India-Pakistan: Kindness For Killers


January 22, 2010: Still tied down chasing individual Taliban and al Qaeda in Swat, South Waziristan and elsewhere in the tribal territories, the army says it will not advance further for at least six months. This allows the Taliban to reestablish themselves in villages along the Afghan border. But the army will raid, with gunships or fighter-bombers, terrorist bases in North Waziristan, or elsewhere in the tribal areas. So far, six months of fighting have killed about 2,000 Pakistani soldiers, and many more Taliban. About 100,000 troops (out of 960,000 in the armed forces, about a third of them paramilitary) were involved in the tribal territories fighting. Pakistan is still fixated on war with India, and many of the paramilitaries have been tied up chasing down Taliban and al Qaeda terrorists outside the tribal territories. The army has found that, in the tribal territories, where there is a lot more support for Islamic radicalism, and a hostility to outsiders. At one point in the last decade, Islamic radicals got elected to run parts of the tribal territories. These pro-Taliban politicians proved to be as corrupt as any other and were voted out of office, but not before a lot of Taliban supporters got government jobs, often high up in the food chain. These have to be found and dismissed. Meanwhile, just across the border, in Indian Kashmir, the same kind of search for Islamic radicals (based in northeast Pakistan) continues. Hard times for Islamic radicals who, nevertheless, can still find many hospitable areas in the Pakistani tribal territories. And many senior members of the Pakistani government remain reluctant to see the Islamic radicals completely disappear. Having a few fanatics around can be very useful. In the last three years, Islamic terrorists have killed about 3,000 people in Pakistan. This has scared a lot of people, and intimidated many to help the Islamic radicals, or at least not oppose them. Some Pakistani politicians are particularly fond of the Pakistan based Islamic terror groups that launch attacks inside India, and keep tensions between the two countries hot. Many Pakistani politicians depend on this "India is our mortal enemy" stance to maintain support among voters.

In South Waziristan, the army and tribal leaders agreed to transfer control over most of the area to pro-government tribes. The army will provide backup for these tribal leaders, who in the past have been terrorized into remaining quiet, or supporting the Taliban. While the Islamic radicals have been weakened by months of fighting the army, they are still there, and ready for another round of violent tribal politics..

Nationalists and Islamic radicals in Pakistan continue to criticize the American UAV/missile campaign against the Taliban and terrorist leadership. Pakistan requests for their own Predator UAVs has been met with an offer of smaller Shadow 200 UAVs. These have more endurance (5.5 hours) than UAVs Pakistan already has, but are not large enough (160 kg, versus a ton for Predator) to carry weapons effectively. The Pakistanis want their own aerial death squad, but the U.S. would rather not have any competition up there. The Pakistanis are prone to corruption, and giving them missile armed Predators would encourage Taliban and tribal leaders to offer money, or cooperation, to avoid a Hellfire missile. You can't bribe the Americans, which is what really annoys many Pakistanis. What also annoys Pakistanis is the Americans constantly pointing out that Islamic terrorists are killing far more Pakistanis than the Indian armed forces, and the two countries have not fought a way for over 30 years. Yet Pakistan still keeps most of its security forces aimed at India, while India pays more attention to the Chinese threat.

January 21, 2010: India has launched a major offensive against Maoists in eastern India. Most of the police involved come from 42 battalions (of the Border Security Force, the Indo-Tibetan Border Police and the Central Reserve Police Force) moved into the area over the last few months. The main target of the operation is fifty of the most senior Maoist leaders. But the operations will also go after dozens of Maoist camps, which are usually deep in the forested hills

January 17, 2010: Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan have agreed to work together against Islamic terrorism. This includes not hosting Islamic terror groups that operate against the other two nations. India was not invited to participate, even though India has good relations with Iran and Afghanistan. India was frozen out because Pakistan refuses to eliminate Islamic terror groups who mainly do their killing in India.

January 16, 2010: American UAVs made two different strikes, firing at least five Hellfire missiles, in North Waziristan. This left at least eleven Taliban dead. The declining fortunes of the Taliban in this area has resulted in more people willing to provide information on where Taliban leaders are. This leads to more UAV attacks and more dead Taliban. The Islamic radicals, and their allies in the Pakistani government, are not happy with this. But the campaign, to depict the UAV attacks as a violation of Pakistani sovereignty, has not gained sufficient traction to get the attacks stopped. The fact that these terrorist leaders are hated by most Pakistanis, overcomes any annoyance at the missiles being controlled by Americans, and the UAVs operating from Pakistani airfields.




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