India-Pakistan: The Troubled Tribal Territories


March 12, 2007: While there are fewer Islamic terrorists crossing from northern Pakistan into the Indian half of Kashmir, there are still dozens of these men operating against Indian security forces in Kashmir. The Indians are getting an increasing number of tips from Moslems villagers, and going after the Islamic radicals who try to hide out among the mostly Moslem population of Kashmir. Because of the increasing hostility of the Moslem civilians, the Islamic radicals have been using more terror against Moslems. This has produced a downward spiral of support for the Islamic terrorists.

March 11, 2007: Maoist rebels in India are concentrating their combat operations in the eastern India states of Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand. There, two thirds of the 1,509 Maoist attacks in the last year occurred. These left 750 people dead (a third of them rebels, the rest civilians and security personnel.) The government has sent 33 additional battalions of security troops to the area, and another 29 battalions are on the way. The government is also spending half a billion dollars on infrastructure in the area, to address some of the social ills the communists are exploiting. March 10, 2007: Despite efforts to keep it quiet, information about NATO and American raids across the border are getting out. The raids have captured some Taliban leaders, who were staying in Pakistani villages close to the border. These actions are forcing the Taliban to move their forward bases (for controlling the movement of gunmen across the border into and out of Afghanistan) deeper into Pakistan, and make it more difficult to move men and supplies into Afghanistan.

March 9, 2007: More separatist violence in northeast India, with six dead in two attacks.

March 8, 2007: In southwest Pakistan, a motorcycle bomb wounded 13 pro-government Baluchi tribesmen. The bombing was apparently the work of Baluchi separatist tribesmen.

March 7, 2007: Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the most Islamic of the warlords that fought in the Afghan civil war of the early 1990s, and later joined the Taliban after Iraq was invaded, has offered to switch sides and ally himself with the government. Hekmatyar was never very cozy with the Taliban, considering them puppets of the Pakistani military intelligence. Hekmatyars forces mainly operate in eastern Afghanistan, from bases in Pakistan.

March 5, 2007: In Waziristan, pro-government tribesmen attacked a group of foreign (mainly Uzbek) al Qaeda, and killed twelve of them. Two tribesmen and one bystander were also killed. The tribes in the area have a recently signed treaty, that keeps the army out of the area. But the tribesmen are supposed to shut down al Qaeda operations, and stop Taliban from crossing into Afghanistan. There have been some battles with al Qaeda, mainly because the Islamic terrorists, and their Taliban allies, have been murdering tribesmen they accuse of being "spies for the Americans." That's a phrase used for anyone who is trying too hard to enforce the treaty. The tribesmen believe that if they make enough of an effort to enforce the treaty, the government will stay away. But this approach still allows the Taliban to use the tribal areas as a safe haven, and base for operations in Afghanistan. Al Qaeda men can still use the area for a hideout, as long as they do not take part in terrorist activities that can be traced back to the tribal areas. The U.S. and NATO are not happy with all this, and keep demanding that Pakistan either make the tribes enforce the treaty, or send troops back into the tribal areas to do so. Although less than ten percent of Pakistan's population are strong supporters of al Qaeda and the Taliban, most of them live in the tribal areas, and a return visit by the army would mean war with the tribes.




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