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Baluchistan Eruption

The intractability of the situation in Pakistan was underlined by today's violent demnostrations which erupted in the wake of the government killing of a tribal leader and at least 24 others in Baluchistan, in the west of Pakistan. The conflict between the Pakistani government and the Baluch is not related to the global war; it in fact predates the existence of al-Qaeda, and is based on a long-standing fight for autonomy by the Baluch tribe.

Yet the fact that government forces are engaged in a low-level civil war with a significant section of the country may help explain the fact of de facto toleration for the Taliban in other sections of the Afghan-Pakistan borderlands. While operations against al-Qaeda continue, their Taliban partners are tolerated and allowed to operate against Afghan targets from within Pakistani territory with impunity, making life difficult for the elected government in Afghanistan and the international coalition there. And it should be noted that there are indications that anti-Indian jihadist groups are not merely tolerated but have received active assistance from the government.

This is from the Washington Post:

QUETTA, Pakistan -- Hundreds of rioters angered by the killing of a rebel tribal leader rampaged through a southwestern Pakistani city Sunday, burning dozens of shops, banks and police vehicles. Police arrested hundreds on the second day of violent protests against the killing of Nawab Akbar Bugti, 79, in a raid on his mountain hide-out. Authorities imposed a round-the-clock curfew in Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan province.

Nine policemen suffered minor wounds in a clash with about 70 protesters, some firing pistols, who tried to loot a bank and several shops in northern Quetta, said police inspector Zahir Shah. Police fired tear gas to disperse the mob. A bomb blast damaged a government building and arsonists set fire to a telephone exchange in Kalat, a town about 155 miles south of Quetta, said local police official Ghulam Farid Jamali. There were no casualties...

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