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India-Pakistan: Making Treason Stick
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June 27, 2013: In Pakistan the civilian government has decided to prosecute former military dictator and army chief general Pervez Musharraf for treason (various crimes committed during and after his 1990 government takeover). This is a first in Pakistan, and it is feared that many other senior commanders will be dragged into the process and prosecuted as well (for working with Musharraf). This is a major threat to the military, where prosecution by civilian courts and obedience to elected governments was, until recently, unheard of. That is changing, but there remains the risk of the generals taking over, or trying to, once more.

China and India will hold border negotiations in China starting tomorrow. India continues to have problems with Chinese troops crossing the unofficial border both nations share. The negotiations mean to adjust the Tibet border (which a temporarily independent Tibet adjusted in India’s favor in 1914) to please both nations. There are many disputed portions along the 4,000 kilometer long frontier, most of them involving Chinese claims on territory India has occupied for a long time.

Just across the Pakistani border in Afghanistan, Afghan troops and Afghan Taliban have been attacking bases used by Pakistani Taliban. The Afghan security forces and the Taliban gunmen are not cooperating but they are both going after the Pakistani Taliban. This is apparently part of a deal the Afghan Taliban agreed to recently with the Pakistani Army for joint attacks on the Pakistani Taliban. The Afghan Taliban depends on a sanctuary it has in and around Quetta, the largest city in Baluchistan (southwest Pakistan). Quetta is safe because Pakistan will not let American UAVs to operate there. Quetta is where the Afghan Taliban leadership has been sheltered since 2002 and is right across the Afghan border from the Taliban heartland in Kandahar and Helmand provinces. Since the Afghan Taliban has not made (or sponsored) terrorist attacks inside Pakistan, there has been an unofficial truce with the Pakistani government. For over a year now the Pakistani military has been trying to persuade the Afghan Taliban to help deal with anti-Pakistan Islamic terrorists in Pakistan. Most of these attacks are carried out by factions belonging to the Pakistani Taliban. The Afghan Taliban were persuaded to help as long as they only had to attack the Pakistani Taliban inside Afghanistan. There was another reason for this as well. Pakistan assisted the Afghan Taliban in getting permission to open up an official office in the Persian Gulf state of Qatar recently. Pakistan has also persuaded some Islamic terror groups that operate mainly against India to join in attacking the Pakistani Taliban. In return for that Pakistan has increased its assistance in financing terrorist training camps near the Indian border and using Pakistani troops to fire on Indian border guards in order to help the Islamic terrorists get across the border into India.

These deals with the Afghan Taliban and Islamic terrorists who concentrate in India make it clear that, for Pakistan, the main enemy is India and that the Taliban (of whatever flavor) are simply another weapon in their arsenal. Thus there is growing cooperation between Afghanistan and India because the Afghans see Pakistan as their most dangerous foe. The Taliban were created by Pakistan to gain a greater degree of control over Afghanistan and the Afghans will never forgive Pakistan for that.  

In southwest Pakistan (Quetta, the provincial capital of Baluchistan) a suicide bomber and a nearby civilian were killed at a bus stop when the explosive vest the bomber was carrying (not wearing) went off. This was apparently not intended and the terrorists was either on his way to use the vest himself or delivering it to someone who would.

June 26, 2013: Bangladesh has agreed to participate in a Chinese project that would build a highway from southwestern China (Kunmin) through Burma and Bangladesh to eastern India (West Bengal). This is an outgrowth of an earlier Chinese effort to rebuild the World War II "Stillwell (or Ledo) Road," from northeast India into Burma. That road was originally, in 1942, built to replace the "Burma Road" that got Allied military aid to Chinese troops fighting the Japanese. But Japan captured Burma in 1942 and cut that connection. The new Burma Road was to bypass India and just go from China into Burma. India was not happy about being left out and now everyone seems onboard for this project. The new road will be of great benefit for all areas it passes through, as it will make trade and travel with China cheaper and more convenient. Previously India was concerned about the military implications, but now trade looms larger than potential Chinese invasion. Pakistan is trying to interest China in building a similar road, and railroad, to Pakistani ports. So far China has not been interested, probably because the Pakistan route goes through more difficult (and expensive to build in) terrain and the security situation in Pakistan is much less stable than in Indian, Burma, and Bangladesh. China is particularly angry about how three of its citizens were recently murdered at a mountain climbing base camp in northern Pakistan.

In Kashmir Pakistani troops opened fire across the LOC (Line of Control, the unofficial border separating Indian and Pakistani portions of Kashmir) despite a cease fire arranged after the similar attacks yesterday. Inside Indian Kashmir Islamic terrorists murdered a local pro-Indian politician.

In Karachi (Pakistan) Islamic terrorists attempted to kill a senior judge with a roadside bomb. The judge escaped injury but nine others in his convoy, or nearby civilians, were killed

June 25, 2013: In Kashmir Pakistani troops opened fire across the Line of Control from several of their border posts. Indian troops returned fire and it soon became apparent that this was another attempt by Pakistani troops to create a diversion while Islamic terrorists (four of them this time) sneaked into Indian Kashmir. While the ceasefire between Pakistan and India has greatly reduced the violence along the border, there is still shooting. The Indian troops usually fire back and Pakistan will often try to create an issue out of that, claiming that the Indians started it all.

In Pakistan's tribal territories (Khyber) a suicide bomber attacked a funeral, killing 29 people. One of the victims (believed to be the main target) was a recently elected member of parliament. There were over 800 people at the funeral service.

Indian and American military commanders met in Hawaii to discuss how the two countries could cooperate to deal with growing Chinese military power and aggression in waters off China and the Indian Ocean.

In eastern India (Bihar) about twenty Maoists dressed in police uniforms attacked the home of a bank executive and killed two people. The Maoists are generally hostile to banks and accuse them of exploiting the poor.

June 24, 2013: In India, Kashmir two Islamic terrorists ambushed an army convoy killing eight soldiers and wounding 19. This was the most damaging such attack in a long time. So far this year thirty Indian soldiers have been killed in Kashmir, as Pakistan has increased its efforts to sneak Islamic terrorists into the area. The terrorists are housed and trained in camps across the LOC in Pakistan. The violence had been declining in the last decade as Indian security measures became more effective and Pakistan finally agreed to talk peace. But pro-terrorism commanders in the Pakistani military and intelligence agencies (ISI) appear to have gained more influence of late and the Islamic terrorists have become more active. This is seen as a Pakistani tactic to encourage more Islamic terror groups to make peace with Pakistan and halt their attacks inside Pakistan. These terrorists are angry at Pakistani cooperation with Western (especially American) antiterrorism efforts. Some of the local Islamic radicals also want Pakistan run by a religious dictatorship, not a democracy. That only appeals to a minority of Pakistanis, but this is a radicalized minority that accepts the use of terror to achieve their goals. The Pakistani government hopes to isolate these radicals by offering other radicals more assistance in getting into India and making attacks there. This is all unofficial, of course, as Pakistan has never admitted that it is sponsoring Islamic terrorism, especially groups operating against India. This stance has been the source of growing embarrassment as more and more evidence piles up proving Pakistani involvement.

June 23, 2013: In southwest Pakistan (Baluchistan) the army launched another major search operation against tribal rebels. Locals complained that the troops were firing indiscriminately at unarmed people. This is a common complaint during such operations.

In eastern India (Jharkhand) police arrested a local Maoist commander, one of his followers and captured weapons and a large quantity of bomb making equipment.

June 22, 2013: In northern Pakistan fifteen Taliban, disguised as local tribal paramilitary police (the Gilgit Scouts), hiked two days up to a complex of base camps for foreign mountain climbers and killed nine of them (including American, Chinese, Lithuanian, Nepali, Slovakian, and Ukrainian victims) along with a Pakistani cook. Many potential victims managed to flee. Northern Pakistan contains some of the highest, and most difficult to climb, mountains in the world. The area had always been quiet and safe and the government encouraged the development of tourism. Foreign climbers were particularly attracted to the remote area and their visits have become a major part of the local economy. For a while, at least, that is all gone. Even Pakistani tourists are cancelling. Many non-climbers, especially Pakistanis, came to the area for its cooler weather in Summer and reputation for safety from terrorism and crime. After this recent attack the government managed to get all the other foreign climbers off the mountains and back to safety. Soldiers and police are searching the area for the attackers, who will have a hard time evading detection. Satellite phones got word of the attack out quickly and the site of the crime had few escape routes. For now, and the next few years, the economic damage is done and the locals will suffer a sharp decline in living standards until tourists return. That can take a few years, or longer if the Taliban continue operating in this area. A Taliban faction took credit for the attack and said it was revenge for a fatal UAV attack against one of their leaders last month.

June 19, 2013: In Pakistan's tribal territories (outside Peshawar) Islamic terrorists ambushed an army convoy and killed six soldiers. Some of the attackers were killed or wounded but they all got away before army reinforcements arrived.

June 16, 2013: In northeastern Pakistan (Swabi) two more volunteer health workers were killed by Islamic terrorists because the victims were immunizing children against polio. The Islamic terrorists consider these immunization efforts un-Islamic.

June 15, 2013: In southwest Pakistan (Baluchistan) 23 people were killed (including 14 female college students) by two terrorist attacks in the Quetta (the provincial capital). A faction of the Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility. This group usually attacks local Shia, but in this case they managed to mainly kill local Sunnis. The Taliban agree with al Qaeda that women should not be educated and that Shia are heretics who must die.

 

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