addressed this time around. Then again, maybe not.
Indian intelligence analysts have examined a large number of documents seized from Maoists and obtained a good idea of Maoist strategy past and future. It was confirmed that Maoist expansion efforts in the last few years have been thwarted. A lot of what the analysts have found matches more tangible date. Since its peak in 2010 leftist (mostly Maoist) terrorism related deaths have gone from 1,180 down to 314 in 2014. The decline was most precipitous (49 percent) in 2011, but continued over the next three years. That meant a 39 percent decline in deaths in 2012, an unexpected 15 percent increase in 2013 followed by a 25 percent decline in 2014. The decline is expected to continue and more Maoists are deserting, surrendering or, if they are leaders, warming to the calls for peace talks.
A recent analysis of the security situation worldwide resulted in a list of the most dangerous countries. These were (starting with the most dangerous); Iraq, Syria, Nigeria, Somalia, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, Pakistan, Ukraine and Egypt. Studies like this are done mainly to find the least violent nations. This provides investors and tourists with useful information. For a long time Pakistan has been regarded as an unpromising place to invest, mainly because of the corruption. The Islamic terrorist violence simply provides another good reason to say away.
The U.S. has approved a Pakistani request for $953 million in military equipment and services. This includes AH-1Z helicopter gunships and a thousand Hellfire missiles.
Pakistan announced that it had put the locally made Burraq UAVs into service during March and that this aircraft had used the locally made Barq laser-guided missile against Islamic terrorists. Pakistan first announced in late 2013 that the Burraq was flying but since then there has been no mention of this UAV actually being used in a combat zone. Pakistan has used some foreign (mostly Chinese) made UAVs in the last decade without much success. Burraq appears similar to the U.S. Army RQ-7B Shadow 200. The 470 kg (1,034 pound) Burraq has an endurance of 12 hours. The Burraq is very similar to the Chinese CH-3 and can carry a pair of Chinese missiles that are similar to the American Hellfire. Descriptions of Barq indicate it is very similar to Chinese AR-1 which, in turn, is often referred to in the West as a Hellfire clone. There is nothing particularly high-tech about the basic Hellfire. More recent models have some advanced technology in their guidance systems but for use against Islamic terrorists you don’t need that stuff. There are still some American UAV missile attacks in Pakistan but a lot more are taking place just across the border in Afghanistan. This has made life precarious for Pakistani Islamic terrorists fleeing the army offensive in North Waziristan and Khyber.
April 8, 2015: The UN has approved sanctions against Pakistani Taliban leader Mullah Fazlullah. This follows Afghanistan, Pakistan and the United States agreeing in January to cooperate in finding and killing Mullah Fazlullah, who is believed to operate from a hideout in Kunar province (eastern Afghanistan on the Pakistan border). All three countries now pool their intel on Fazlullah while the Americans will seek to kill Fazlullah as soon as he is found (before he can find another hiding place) using missile armed UAVs. This sudden cooperation over Fazlullah is the result of Pakistanis capturing radio messages in which Fazlullah can be heard directing the December Taliban attack on a Pakistani school that left 132 children dead.
Iran and Pakistan announced they would cooperate to achieve a peaceful end to the violence in Yemen. The Sunni Arabs in Arabia (especially Saudi Arabia) are furious at the Pakistanis (who are mostly Sunni and consider themselves major defenders of Islam) for siding with Shia Iran. Pakistan believes it is being neutral but the Sunni Arabs don’t see it that way.
April 7, 2015: A group of armed Bangladeshi border guards entered India and travelled ten kilometers to a village where they shot two Indian men and took one of them back to Bangladesh where the Indian man died. Indian police were alerted quickly and eventually discovered that the dead man was a notorious smuggler who had made some Bangladesh border guards angry enough to cause an international incident. Smuggling is big business in this part of the world and the border guards are sometimes involved. It is unclear if that was the case here.
April 6, 2015: In Indian Kashmir Islamic terrorist attacks left three policemen dead.
Iran reported that Baluchi rebels from a base in Pakistan had crossed the border and killed eight Iranian border guards. The Baluchi gunmen fled back into Pakistan after this clash. Iran protested the inability of Pakistan to control violence by violent outlaw Sunni groups. The Baluchi rebels are terrorists, but for political rather than religious reasons. This makes little difference to Iran which is also angry at the growing number of attacks by Pakistani Sunni Islamic terrorists against Pakistani Shia. Earlier this year one of these attacks, on a mosque, 69 dead. Such attacks on Pakistani Shia are a regular occurrence that Iran keeps demanding Pakistan do more to prevent.
April 5, 2015: Pakistan told Iran that it would not, despite pleas from Saudi Arabia, join the Saudi led coalition (Qatar, UAE, Kuwait, Egypt, Sudan, Bahrain, Morocco, Jordan, and Egypt) fighting Shia rebels in Yemen. At the same time Pakistan assured Saudi Arabia that Pakistan would provide military assistance if the territory of Saudi Arabia were invaded. That would only happen if Iran attacked as the Yemeni Shia rebels know that, for them, such a move would be counterproductive. In Early
March Saudi Arabia had asked Pakistan to join a Sunni Arab coalition against Iranian aggression and send warplanes, warships and a brigade of troops to help deal with the Shia rebellion in Yemen. Pakistan declined apparently not willing to antagonize Iran. Pakistan got a similar request in 1979 when Shia clergy led a revolution against the Iranian monarchy and talked of attacking the Sunni Arab states. For most of the 1980s Pakistan had an armor brigade stationed in Saudi Araba and served as a threat to eastern Iran, which borders Pakistan. Since then Pakistan and the Shia religious dictatorship in Iran have learned to get along. About 20 percent of Pakistanis are Shia and Pakistan has its hands full trying to halt Sunni Islamic terrorists from attacking those Shia. Those attacks anger Iran and Pakistan does not want to make that worse.
April 4, 2015: India and Japan announced negotiations were underway to see how the two could cooperate militarily and diplomatically to resist Chinese aggression. India is particularly alarmed at the Chinese practice of dredging enough sand from around underwater reefs to create a tiny island and then claim that island gives China ownership of that particular patch of ocean. India sees China as likely to do this in the Indian Ocean near India.
April 3, 2015: In eastern India (Bihar) police found a Maoist hideout and seized 100 kg (220 pounds) of explosives, over 2,000 detonators and many bomb making components as well as some weapons, ammo and other equipment.
April 2, 2015: Pakistan signed an agreement to buy eight Chinese diesel-electric submarines for $625 million each. China has finally found export customers for its diesel-electric submarines. Not just one customer but several. In late December 2014 China agreed to sell Bangladesh two Type 035G subs for $103 million each. For over a year China and Pakistan have been negotiating prices and terms for the sale of more advanced Chinese subs. The high price indicates the sale is for Type 041s although there has been no official announcement yet about the details of this sale. At first it was believed that Pakistan wanted six subs, but the final deal specified eight. Currently the Pakistani Navy has five submarines. The Type 041s have the most modern equipment including an AIP propulsion system that enables these boats to stay under water for more than a week at a time. This contract is the largest arms purchase Pakistan has ever made from China. Then again Pakistan has long been the biggest customer for Chinese weapons, accounting for 40 percent of Chinese weapons exports over the last five years. China has been supplying about half of Pakistani weapons imports during this period, with the United States supplying most of the rest. Despite this sale many Pakistani admirals believe their combat capabilities are declining because there is not enough money to maintain the fleet and pay for training (which means lots of time at sea).
In Yemen a Chinese ship left Yemen after taking on 225 foreigners from Pakistan (mostly), Ethiopia, Singapore, Italy, Germany, Poland, Ireland, Britain and Canada. Yemen has asked China to do this as airports were being shut down by the fighting and getting foreigners out by sea was the only option. China had sent a ship to evacuate its own people and 571 Chinese had already boarded when it was decided to take on foreigners as well. This was the first time China had ever helped evacuate non-Chinese from a trouble spot. Major powers often do this because no one else is available to do so. In this case the foreigners were taken across the Gulf of Aden and disembarked in Djibouti which is at peace and has an international airport. Pakistan has gotten over 500 of its people out by airplane by March 29th but after that date the airports were no longer available.
April 1, 2015: In Pakistan police arrested two North Korean diplomats who were caught illegally selling alcoholic beverages. In most Moslem countries the sale of alcoholic beverages are forbidden or very restricted. This is not the first time for North Korea as there diplomats in Pakistan were caught selling alcohol in 2013 as well. Since the diplomats have diplomatic immunity all the host country can do is expel them. North Korean diplomats are notorious crooks and since the 1990s have been caught smuggling or distributing drugs and counterfeit currency as well. More recently they have used their diplomatic immunity to smuggle illegal items. In most countries where North Korean diplomats are most active local police pay special attention to the North Koreans. Other nations react by severely limiting the number of North Korea diplomats admitted and given diplomatic immunity. In severe cases the North Korean embassy gets shut down and all North Koreans expelled. This keeps North Korea on good behavior, or at least urging its diplomats to try harder to not get caught. But the gangster diplomats are still a major source of foreign currency and useful contacts with powerful foreign gangsters so they remain at work. These arrests show that the North Koreans are no longer considered valuable suppliers of badly needed military technology.
March 31, 2015: In eastern India (Chhattisgarh) a senior Maoist leader was killed in clash with paramilitary police.
March 24, 2015: In eastern India (Chhattisgarh) there were two separate attacks by Maoists, leaving one civilian and one policeman dead. In a third incident Maoists attacked a truck carrying supplies for a police battalion and got away with the truck and its cargo of food.
March 23, 2015: China has agreed to halt its aggressive activities along the Indian border and work out a new set of rules on how the two countries would conduct security operations there. India has been accusing China of continuing to violate a 2013 agreement that was supposed to halt the Chinese troop incursions across the LAC (Line of Actual Control) into Indian territory. While Indian and Chinese officers continued to meet regularly to discuss the matter the Chinese violations continued. The LAC is also known as the MacCartney-MacDonald Line and is the unofficial border between India and China. The LAC is 4,057 kilometers long and is found in the Indian States of Ladakh, Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Himachal, and Arunachal. On the Chinese side it is mostly Tibet. China claims much territory that is now considered part of India. There have been hundreds of armed confrontations over the last few years as one side or the other accuses “foreign troops” of crossing the LAC. China has long been willing to talk with India over the claims on Indian territory but refused to reduce the aggressive tactics. That appears to have changed, perhaps. The Chinese aggression made India, which has a defense budget one third that of China’s, nervous.
March 22, 2015: In northwest Pakistan the army began a new offensive against several thousand Islamic terrorists in the Khyber region (right next to North Waziristan). Over the next few days this led to over a hundred Islamic terrorists dying from land and air attacks. Since late 2014 more Islamic terrorist violence has been occurring in the Khyber region where many Islamic terrorists have fled to from North Waziristan offensive that began in June 2014. In Khyber some groups of Islamic terrorists were 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.
March 21, 2015: In Indian Kashmir two Islamic terrorists attacked an army camp and were quickly killed before they could cause any damage.
In eastern India (Bihar) police found a Maoist hideout and seized half a ton of explosives and many bomb making components as well as some weapons and other equipment.
March 20, 2015:
China has agreed to supply Pakistan with two more nuclear power plants, each generating 1,100 megawatts, for about $5 billion each. This would give Pakistan five nuclear power plants. China will provide loans to help Pakistan get this project going.
In Indian Kashmir two Islamic terrorists that had just crossed the Pakistani border, attacked a police station. Both the attackers and two policemen were killed.