January 29, 2009:
After two decades of effort, Islamic terrorists have been defeated in Kashmir. Located in northwestern India, the state of Kashmir has been the source of several wars, and constant violence, between India and Pakistan, over the last sixty years. In the late 1980s, Pakistan began supporting Islamic terrorists, believing that a terrorism campaign in Kashmir would drive the Indians, and non-Moslems out. It didnt. But year by year, the violence got worse, peaking in 2001, when 4,507 (62 percent of them terrorists) died in Kashmir (an area with about ten million population). The U.S. declaring war on Islamic terrorism in 2001, and enlisting Pakistan as an ally, hurt the terrorists in Kashmir, by reducing the support the Pakistani government provided.
At the same time, the Indian counter-terrorism effort was getting larger, smarter, better equipped and more vigorous. Thus for the last eight years, terrorist activity, and terrorism related deaths, have plummeted in Kashmir. Last year, total deaths were 541, 70 percent of them terrorists. This was also the first year on over a decade where civilian deaths (69) were under a hundred. Same with security forces dead (90). The war in Kashmir has killed over 40,000 people so far.
The new elected Pakistani government ended a decade of military rule last year, and that led to less support for Kashmiri terrorists. The Kashmir terrorism effort has a lot of popular support in Pakistan, because many Pakistanis believe Kashmir should be a Moslem state under Islamic rule. But Islamic terrorism has been declining in popularity, and it's become pretty obvious that the largely Moslem population of Kashmir was tired of all the violence, and no obvious progress (other than ruin the once prosperous economy, and drive many of the non-Moslems out of the area.)
India believes there are still a few hundred Islamic terrorists in Kashmir, about half of them from Pakistan, and the rest locals. In the face of this trend, two years ago, India reorganized its security forces in Kashmir. Kashmir currently has 65,000 police, 23,000 Special Police and 40,000 part time security personnel (guarding 3,000 villages). Moreover, two army corps are stationed there as well. The current security force is mainly be 200,000 locally recruited police, in fifty battalions.
India has, over the past few years, bought thermal sensors, and much other security equipment, from Israel. This gear has made it impossible for the terrorists to move across the border along the easiest routes. The more difficult routes become impossible if the snow is deep enough, as it was this year. India believes there are still several hundred Islamic terrorists waiting, on the Pakistani side of the border, to attempt a crossing. Some of the terrorists will make it, although the terrain, and Indian patrols, will get most of them.
In the last four years, terrorist organizations in Kashmir have suffered such heavy losses (2,400 dead), that many of the leaders were forced to undertake dangerous missions that subordinates previously took care of. This resulted in over 130 terrorist leaders being killed or captured in the last two years. This has left the terrorists either leaderless, or commanded by men with little experience. Thus Islamic terrorists failed to carry out an intimidation campaign to prevent Kashmiris from voting in elections at the end of 2008. The turnout was large, and the pro-Indian candidates prevailed. Terrorist activity is down about 90 percent from seven years ago. The Moslem population is still angry, and is now demanding more autonomy. But the violence is now largely confined to demonstrations and angry speeches, rather than assassinations and bombings.
The terrorist camps are still active across the border (the Line of Control) in Pakistan. There are 45 camps, and local Pakistani troops are on good terms with the Islamic terrorists. However, several years of peace talks between India and Pakistan has reduced the hostility of the Pakistani troops manning the Line of Control. Last year, there was only about one ceasefire violation a week (usually Pakistani troops firing a few shots at Indian bunkers.
The terrorists in Pakistan have been recruiting more women, who can more easily get through Indian security. But the Indians quickly caught on to this ploy, and have been catching most of the female terrorists sent over. The new Pakistani government has still not agreed to shut down the terrorist camps in their half of Kashmir, and that's the only thing that will reduce the terrorist activity to nearly nothing.