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Thursday, August 16, 2007

From Kashmir to Baghdad

The Washington Post carries a report today about the increasing use of "house" bombs by the bad guys in Iraq.

I celebrated the Fourth of July at the Marriott Hotel in Secunderabad. Budweiser, cheeseburgers, potato salad and baked beans. One of the guests was my friend Subir, a Sikh. Those are the guys with the turbans. He said he had just gotten a call from his sister, an Indian Army officer stationed in Kashmir. It seems while her husband, also an officer, was talking to her on his cell phone a little earlier, the patrol he was commanding ran into and engaged some Muslim insurgents that had snuck over the line from the Pakistani side.

Can you picture what that conversation was like?
“Hey baby, something just came up. I gotta go to work now. I’ll call you back.”

We were sitting around later drinking our Bud when Subir’s cell phone beeped. He looked at the text, smiled, and read aloud:

“Three down: two Afghanis and one local. All my men okay.”

Sikhs are bad-to-the-bone. I high-fived him and told him I was happy the good guys won, his brother-in-law was okay, and that his brother-in-law's men were all safe. Over the course of the next couple days I got some details of the battle. The Indians ultimately cornered three insurgents in a house in a village. His brother-in-law personally killed two of the bad guys, one with rifle-fire and the second with a grenade thrown (not tossed) through a window at some distance. The brother-in-law was apparently a pretty good cricket player when he wasn’t keeping the world safe from jihadis.

What brings this back around to the Post story is what the Indian army did afterwards. They just left the dead bad guys laying in the house until the next day. They kept the house covered but did not enter. The next morning still without entering the building they brought heavy equipment and knocked the house down with the corpses still in it. Then they went through the rubble to find out what they could find out. You lose some information that way maybe but the Indian Army in Kashmir long since learned not to enter houses with jihadis inside (dead or alive) because the houses are so likely to be booby-trapped.

The Army just pays to have the house rebuilt when they’re done. Maybe we’ll be doing that soon in Iraq.

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