India-Pakistan: September 4, 2003

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The people responsible for the recent Bombay bombings appear to have been Indian Moslems seeking revenge for Indian Moslems killed in Gujarat by Hindu nationalists. Most suspects in the Bombay bombing case are Indian Moslem college graduates. This is a good news/bad news situation. That the bombers were not connected with Kashmiri rebels reduces tensions with Pakistan, but that the bombers are local Moslems means that India has yet another source of internal violence to deal with.

The rebels are keeping up the violence in Kashmir, leaving several rebels, security troops or civilians dead each day. The action has been particularly bloody in the past week, with over fifty dead. This was prompted by the killing, last weekend, of a senior rebel leader in a shootout with police. The police have been more successful of late at getting to senior rebel leaders. The rebels suspect this is because more Kashmiri Moslems are working with the police.

India is having a hard time attracting men to serve as army officers. The million man army is short some 15,000 officers. The major problem is the large number of army units involved in guerilla warfare against tribal rebels in the northeast and Moslem rebels in Kashmir. This kind of duty is very unpopular and most of the responsibility is on the junior officers. These guys tell their peers what a tough job it is and the word gets around.  To solve this problem the army is forming specialist anti-guerilla units, which will allow most army units to stay away from guerilla operations.

In Pakistan, the government says that an increasing number of tips, and information from captured al Qaeda members, is narrowing down the area where Osama bin Laden is hiding. There are vast remote areas along the Afghan border where bandits and smugglers have long stayed hidden from the police. The villagers in this region are not keen to cooperate with the government, and consider bin Laden a hero (for killing non-Moslems.) But cash rewards (large and small) for tips, and a steady stream of captured al Qaeda members, have managed to create a clearer picture of what is going on in the border region.

 

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