Pakistan Security Brief - April 21, 2011

Admiral Mullen: Links between ISI and Haqqani straining U.S.-Pakistani relationship; Bashir arrived in Washington for talks; Kurram Agency tribesmen believed to have been killed; Tribesman killed in front of Bara locals; Two people shot dead in Mohmand; Nine militants killed in security operations in Baizai; Truck attacked in Mohmand; Three militants killed in Darra Adam Khel; Zardari announces economic development to commence in FATA; Two TTP Militants Arrested; Eight militants killed in Hangu; Supreme Court upholds rape acquittal; Five killed in ‘target killings.’

 

U.S.-Pakistani Relations

  • Prior to meeting with Pakistani Chief of Army Staff General Kayani, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mullen told GEO TV that “links between Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence [ISI] military spy agency and the Haqqani faction of the Taliban were continuing to strain relations between the countries.” Mullen stated that the issue is “at the core” of the current problems between the two countries. Kayani allegedly refuted the accusations and told Mullen that he "strongly rejects negative propaganda (about) Pakistan not doing enough." Meanwhile, a U.S. official in Islamabad has declared that the “United States has no plans to stop the drone campaign, but that ‘how it goes forward’ will be decided by discussions among U.S. and Pakistani military and intelligence officials.” Col. Dean Bushey, deputy director of the Army’s Joint Unmanned Aircraft Systems Center of Excellence, also has stated that the U.S. will still be able to conduct drone strikes using bases in Afghanistan, “should Pakistan’s government deny the use of its territory to launch attacks.” [i]
  • Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir has arrived in Washington DC for talks with U.S. officials, at the invitation of U.S. Special Representative for Pakistan and Afghanistan Marc Grossman. Dawn reports that “the discussions are expected to cover efforts towards resolution of the Afghan conflict and regional situation with reference to Pakistan’s eastern [neighbor] India.”[ii]

 

FATA

  • Seven of the thirty-five tribesmen who had been kidnapped in Kurram Agency last month are believed to have been killed. An unidentified source alleged that members of the jirga that met in Islamabad on Tuesday were informed about the killings. The source added that the bodies would likely be handed over to the jirga on Thursday. The location of the remaining abductees is still unknown. Dawn additionally reports that, “It was believed that they were in the custody of Mullah Toofan group, an offshoot of the banned [Tehrik-e-Taliban] Pakistan militant group operating in parts of Orakzai and Kurram agencies. Meanwhile, members of the jirga met with the governor of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa on Wednesday, though what was discussed in the meeting has not yet been released to the public.[iii]
  • On Tuesday, a tribesman was killed in front of hundreds of residents of Khyber Agency’s Bara sub-district by unidentified militants who alleged that the man had assisted security forces. The militants had forced the local citizens to witness the public slaughtering, which took place in Sheen Drang.[iv]
  • Two people were shot dead by militants in the Baizai sub-district of Mohmand Agency on Wednesday. The men were killed after militants set their truck on fire. A spokesperson for the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the attack and alleged that the driver and passenger were supporters of the government. Meanwhile, military jets shelled suspected militant hideouts in Suran Darra, Walidad Top, and Jarobi Darra in the Baizai sub-district. Nine militants were killed in the operations.[v]
  • A truck driver and his passenger were killed by Taliban militants in the Baizai area of Mohmand on Wednesday. An intelligence official in Peshawar stated that, “The driver had violated a ban on supplies travelling by truck across the border to Afghanistan, imposed by militants in the area.” He said that “the Pakistani Taliban had previously imposed a tax on such trucks, but clashes over the penalty led to an outright ban.” The truck was returning from selling livestock in Nangarhar in Afghanistan when it was attacked.[vi]
  • Three militants were killed in a clash with security forces in Darra Adam Khel in Orakzai agency on Wednesday. Security forces launched an operation after militants blew up two government schools in the area. Both schools were destroyed in the explosions. Meanwhile, local police committee members reportedly thwarted a suicide attack on a mosque in the Akhorwal area. The suicide bomber attempted to enter the mosque but was stopped by members of the committee before he could detonate the explosives strapped to his body.[vii]
  • President Zardari has announced that the federal government is dedicated to compensating “the past negligence of socio-economic development of the people of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and [FATA] by focusing on provision of new vistas of economic and political opportunities to the people of these areas.” He said that the provision of economic opportunities to the people in the region was necessary in order to incorporate the citizens into the mainstream of national life as well as keep unemployed locals from turning to militancy.[viii]
 

Two TTP Militants Arrested

 

Clashes in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa

  • Eight militants and a civilian were killed during clashes between militants and security forces in Hangu on Wednesday. The civilian was killed when a rocket fired by militants from Kurram Agency hit a house in the Torawari area. The militants had launched the rockets at the Asif checkpoint in Torawari, and were hit with retaliatory fire following the rocket attack.[x]
 

Supreme Court Upholds Acquittal

  • The Supreme Court of Pakistan has upheld the 2005 acquittal of five of the six men who had been accused of participating in the 2002 gang rape of Mukhtar Mai, citing a lack of evidence against the men. Meanwhile, the sixth man accused in the case will complete a life sentence. Mukhtar was allegedly raped by Punjab tribal leaders after her younger brother was accused of pursuing a relationship with a member of a different tribe. Speaking by telephone, she said that “I am deeply upset by the decision of the Supreme Court. Now I don’t have confidence in any court. But the court of Allah is bigger than any worldly court.”[xi]
 

‘Target Killings’ in Karachi

  • At least five people were killed in ‘target killings’ in Karachi on Wednesday. Three people were killed in the limits of Aziz Bhatti Police Station, while the others were killed in Malir and Ranchore Line. An investigation into the attacks has commenced.[xii]
 
 


[i] Zahid Hussain, “U.S. Warns Pakistan on Links to Taliban,” Wall Street Journal, April 21, 2011. Available at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703838004576275003566819520.html
[ii] “Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir arrives in Washington for talks,” Dawn, April 21, 2011. Available at
[iii] “Seven of the 35 kidnapped tribals feared killed,” Dawn, April 21, 2011. Available at
[iv] “Militants slay another tribesman publicly,” Dawn, April 21, 2011. Available at
[v]“Militants shoot truck driver, helper in Mohmand Agency,” The News, April 21, 2011. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=42767&Cat=7
[vi] “Taliban kill two for supplying livestock to Afghanistan,” Express Tribune, April 20, 2011. Available at
[vii]Syed Yasir Shah, “Three militants among 4 killed in Darra action,” The News, April 21, 2011. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=42765&Cat=7
[viii] “Govt to compensate past neglect of KP, Fata: president,” The News, April 21, 2011. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=5443&Cat=13
[ix] Umer Nangiana, “Islamabad police arrest two TTP militants,” Express Tribune, April 21, 2011. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/153543/islamabad-police-arrest-two-ttp-militants/
[x] “Eight militants, civilian killed in Hangu,” The News, April 21, 2011. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=5442&Cat=13
[xi] Salman Masood, “Pakistan Top Court Upholds Acquittals in Notorious Rape Case,” New York Times, April 21, 2011. Available at http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/22/world/asia/22pakistan.html?ref=world
[xii] “Five more gunned down in Karachi,” GEO, April 20, 2011. Available at http://geo.tv/4-20-2011/80589.htm