India-Pakistan: China Takes Sides


February 5, 2010:  Pakistani officials continue to press the U.S. for missile armed UAVs, so Pakistan can go after targets it selects, and ease the American UAVs out of Pakistan. The U.S. doesn't trust the Pakistanis, who can be bribed, and often have divided (pro-Taliban) loyalties. Pakistani politicians don't care, or at least have learned to live with these two problems, and want control of UAVs so they won't continue getting criticized for allowing American UAVs to deal with hunting down and killing terrorist leaders. This is considered humiliating by many, if not most, Pakistanis. But if the Pakistani government were in charge, the bad guys could bribe, or intimidate officials, to get off the target list. You can't do that with the Americans. What the Taliban can do is try and find who is supplying the location information of targets. The Americans actually use a wide array of sources, but the only ones the Taliban can get at are suspected spies. More are killed each month, and most are apparently innocent. This sort of thing angers a lot of people, as do a lot of Taliban policies. So the Taliban are taking note of growing public anger against them, and have, for example, allowed music to be sold again. For the last year, the Taliban had waged open, or guerilla, war against merchants who sold music CDs. The Taliban increasingly must use force to control populations, and this eventually backfires because most of the population is armed. If enough angry tribesmen get together, the Taliban are driven out of another town or valley. This has been happening a lot in the last year.

In Quetta, the largest city in Pakistani Baluchistan, two policemen were wounded when they questioned a suicide bomber equipped with a defective bomb. The bomber was wounded and captured. Baluchistan has its own tribal uprising, which has little to do with the Taliban (although the Baluch tribes allow the Taliban to hide out in Baluchistan).

China and Pakistan are becoming closer allies, and this worries India. For example, China is increasingly taking Pakistan's side in the Kashmir dispute. While Pakistan and India occupy most of Kashmir, China also grabbed 22 percent of Kashmir, and wants a settlement that will confirm their ownership.  But India disputes the Chinese claim, and many other such claims along its 4,000 kilometers border with China.

India continues to mass police and troops for a major campaign against Maoist rebels. In the last year, Maoist violence have been responsible for over a thousand deaths (most of them civilians). The Maoists are a combination of political rebels and bandits. Their activities are as often just criminal (stealing and extortion) as political (trying to influence elections or intimidate politicians.) The Maoists have been at it for two decades, and have worn out the support they long had with leftist political parties. The Maoists want a communist dictatorship, with Maoists in charge, and their former leftist allies are not keen on this.

February 3, 2010: In northwest Pakistan, a suicide car bomber rammed the specific vehicle in a convoy of five, that contained three U.S. Army Special Forces troops, killing the Americans. For years, there have been about a hundred of these American troops in Pakistan, used to train NCOs of the Frontier Corps, who then improve the training of these paramilitary troops, recruited from the tribes, who are the primary security force along the border. The accuracy of this attack (the killers knew where the Special Forces troops were headed and which car in a convoy) indicates corruption in the Pakistani security or intelligence forces. The corruption has always been there, and it would have cost a lot of cash to buy this kind of information. It may indicate the Taliban are desperate to strike back at any cost. The three dead Americans are the first to die in Pakistan in a decade of operating there. The three were travelling to a girls school that had recently been rebuilt (after having been damaged by the Taliban) with American aid.

February 2, 2010:  In Pakistan (North Waziristan) American USVs fired over a dozen missiles at four villages, killing about 17 suspected Taliban and al Qaeda members.

February 1, 2010: In the Bajaur area of the Pakistani tribal territories, about 4,000 people fled their homes as troops sought, and attacked, nearby bunkers and other hiding places used by the Taliban. At least 22 of the Islamic terrorists were killed. This operation is one of several in which the army is chasing down groups of Taliban who were part of larger forces that were defeated when the army broke Taliban control in the tribal territories.

January 31, 2010: The U.S. announced that the leader of the Pakistani Taliban, Hakimullah Mehsud, was dead, having died of wounds received in an American UAV missile attack two weeks ago. This conclusion is based on reports coming out of the tribal territories of Hakimullah Mehsud's burial, after two weeks of futile attempts to tend his wounds. Hakimullah Mehsud, replaced, after some internal fighting, the Pakistani Taliban leader who was killed by a missile strike last Summer.

January 30, 2010: In the Pakistani tribal territories, a Taliban suicide bomber killed 17 people and wounded nearly 50. The Taliban have also used several roadside bombs recently, attacking civilians in most cases. In response, the military has increased its air strikes and ground operations against the scattered Taliban groups still operating in the tribal territories.




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