India-Pakistan: The North Waziristan Attitude Adjustment

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March 17, 2016: For the last two weeks police throughout northern India have been on the alert for ten Islamic terrorists who are reported to have recently entered the country via boat from Pakistan. The ten were recently spotted Gujarat and three have been cornered and killed (after they would not surrender). Fir India most of the Islamic terrorist related violence continues to occur in the northwest (Kashmir) where Pakistan supported Islamic terrorists keep trying (and increasingly failing) to cross the heavily guarded border and maintain Islamic terrorist activity in Kashmir. India continues pressuring Pakistan to shut down the Pakistan based Islamic terror groups that specialize in attacking India. Pakistan has unofficially agreed to crack down on groups that seek to operate outside of Indian Kashmir, thus the latest unofficial help. But there are still over a dozen Islamic terrorist training camps In Pakistani Kashmir to support operations in Kashmir. These Islamic terror groups have a lot of fans inside Pakistan, especially with senior military and intelligence officers.

That is why Pakistan based Islamic terrorists continue fighting along the Kashmir border and on the Indian side of the border as well. In effect there is a new agreement in which India shares intelligence with Pakistan about Islamic terrorism that actually works. India has a lot of terror related intel that Pakistan does not have. Thus the major factor here is ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) recently showing up in Pakistan and Afghanistan as well as continued attacks inside Pakistan by Pakistani Islamic terrorists who are not suitably grateful for the decades of support the Pakistani military and intelligence (ISI) have provided.

This change in attitude is another side effect of the Pakistani military operations in North Waziristan. This has been going on since mid-2014 and has allowed the army to examine a lot of mosques and religious schools (madrasas) that had long been off-limits to the security forces. What was found was ample evidence that many mosques and most madrasas were basically part of an extensive Islamic terrorist infrastructure. The madrasas not only indoctrinated Moslem boys to be Islamic terrorists but took those who agreed to be killers and trained them. Mosques and madrasas were also found to have hidden (at least from public view) rooms for storing weapons, building bombs, training Islamic terrorists and housing veteran (but wanted) Islamic terrorists. In other words, what was found in North Waziristan changed minds among Pakistani officers who were either neutral on Islamic terrorism (at least when it was outside Pakistan) or enthusiastic supporters. There were also a lot of documents captured in these Islamic terrorist hideouts and hundreds of Islamic terrorists were captured and talked. So did many local civilians who had long been silent because the Islamic terrorists executed (or worse) informers. All this evidence said the same thing; the Islamic terrorists were far more powerful and numerous than thought and many of them were willing to destroy Pakistan in an effort to turn the country into a religious dictatorship.

This attitude adjustment also led to Pakistani officials admitting that they had provided sanctuary for the Afghan Taliban since 2002. This has long been common knowledge but until recently no one in the Pakistani government would admit it. This new openness was also facilitated by revelations that most of the civilians in North Waziristan, when allowed to give an honest opinion, said they backed the American use of UAVs to find and kill Islamic terrorist leaders. While this sometimes caused civilian casualties it mainly hurt the Islamic terrorists and civilians quietly approved of this. Some even risked their lives to provide targeting information for these UAV attacks. The same thing happened in Afghanistan, where U.S. officers were often approached by tribal leaders asking for more aerial efforts to find and attack Islamic terrorists. In Afghanistan it was widely known that over 80 percent of civilian casualties were from Taliban violence, which was often used to force civilians to support the Islamic terrorists or to punish real or imagined government informants. Since the Taliban worked closely with the drug gangs (which were very unpopular in Afghanistan) there was a lot of popular hostility towards Islamic terrorists in general. But in both countries the Islamic terrorists could bribe or intimidate the mass media to play down this lack of popular support and make more noise about American missiles killing innocent civilians.

India continues having success against the three internal threats (Islamic terrorism, tribal separatists and communist rebels). Together these three conflicts killed 772 people in India in 2015. This is a major decline since over the last decade these three conflicts have killed nearly 20,000 people (34 percent Islamic terrorists, 31 percent tribal separatists and 35 percent communist rebels). Actually that only accounts for about 99 percent of the deaths, most of the rest were caused by Hindu nationalists. So far this year the cause of deaths was 18 percent Islamic terrorists, 15 percent tribal separatists and 56 percent communist rebels. Overall violence is way down in all three areas. The Maoists are reorganizing and desperately trying to avoid eradication and they have been more successful at adapting than Islamic terrorists and tribal separatists. Like the other two groups the Maoists continue to decline in number and the amount of violence they cause. While much of the Islamic terrorism can be blamed on Pakistan all three of these conflicts are sustained by the corruption and poor government that has long proved difficult to deal with. Most Indians are unhappy about that, despite progress being made. That seems to account for the declining number of Indians willing to kill and die in an effort to solve these problems.

Pakistan has also greatly reduced it Islamic terrorism problem, which has always accounted for nearly all the terrorism related violence in Pakistan. In the last decade Pakistan has suffered more than twice as many of these deaths than India, which has six times more people. Thus on a per-capital basis Pakistan has about fifteen times as many such deaths as India. But attitudes are changing in Pakistan and the supporters of Islamic terrorism are on the defensive and Islamic terrorism related deaths are down more than fifty percent since the government decided to shut down the major Islamic terrorist sanctuary in North Waziristan with a major mid-2014 invasion. But there is still a lot of support for Islamic terrorism in Pakistan and it will take over a decade of additional effort to reduce such violence to Indian levels.

And then there is China. Pakistan imported $735 million in weapons in 2015. Most (76 percent) were from China while nine percent were from the United States. Pakistan is the largest export customer for Chinese weapons. Indian military leaders openly admit that India could not handle a war with China and Pakistan at the same time. That is one reason China is so helpful to Pakistan economically and militarily.

March 16, 2016: In northwest Pakistan (Peshawar) a bomb planted in a bus killed 15 government employees. This happened in a neighborhood containing many government and military installations. The Taliban was suspected but no one has taken credit for this yet.

March 13, 2016: India reports that its border forces have spotted Chinese troops on the Pakistani side of the LOC (Line of Control) in Kashmir. Chinese troops often cross the border in the nearby Indian state of Ladakh (northwest India). The Chinese are apparently in Pakistani Kashmir to work on the Karakoram Highway which connects Pakistan and China via Pakistani Kashmir and some of the roughest terrain in the world. Trade between Pakistan and China is increasing and the 1,800 kilometer long Karakoram Highway has been undergoing upgrades since 2010 to increase capacity. These improvements also make it possible for China to move military forces into northern Pakistan more quickly, something the Pakistanis like because it scares India. The highway was built largely by China and opened in 1979 after over a decade of effort.

March 11, 2016: In northwest Pakistan (Peshawar) a Taliban death squad killed another senior army officer as he left a mosque after prayers.

March 7, 2016: In northwest Pakistan (a town outside Peshawar) a Taliban suicide bomber got inside a courts compound and killed 17 people and wounded twenty. The military responded by increasing ground and air attacks in the Shawal valley (about 100 kilometers southwest of Miramshah, the largest city in North Waziristan) and killing at least 20 Islamic terrorists over the next 48 hours. Shawal has long been one of the most popular areas for Islamic terrorists in North Waziristan. The valley is rugged, remote and hard for troops to operate in. Pakistani bombers and American UAVs are still hitting the valley hard because it is one of the few places in North Waziristan where Islamic terrorists are still active, in part because the Afghanistan border is so close.

March 4, 2016: In south Yemen (the port of Aden) a group of ISIL gunmen attacked an old age home run by an Indian charity. The Islamic terrorists killed 16 people (including four elderly Indian nuns) and kidnapped an Indian priest. AQAP promptly denied any involvement but ISIL said nothing and there were soon rumors that ISIL had the Indian priest.

March 2, 2016: In eastern Afghanistan (Nangarhar province) Islamic terrorists tried to attack the Indian consulate but failed. Four of the attackers died and eight people in the vicinity were wounded. ISIL was believed responsible, as they were for a January Indian consulate attack.

March 1, 2016: In northwest Pakistan (Peshawar) two Pakistanis working for the local American consulate were killed by a roadside bomb, along with several soldiers. The consulate employees were working on an anti-drug operation.

February 24, 2016: In the eastern Afghanistan (Nangarhar Province) ten ISIL members surrendered and accused Pakistan of supplying ISIL forces in Afghanistan with weapons. Pakistan denies such charges but then Pakistan has long denied any connections with the Afghan Taliban despite the ample evidence that ISI (the Pakistani CIA) created the Taliban in the early 1990s and Pakistan has been supporting Islamic terrorism since the late 1970s. Since 2001 more and more evidence of this Pakistani perfidy has come to light. For example, officially Pakistan still denies that they sheltered Osama bin Laden, but it’s no secret that Pakistan still tolerates sanctuaries for all manner of Islamic terrorists who operate inside Afghanistan. So even if Pakistan is not supporting ISIL, a lot of people on both sides of the border have no problem believing otherwise.

February 23, 2016: In eastern Pakistan (Karachi) security forces carried out a series of raids that found two Islamic terrorist hideouts. The men found there would not surrender and twelve were killed in gun battles. Two police officers were wounded and many weapons and bomb making materials were seized. Other evidence indicated that the dead men were responsible for several recent attacks against civilians and security forces.

 

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