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newswire article portland metro

fighting communists near Shangri-la

death and destruction in Western Nepal -- underreported, especially considering the extent of US involvement
I don't recall seeing this story on portland indymedia before, so I thought I would see if anyone had any comments on it (a CNN story has been pasted below). I spent some time in Kathmandu, and even there, I found a very plapable Communist presence. It is much stronger in the more rural areas, where the Maoists are working for land reform and trying to limit government corruption.

The targets of their attacks have been policemen and government officials; although they are not perfect, they are much more focused than a group like the Shining Path in Peru, which has attacked NGO workers and neutral civilians -- certainly, the comparison to Pol Pot made in this article is absurd.

It is interesting that the recent crackdown on the Maoists comes only weeks after the visit of US military -- and, we can assume, CIA. There has always been a fear of a Nepalese merger with Communist China -- although this is something even the CPN (Maoist) rejects. Still, possible -- which probably explains the $20 million we gave to a monarchy to fight communism. Same old story, seemingly mundane at this point, but still good to know what's going on, I guess. South/Southeast Asia appears to be high on the list of US priorities these days.

KATHMANDU, Nepal (CNN) -- Nepal's government estimates its forces killed nearly 400 Maoist rebels in recent raids on two rebel training camps, a government official said Saturday.

The official, a junior security minister, said 350 rebels died in Rolpa and 40 in Doti in the joint army and police operations late Thursday in the two districts, known as Maoist hotbeds. They are located in far western parts of the Himalayan kingdom.

Initially, the government said about 90 rebels were killed in both districts.

The heavy rebel casualties came the same day as top rebel leader Pushpa Kamal Dahal, chairman of the Maoist rebel Communist Party of Nepal, issued a statement calling for renewed peace negotiations with the government to find "a positive political way out" of the problem.

Nepal's Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba rejected the peace overture Friday, saying he would not hold negotiations "with the disciples of Pol Pot."

 "There will be no peace negotiations until the Maoists lay down their arms and surrender," he said.

Pol Pot was the infamous leader of Cambodia's communist Khmer Rouge, blamed for the deaths of some 1.7 million people through torture, execution, hard labor and starvation between 1975-1979. Pol Pot died in 1998.

More than 2,500 people have died in Nepal since the Maoists surfaced in 1996 with their "people's war" campaign. They are aiming to overthrow Nepal's constitutional monarchy in favor of a communist republic.

About a dozen U.S. military personnel were in Nepal in late April to assess how to spend U.S. funds to fight the Maoist insurgents, the Pentagon said. The government of Nepal had asked for international assistance, and the United States responded with $20 million in aid from the State Department.