India-Pakistan: The Undeclared War On The Afghan Border


June 12,2008: Pakistanis have a their own view of what's going on in their tribal areas, and along the Afghan border. This frontier, still called the "Durand Line" (an impromptu, pre-independence invention of British colonial authorities) was always considered artificial by locals, because the line often went right Pushtun tribal territories. However, the Afghan government is are more inclined to accept the Durand Line (although tribal leaders on the frontier are not), and fight to maintain it. The Pakistanis believe absolute control of the border is impossible, and attempts to stop illegal crossings cause additional trouble (as tribesmen do not like excessive attention at border crossing posts on roads). The majority of politicians just want to ignore the tribal areas. Most Pakistanis have more immediate problems than the threat of terrorists in the back country. Rising food and fuel prices, power blackouts (because of a shortage of power plants) are causing widespread unrest. So the government has told the military that the defense budget will stop rising (it's currently $4.1 billion a year). This is all headed for an undeclared war in the tribal areas, involving Afghan and NATO forces, as well as various Pakistani factions.

Meanwhile, assurances, from tribal chiefs, that violence will be reduced, has not happened. Police patrols are still ambushed, yet the tribesmen protest if the police seek to find and arrest the attackers.

June 10, 2008: For the second time in the last ten days, Indian troops detected and stopped an attempt by Islamic terrorists, trained in Pakistani camps, to cross the line. Two terrorists were killed.

On the Afghan border, a battle between Taliban, Pakistani border guards, Afghan and U.S. troops left at least eleven Pakistani troops. The dead were paramilitaries, recruited from local troops. Fights on the border usually start as Afghan or U.S. troops pursue fleeing Taliban (who are trying to reach safety in Pakistani territory). Sometimes the Pakistani troops will open fire on the pursuers. Sometimes the Pakistani border guards basically side with the Taliban, but are usually careful in who they take on. Firing on NATO troops risks bring in the smart bombs, which is what happened this time. The U.S. apologized, but refused to promise it would not happen again, because it will.

June 7, 2008: Two bombs went off in the northwest, killing four. Meanwhile, police, in the city of Rawalpindi, seized three cars rigged for suicide bomb attacks, and arrested six people. Police in the capital have had to increase the security for European diplomats, as Pakistani Islamic radicals threatened violence (because back in Europe, Europeans have protested Islamic terrorism, which many Islamic radicals insist does not exist, and will kill those who say it does.)

June 5, 2008: Pakistani troops again fired at Indian soldiers, across the Kashmir Line Of Control. This is usually done to distract the Indians while Islamic terrorists, trained in Pakistani camps, cross the line.


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