The suicide attack in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) last Friday could have expanded the frontlines of the conflict between the Taliban and the Pakistan Army. The attack killed two soldiers and injured three others, when the suicide bomber, identified as Taliban, blew himself up near a military vehicle.
Indian experts consider this a natural progression of the army-Taliban conflict. “It had to happen. The Taliban wouldn’t face too many challenges getting into PoK. The US and Pakistan need to understand that just tackling terrorism in FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas) and the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) while allowing it harbor in PoK will boomerang on them,” said one Indian brasshat.
But he also clarified, “It’s too early to conclusively say the Taliban have changed their strategy and expanded the conflict to PoK. But while one attack doesn’t necessarily make a strategy, it (the frontline) has definitely been extended, and in such a way as to strike at the Pakistan Army out of the existing area of conflict.”
India should start getting concerned too, he says. “As long as the Taliban remain west of the Indus, we’re okay. If they cross over and manage to link up and make a working plan with terrorist groups in Punjab like the Lashkar e Toiba and the Jaish e Mohammed, then not only the Pakistani state, but India too has a serious problem. Muzaffarabad is to the east of the Indus. Further, if the Taliban can get to PoK, maybe they could try and cross the LoC (Line of Control) as well,” he points out.
“The Pakistan Army not beaten the Taliban so far, regardless of what they claim. The Taliban have melted away in front of the Pakistan Army and live to fight another day. The problem is, unless governance can improve significantly in those areas, which I doubt, the Taliban will simply come back there in the near future,” he says.