March 20, 2009 (Kolkata, India). While Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is still congratulating the Pakistani government for “resolving its crisis,” by which she means an internal political spat; the real crisis is only getting worse. The Taliban continues its march through Pakistan, imposing Sharia law and persecuting non-Muslims as it does, while President Barack Obama continues to happily search for the “moderate Taliban” among them. And that’s not all.
Yesterday, police here foiled an attempted terrorist bombing by a former member of the Pakistani Rangers paramilitary force. According to Kolkata police and the Indian Border Security Force (BSF), Shahbaz Ismail, flew from Karachi, Pakistan northwest of India to the Bangladesh capital of Dhaka, which borders the Indian state of West Bengal that has Kolkata as its capital. He slipped across the border near Murshidabad not far from this sprawling metropolitan area, the world’s 14th largest. The BSF got a tip about Ismail and alerted the Kolkata police. “We found out that [Ismail] would go to Fairlie Place to buy a rail ticket,” a police spokesman said.
When the would be terrorist got there, the police were ready, even before he had a chance to purchase a ticket to Indian-controlled Kashmir, known as Jammu, which was to be the site of his terrorist action. They had men stationed all around the area, some even posing as reservation agents; all with Ismail’s picture. According to one of the special agents on the scene, Ismail was in India “for a secret mission.” Interrogators are still working on Ismail for the details, but they know it was to take place in Kashmir. Ismail is part of the Al Badar terrorist group, affiliated with Al Qaeda. According to Indian intelligence, over 80 percent of the terrorists “used to work for the Pakistani army and paramilitary force.”
This is the “resolution” for which Obama and Clinton have been congratulating the Pakistanis.
India is in the midst of an election campaign at the moment, and there have been numerous terrorist attacks and attempts recently, almost all originating from or supported by Pakistan. That same day, terrorists attempted to blow up a full passenger train in India’s northeast only to detonate the device too early and so causing only minimal damage. And the day before, a terrorist exploded a bomb in a market in the same region, killing several shoppers. Only one day before that, it was revealed that all of India’s major candidates have been given increased security because of credible terrorist threats.
It might assuage some people that CIA Director Leon Pannetta is now in India, but most people here believe the Obama administration is oblivious to increasing terrorist actions in South Asia, much of that sentiment fueled by Obama’s comments about finding a negotiated settlement with the terrorists.
India and South Asia are the key to winning the war on terror, and it appears that the best Obama is hoping for is a negotiated compromise with the terrorists.