India-Pakistan: The Pushtun Problem In The Army


September 17, 2007: In Pakistan, the government is again falling apart. Pakistan has been unstable since it was created 60 years ago. President Musharraf is a military dictator trying to do the right thing, and the political parties, led by corrupt politicians, want to regain access to the budget. All Pakistanis know that the military dictators are unpopular and the elected politicians corrupt and incompetent. But no one has a solution for the problem. The politicians will regain control soon, and the cycle will continue. The Islamic militants are popular because they promise to end the corruption and incompetence by installing a religious dictatorship. Most Pakistanis don't go for this either, but the Islamic militants are willing to kill for their cause, so they are difficult to ignore.

September 14, 2007: Indian Maoists in the northwest are having a little civil war. So far, seven Maoists have been killed in the fighting.

September 13, 2007: For the second time this month, a suicide bomber penetrated a guarded military camp near the capital. This time it was a commando officer, who set off explosives in a dining room, and killed 18 fellow commando officers. The SSG (Special Services Group) commandoes had led the attack on the Red Mosque last Summer, and one of the Islamic militants killed was the sister of the suicide bomber. The killer here, as was the case in previous attacks, was a Pushtun. Some 12 percent of army is composed of Pushtuns, the tribal peoples who occupy most of the Afghan border (the related Baluchi tribes cover the rest) . Pushtuns comprise less than five percent of the population of Pakistan, but are over represented in the army because of tribal warrior traditions, and the army is a good paying job for guys who otherwise face poor economic prospects in the tribal territories. The problem is that, while most Pushtun soldiers are trustworthy, some are not. There's no easy way to sort them out, and purging all Pushtuns from the military would be very unpopular in the ranks. That's because the army is deliberately mixed ethnically. There are no all-Pushtun units. The majority in most army units are Punjabis, who, with those from Sind province, comprise the majority in the country. But every unit has Pushtun troops and officers, who are generally well liked because they are enthusiastic and competent soldiers.

Since the Red Mosque battle two months ago, over 250 people have been killed by Islamic terrorists with suicide bomb attacks.

September 11, 2007: In northwest Pakistan, Islamic terrorists damaged Buddhist rock carvings with explosives. Al Qaeda, and similar radical Sunni groups, make a point of attacking non-Moslem targets whenever possible. This has been going on since before al Qaeda showed up in the 1990s.




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