India-Pakistan: Taliban Terror Triggers Retaliation


June 9, 2009:  In parts of the Pakistani tribal territories, where Taliban groups are active, the local population is fighting back. As happened in Afghanistan in the 1990s, the Taliban quickly make themselves unpopular when they take control of an area. While in Afghanistan, the Taliban initially proved themselves useful by halting the civil war and banditry. In Pakistan, the Taliban did little good, and much evil, once they bullied their way into an area. The Taliban came on as self-righteous bullies, imposing additional taxes on non-Moslems, and Moslem men who don't grow beards. The Taliban close schools, especially those for girls, and start shutting down anything to do with entertainment. The tribal and non-tribal (mostly in the cities) population is resisting.

The Pakistani government is moving fast to return most of the three million refugees, from the Swat fighting, home. That's partly because more millions of refugees are expected as the army moves deeper into the tribal territories, seeking pro-Taliban gunmen.

Senior Pakistani generals have visited Mingora, capital of the Swat district, to hold press events and demonstrate that the Taliban have been driven out. Troops are now searching the hills and smaller valleys that branch off the Swat river valley. Some Taliban are using upland villages for hiding places, while others have left the area and gone home.

Meanwhile, in Karachi, Pakistan's largest city, over a dozen people have died in the last few days because of political violence. Some of it was Taliban related, but mostly it was local politics.

In Kashmir, India, over a hundred people have been injured during protests against the security forces. All the commotion is over police attempts to cover up the rape and murder (apparently by members of the security forces) of two Moslem women. The police initially insisted the two drowned, but forensic tests show the victims were raped and murdered. Now the police are under tremendous pressure to fund the culprits and prosecute. Bad relations between the largely Moslem population of Kashmir, and the largely non-Moslem security forces, goes way back. The security forces are angry at the popular support, in Kashmir, for Islamic terrorism, and driving non-Moslems out of the area. While the locals are tired of over a decade of violence, they are unable to halt a vicious cycle of hatred between the security forces and the local population.

In Bangladesh, additional police and military guards were ordered for government buildings. It is believed that Islamic terrorists and gangsters will attack, in retaliation for the upcoming trials of people accused of major crimes during the 1971 war of independence.

India is moving a squadron of 18 Su-30 fighters to a base in the northeast, near the Chinese border. Two infantry divisions will also be moved into the area, where there is a thousand kilometer long, unfenced border with China. Increasingly, India sees growing Chinese military power as directed at India.

June 8, 2009: Anti-Taliban militias in Upper Dir (the Pakistani tribal territories), hunted down Taliban in this area adjacent to the Swat valley. At least eight Taliban were killed.  

June 6, 2009: In the Pakistani capital, police shot a suicide bomber trying to enter a police station. Two died and six were wounded. In the Swat valley, Taliban attacked a police convoy, killing three people. Two of victims were senior Taliban leaders, who had been captured and were being transported to a more secure jail.

June 5, 2009: A bomb went off in a village mosque near the Swat valley in Pakistan, killing 38 people and wounding over 70. This was apparently in retaliation for villagers organizing a militia that drove away Taliban gunmen. This attack further enraged tribesmen in the Dir district, who proceeded to form more anti-Taliban militias. The government said it would provide support (ammo, food, communications and liaison with the military to prevent friendly fire incidents.)


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