India-Pakistan: Sanctuary In Sight For Terrorists

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March 13,2008: Police arrested 47 suspects in the wake of two suicide bomb attacks in Lahore, Pakistan. One of these attacks was against a building housing FIA (Federal Investigation Administration) offices. The terrorists are trying to intimidate the police organizations involved in counter-terror work. Over the last 15 months, since the Red Mosque was attacked and its Islamic militants arrested or killed, there have been 60 terrorist attacks, leaving over a thousand dead. This has been a war between Islamic radicals, trying to assert a right to set up shop in Pakistani cities (like the Red Mosque in Pakistan's capital, Islamabad) and force people to abide by Sharia law, without interference from the police. In response to the Red Mosque operation, the Islamic radicals have declared war on the government, which has always been unpopular in Pakistan (which is badly governed, even by South Asian standards). The recent elections voted in parties that are opposed to the anti-terrorist government of president Musharraf. The new government has a mandate to make a deal with the terrorists. This is not unusual in Pakistan, where the Pushtun tribes were largely left alone along the Afghan border, and allowed to rule themselves for over half a century. The other side of that bargain was that there was to be no Pushtun violence spreading into other parts of the country. Since September 11, 2001, the tribes are resisting army attempts to find and remove al Qaeda operations in the tribal areas. President Musharraf got behind U.S. counter-terrorism efforts right after September 11, 2001, and the opposition parties insist that Pakistan has paid too high a price in fighting Islamic terrorism. Thus the new parties want to negotiate a new deal with al Qaeda, the Taliban and the Pushtun tribes in general. This could end up giving Islamic terrorists an official refuge in the tribal areas. The U.S., and other Western nations getting attacked by Islamic terrorists operating out of Pakistani bases will be forced to deal with any such terrorist sanctuary arrangement.

March 12, 2008: In northeast India, tribal separatists have launched a series of bombings, aimed at Indian migrants from outside the northeast. It is believed that these separatist rebels are now receiving help from Islamic terrorist groups across the border in Bangladesh. Meanwhile, the Maoist rebels are considered a greater threat. Maoist violence in eastern and central India, left 696 dead last year. The northeastern separatists and northwestern Islamic terrorists kill fewer people, and are not as intent on displacing local government as the Maoists are. The Maoists have been at it since the late 1960s, and show no signs of going away.

March 11, 2008: In Lahore, Pakistan, two suicide bombers made their attacks, killing 32 and wounding over 100.

March 6, 2008: In Lahore, Pakistan, police arrested three suicide bombers, and seized their explosives before attacks could be carried out.

 

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