War tensions rise as Pakistan moves troops to Indian border, cancels army leaves

debkafile‘s military sources report some 20,000 troops of Pakistan’s 14th Division are said to have been diverted from the Waziristan border region with Afghanistan to the Line of Control in Kashmir and the international border with India. This is a loss of one-fifth of the total Pakistani force fighting the Taliban and al Qaeda.
Border tensions shot up Friday, Dec. 26, exactly one month after Islamist Lashkar e-Taibe terrorists struck the Indian town of Mumbai, killing 161 people, mostly Indians and including six Israelis. Leaves were cancelled in the Pakistani armed forces and its air force put on high security alert. New Delhi advised Indian citizens to avoid Pakistan and prime minister Manmohan Singh conferred with India’s army, navy, air force chiefs. Wednesday, Marshal P.K. Barbora, air officer commander-in-chief of the Western Air Command, commented that India’s air force had marked 5,000 Islamic terrorist targets in Pakistan.
Islamabad is bracing for surgical Indian air and commando strikes against radical Islamist targets deep inside Pakistan.
On the Indian side of the border, armored and commando forces are reported massing and the inhabitants of border villages put on standby for evacuation should hostilities erupt between the two nuclear-armed nations.
Washington Friday appealed to Pakistan and India to avoid a war escalation. The relocation of substantial Pakistani strength from the border with Afghanistan to the Indian front is a major setback for the NATO war on terror, easing the path of Taliban and al Qaeda for attacks on coalition forces in southern Afghanistan. They have already wrought havoc with NATO supply routes from Pakistan. A Pakistan-Indian flare-up would allow them to sever the routes almost unopposed.

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