India-Pakistan: March 18, 2004


Pakistani troops have surrounded a senior al Qaeda leader, and some 200 of his heavily armed bodyguards, in a fortified compound along the Afghanistan border (in the South Waziristan area). The al Qaeda leader is thought to be Ayman al-Zawahiri, who is the number two man in the group. An Egyptian physician, al-Zawahiri is one of the founders of the Egyptian terrorist group, the Moslem Brotherhood. Terrorist attacks turned the Egyptian population against the Brotherhood, and this support enabled the government to crush the movement and capture to drive out nearly all the terrorists. Al-Zawahiri and other Egyptian terrorists fled to Afghanistan and joined with Osama bin Laden to form al Qaeda. Al-Zawahiri is considered the brains behind al Qaeda and the successor of bin Laden. The US has offered a reward of $25 million for the capture of al-Zawahiri. Pakistani troops have captured 26 al Qaeda suspects, along with $700,000 in cash and many weapons.

The United States has agreed to restore arms sales to Pakistan. This enables Pakistan to get modern weapons, although the United States will probably have to provide the money to buy these weapons as well. Pakistan is broke and in debt and has much greater needs than modern weapons. In return for the new weapons, Pakistan has dismantled it's nuclear weapon technology export business and provided active assistance in chasing down al Qaeda and Taliban members.

In India, Maoist rebels (the PWG, or Peoples War Group) continue their assassination campaign against politicians, killing a Telugu Desam Party leader in the southeast. Another communist rebel group, the MCC (Maoist Communist Center) has been attacking landowners in Bihar. The communist rebel groups have become more violent in the last year, but are still not disruptive enough to attract the attention of the army, but are pursued largely by police units.


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