India-Pakistan: Spy War

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May 16, 2011: While the Pakistani Taliban took credit for recent major terror attacks in the tribal territories, American efforts in the area are largely concentrated on the Haqqani network. This is an Afghan outfit that has been based in North Waziristan for over two decades. This is basically a terrorist group, which has long had a close relationship with al Qaeda. For over a decade, Haqqani has had a peace deal with Pakistani security forces. It was simple. Haqqani would do most of its violence in Afghanistan, and behave in Pakistan. This unofficial arrangement has caused a lot of friction between Pakistan and the United States.

The Afghan Taliban leadership are ending their long (since the mid-90s) relationship with al Qaeda. This is a result of bin Laden getting killed. Al Qaeda was never very popular with most Taliban. The largely Arab al Qaeda considered the Taliban, and most Afghans, to be ignorant and primitive. The Afghans picked up on this and did not like it. But bin Laden developed good personal relationships with senior Taliban leaders, which kept the two organizations allies, at least at the top. Further down the food chain, hundreds of al Qaeda members have been killed by Taliban tribesmen because of the cultural differences and Arab arrogance. The Pakistani Taliban have a better (but not much better) relationship with al Qaeda. The Haqqani network has the best relationship with al Qaeda, and shelters most of the al Qaeda members in the region.

Afghanistan is making a big stink in the media about the growing number of children (many under 12), trained in Pakistani madrassas (Islamic religious schools), and sent into Afghanistan to serve as suicide bombers. Afghan police have arrested many of these kids, and found their torn up bodies at the scene of suicide bombings.

There is an undeclared war going on between the Pakistani government and the military-intelligence (ISI) establishment. This is nothing new, as this strife has been part of Pakistani politics for decades. But the military, and their junior ally the ISI, have taken control of over a third of government income, and a large chunk of the economy, for their own benefit. All this is, in theory, to keep Pakistan strong and able to resist an Indian invasion. But more and more Pakistanis see all this as just a corrupt scam to enrich the senior people in the military and ISI. The elected government is using American counter-terror operations inside Pakistan to weaken the ISI. The government, for example, provides hundreds of visas to the CIA, so the United States can establish its own intel network inside Pakistan. The ISI does not like this at all, because it weakens the ISI intelligence monopoly inside Pakistan. But that's exactly what the government wants, ISI knows it, and ISI doesn't like it. Meanwhile, while everyone plays the "hate America" card, the government doesn't mean it, but the military and ISI do. In response, the U.S. has halted some military aid when the military tried to interfere with American military operations in Afghanistan, or counter-terror efforts in Pakistan. That keeps the generals from getting completely out of control. The ISI is not as dependent on the U.S. aid, and is therefore more troublesome. The government is hoping the U.S. can take the ISI down a notch or two. If that happens, the government will criticize the U.S., as Pakistani politics demands it. But the government will then continue assisting American efforts against ISI.

May 15, 2011: In eastern India, 150 armed Maoists attacked the motor pool of a construction company and destroyed or damaged 29 vehicles. The Maoists were forced to leave by the arrival of police. Two policemen were wounded. The construction company had refused to pay protection money to the Maoists.

On the Kashmir border, Indian and Pakistani troops exchanged fire for about 30 minutes. There were no deaths, and the incident was apparently caused by a similar incident yesterday, when a Pakistani patrol opened fire on an Indian patrol just across the border, killing an Indian soldier. This was the first death of an Indian soldier on the border this year. Pakistan is usually the aggressor in these incidents, which are often attempts to distract Indian border guards so that Islamic terrorists can sneak across the border, and carry out attacks inside India.

In North Waziristan, police found the bodies of two men killed by the Taliban after being accused of spying for the United States. There are a growing number of people dying in North Waziristan after being accused, and many of them are apparently innocent. But the Taliban needs to show their followers that something is being done to try and stop these UAV missile attacks. Most of the targets are Taliban leaders, but most of the victims are lower ranking guys just hanging out with the boss. These attacks have been bad for morale.

In eastern Pakistan, a bomb on a bus killed six and wounded ten. No one has taken credit for it yet.

The Pakistani parliament held a closed (to the media) meeting with the head of ISI (who offered to resign over charges of hiding bin Laden, collaborating with terrorists and being incompetent). The ISI boss denied any responsibility for the bin Laden situation and blamed the United States for trying to destroy Pakistan. It's unlikely that the government will accept that resignation. Some members of parliament threatened to cut NATO supply lines to Afghanistan. This is unlikely as well, as the U.S. has threatened much more serious economic and military retaliation for such an act. Most Pakistani politicians realize that fighting the U.S. directly would be foolish. But many Pakistani politicians have made a career of accusing America and India of being the cause of all Pakistan's problems, and it's hard to change that story while still in power.

May 14, 2011:  In eastern India, five people were killed at a wedding, as Maoists attacked members of a rival leftist group (PLFI). The two groups had been fighting over who would control (extort protection money from businesses) in an area.

May 13, 2011:  The Pakistani Taliban took credit for the suicide bombing of a police (Frontier Constabulary)  training center in the tribal territories today. The attack killed 89 and wounded nearly 150. The victims were members of the paramilitary police that recruits from the tribes and is mainly concerned with guarding the borders. These tribal policemen are most frequently in direct conflict with the Pakistani Taliban. Those who join the police are basically taking sides in the tribal war between the pro-Taliban tribes and the majority who see the Taliban as a threat. Even the pro-Taliban tribes tend to be split over the Taliban goals of establishing a religious dictatorship based on extremely conservative Islamic practices. The Taliban said that the attack on the police training center was the first of many, to avenge the death of Osama bin Laden.  

May 12, 2011: An American UAV missile strike in North Waziristan killed eight people, and caused an uproar in Pakistan. This was the third such attack since the May 2nd American raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

May 10, 2011: In eastern India, 30 Maoists blew up the birth place (village home) of a member of parliament who used to be a Maoist. The various Indian communist factions (of which the Maoists are the most heavily armed) often use violence and terror to attack each other. India is the home of the largest collection of communist true-believers left in the world. The Maoists represent the most extreme communist attitudes, which encourage terrorism and murder to achieve the goal of a communist dictatorship.

Pakistani's intelligence service, ISI, has admitted that the Afghan Taliban leadership is hiding out in southwest Pakistan (Baluchistan). This has been an open secret for nearly a decade, but the ISI always denied it. Now, however, ISI says it will seek to round up these Taliban leaders in Baluchistan. Based on past performance, this does not seem likely. Pakistan has long forbidden American UAVs from operating in Baluchistan, as a way of keeping the area safe for the Afghan Taliban.

 

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