Insanity at 20,000 feet

Most people know that India and Pakistan have had many border wars since the 1940s. What few people realize is that India and Pakistan are still engaged in a 20 year war of attrition in the Himalayas. Since the early 1980s, both nations have wasted huge amounts of human and financial resources fighting over small ridges and icy glaciers over 17,000 feet above sea level, places most mountaineers would consider suicidal. About 4000 Indian and Pakistani soldiers have died, mainly because of the weather and the hostile environmental conditions. One officer says:

Ninety-seven per cent of casualties here are due to the extreme weather and altitude, rather than fighting. On the glacier you have to first survive the elements and then you fight the enemy.

Read more at Sepia Mutiny (click here and here) to learn about this unusual alpine stalemate. You’ll quickly see how bizarre and dangerous it is live and fight in such a place. Even using the latrine presents special challenges, such as what to do with piles of frozen human waste (answer: pulverize it with your machine gun). Time magazine Asia has a whole story (click here). You can also read Outdoor magazine’s account of the conflict.


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