India-Pakistan: Taliban Stomped in Swat


December 7, 2007: India has, in the last week, twice tested an anti-missile missile that could shoot down Pakistani ballistic missiles. This is a threat to Pakistani nuclear weapons, which are the principal weapon defending Pakistan from a much larger and militarily more powerful India. Israeli firms are working with India to develop the anti-missile system, using technology from the Israeli anti-missile effort.

India has cancelled a $600 million helicopter purchase from European firm EADS, and will review bids again. Corruption was suspected. Corruption in arms purchases is endemic throughout the region. Meanwhile, India is having multiple problems with its largest arms supplier, Russia. Several warship programs are at risk because the Russian builders have demanded more money. The Indians are not inclined to pay.

December 6, 2007: Britain has arrested two Baluchi men, suspected of supporting Baluchi separatists in carrying out terrorist acts. This is part of the tribal separatist effort, to make southwest Pakistan into a separate country, Baluchistan. The most recent effort by the tribes has stalled, and the exiled separatists have become a more important component of the separatist movement. Britain is also concerned because many Baluchi tribes support the Taliban and al Qaeda.

December 5, 2007: In Pakistan's Swat valley, three weeks of operations by some 15,000 troops has killed, captured or chased away most of the several thousand Islamic radicals who had assembled there. The operations actually began several months ago, as troops moved in to deal with a popular Islamic radical clergyman. The army negotiated with the tribes first, to get some degree of approval for attack on the pro-Taliban radicals. The valley, in tribal areas of northern Pakistan, has a population of some 1.5 million people. Over 300 have been killed in the fighting, and nearly a thousand wounded. Elsewhere along the Afghan border, it's Winter, and the gunmen have largely gone home to wait for Spring.

December 4, 2007: In Pakistan, a female suicide bomber attempted to attack a military check point, but when she was challenged some way off, she detonated her explosives and killed only herself. This was the first suicide bomber attack in Pakistan. The suicide bomb effort in Pakistan has been fitful, sparse and generally ineffective. Unlike Iraq, where thousands of eager, and fairly competent, volunteers are available from surrounding countries, there are few capable people eager to kill themselves this way in Pakistan.




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