India-Pakistan: July 26, 2004


Pakistani troops continue to skirmish with hostile tribesmen on the Afghan border. The army is looking for up to 600 foreigners, Islamic radicals who have been hiding out in the region for years. Many are Taliban and al Qaeda who fled Afghanistan in late 2001. There are hundreds of villages and isolated walled compounds along the hundreds of  kilometers of border. Every one of these villages and compounds contains armed men who may resist violently. The army doesn't want to start a war with the tribes, and to avoid that, they proceed slowly. Army officers attempt negotiations with tribal elders. If that fails, then roads and traffic are blocked. When tribesmen shoot at the troops, the troops then move against villages and compounds. If any foreigners were their, they are usually gone by the time the troops search the premises. But clues and tips and collected, and after enough months of this, the foreigners will run out of places to hide, and some will be captured. But all this border violence is unpopular with many Pakistanis. But these are the same Pakistanis who back Islamic radicals who have tried to kill Pakistani president Musharraf, so it's war. 


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