December 20, 2007:
In Pakistan, the
Taliban violence has shifted from Afghanistan to Pakistan itself. Since last
Summer, battles along the border (Taliban trying to cross, or attacking border
police) have fallen nearly in half. The Pakistani army has been battling the
pro-Taliban tribesmen inside Pakistan, and diverting the pro-Taliban tribesmen
from their efforts to make attacks inside Afghanistan. The army efforts have extended to the Swat Valley, a northern
area some distance from the border, but
a base for a growing number of Islamic radicals. An army force of nearly 20,000
troops has driven the militants out. The leaders of the Swat uprising have
fled, apparently to areas closer to the border, and are demanding that the army
get out of the area. The government continues operations against the Taliban
forces, as police are arresting Taliban sympathizers and Islamic militants.
In the last week, there have been half
a dozen bombings in the Pakistan tribal areas. Half of them injured no one, and
were directed at music stores and Internet cafes (which the Taliban use for
communication, but are widely seen as places men go to view online porn). The
rest were aimed at the police and army, and killed a dozen people.
December 19, 2007: Indian police were fighting unrest on three
fronts. In the northwest, there was a deadly riot in Kashmir, leaving one dead.
People were upset that the government would not establish a college in their
town. In the northeast, tribal separatist violence left over a dozen wounded in
the last week. In eastern India, Maoists destroyed a primary school in a rural
area, as part of an effort to terrorize locals into supporting them. Police
continued searching for and arresting Maoists who were living in residential
area (as opposed to rural camps, where the groups of armed Maoists are).
December 15, 2007: The six week state of emergency in Pakistan
was ended. Pakistan consolidated control over nuclear weapons (and their
development) in a National Command Authority, headed by the president and prime
minister (as deputy). Before that, control was split between the politicians
and the military and was rather vague.
In the Maldives, three men were
sentenced to 15 years in prison for carrying out a terror bombing attack three
months ago, that wounded a dozen tourists. The Islamic radicals were intent on
destroying the tourist industry, which is the main source of income in the
Maldives, because they saw it as un-Islamic. Most people on the Maldives did
not agree with that, and justice was swift.
However, ten Islamic radicals responsible for planning the bombings fled
the country the day before the attack, and are being sought in Pakistan.
December 14, 2007: Elders from several of the Pushtun tribes
along the border have threatened violence if the government tries to set up
polling places for women. Some of the Pushtun tribes are not only against education
for women, but voting, and much else. This is one reason the Taliban are so
popular in these parts. The Taliban interpretation of Islam comes largely from
the customs of a few Pushtun tribes.