Pakistan Rushing Troops Toward Indian Border

December 26, 2008

(ChattahBox) — Intelligence officials are reporting Pakistan has begun moving thousands of troops toward India on Friday amid tensions between the nuclear powered neighbors, following the Mumbai attacks. The troops appear to be coming from the Afghan border where Pakistan has deployed more than 100,000 soldiers in Waziristan and other northwestern regions to fight Islamic militants blamed for surging violence against Western troops in Afghanistan.

Pakistan’s army has canceled leave and ordered troops to report to duty because of tension with old rival India. The move with perhaps 20,000 troops being shifted, represents a sharp escalation in the standoff between the nuclear-armed neighbors and will hurt Pakistan’s U.S.-backed campaign against al-Qaida and Taliban taking place near Afghanistan’s border. The United States has once again picked a questionable bedfellow in the current war on terror. It has given millions of dollars in aid to Pakistan’s army to fight the militants in the region, which is believed to be a hiding place for Osama bin Laden and other top al-Qaida leaders.

India is blaming Pakistan-based militants for last month’s attacks on Mumbai. Islamabad has said it will cooperate in any probe, but says it has seen no evidence backing up India’s claims. Pakistan and India have fought three wars since their independence from Britain in 1947. They came close to a fourth in 2001 after suspected Pakistani militants attacked India’s parliament. Both countries rushed troops to the disputed Kashmir region but tensions cooled after intensive international diplomacy.

The neighbors have said they want to avoid military conflict this time around, but Pakistan has promised to respond aggressively if India uses force, an option the Indian government has not ruled out.


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