Pakistan Security Brief - August 15, 2012

Pakistan to launch major military operation against Waziristan militants next month; U.S. Defense Secretary Panetta says U.S. increasing cross-border cooperation with Pakistan; U.S. Secretary of State Clinton reviewing FTO designation for Haqqani Network; Afghan and Pakistani presidents to send joint military team to investigate cross-border attacks; Prime Minister Ashraf tells cabinet ministers to prepare for elections; Tuesday’s Orakzai clash between Pakistani troops and militants reportedly part of new Pakistani offensive in border region; Interior ministry issues warning of increased terrorist attacks in coming weeks.  

U.S.-Pakistan Relations

Afghan-Pakistan Relations

  • During a Tuesday meeting in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari discussed bilateral relations, regional security, and Afghan reconciliation. Zardari reaffirmed Pakistan's commitment to supporting the socioeconomic development of Afghanistan, and both leaders spoke of the need for all Afghan groups to forego violence and participate in the peace process. Additionally, Karzai and Zardari agreed to send a joint military delegation to the border to investigate the recent spate of cross-border attacks that have heightened bilateral tensions. Their meeting took place on the sidelines of the Conference of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation concerning challenges facing the Muslim world.[4]

  • On Wednesday, Afghan Ambassador to Pakistan Omar Daudzai denied claims made by Afghanistan’s national security advisor and Pakistan’s interior minister that Afghan officials had met with Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar in April. Afghan officials have long requested access to Baradar, a senior Taliban leader who was captured by Pakistani authorities in 2010, and news of the Afghan delegation’s April meeting with Baradar was seen as an indication of Pakistan’s desire to facilitate Afghan reconciliation. Daudzai, however, rejected such reports and stated that Pakistan had only granted Afghanistan consular access to Afghan prisoners—but not Taliban prisoners—held in Pakistani jails. Daudzai did reiterate the Afghan government’s long-standing demand for Baradar’s release into Afghan custody.[5]     

International Relations

  • A high-level delegation from Tajikistan met with Pakistani officials on Tuesday to discuss the possibility of importing critical food supplies, including wheat, rice, and corn. The talks followed unprecedented snowfall last fall and winter that hampered Tajikistan's ability to provide basic food commodities to its people. The talks also signaled both sides' interest in strengthening diplomatic and political relations by expanding bilateral trade. Follow-up meetings to discuss the pricing and quality of imports, as well as technical issues, were agreed upon. Last week, Pakistan made a barter deal with Iran that similarly included wheat exports.[6]

Domestic Politics

Militancy

  • According to The Hill, Tuesday’s clash between Pakistani troops and militants in Orakzai agency was part of Pakistan’s new military offensive against militant groups in the border region. Countering initial reports of the event, CNN states that the clash began after Pakistani security forces raided a militant hideout in the area. During the ensuing clash, 35 militants and two security personnel were killed and an additional 16 personnel injured, according to a Pakistani military source. The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which took credit for the attack, disputed those figures with spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan stating that five security personnel were killed and 15 TTP militants injured. [9]

  • Pakistan’s interior ministry issued a warning on Tuesday noting the increased likelihood of terrorist attacks in the weeks ahead. The ministry identified politicians and political party offices as potential targets, and directed law enforcement agencies to take precautionary measures.[10]    

  • One security personnel was killed and three others injured on Wednesday when their patrol triggered a landmine in the Saragarhi area of Kurram agency. Elsewhere in Kurram, a remote-controlled bomb detonated near a vehicle in the Bugzai area, injuring three civilians.[11]

  • Nearly 100 militants reportedly attacked a Levies check post in the Ghaiba Khawar area and an anti-Taliban militia headquarters in Sangar village, both located in Halima sub-district of Mohmand agency. The attack killed two Levies personnel and one civilian. No group has claimed responsibility for attack.[12]  

  • Incidents of violence across Karachi left seven people dead and another five injured on Tuesday and Wednesday. Firing incidents took place in the Lasbela bridge, Soldier Bazaar, Nursery, Jamali Goth, and Bhains Colony areas.[13]   



[1] Dominic Di-Natale, “Pakistan preps for September militant purge,” Fox News, August 15, 2012. Available at http://www.foxnews.com/world/2012/08/15/pakistan-preps-for-september-militant-purge/
[2] Huma Imtiaz, “US trying to improve Af-Pak border coordination: Panetta,” Express Tribune, August 15, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/422241/af-pak-us-trying-to-improve-border-coordination-panetta/
“Cooperation increasing with Pak: Panetta,” The News, August 15, 2012. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-63397-Cross-border-cooperation-increasing-with-Pakistan:-Panetta
[3] Victoria Nuland, “Daily Press Briefing,” U.S. Department of State, August 14, 2012. Available at http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpb/2012/08/196459.htm#PAKISTAN
“Clinton considers blacklisting Haqqani network,” AFP, August 15, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/422327/clinton-considers-blacklisting-haqqani-network/
“Asad Kharal, “No joint operation in North Waziristan: Security officials,” Express Tribune, August 14, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/422028/no-upcoming-operation-in-north-waziristan-security-officials/
[4] “Troubled relations: Zardari, Karzai talk on OIC sidelines,” APP, August 15, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/422238/troubled-relations-zardari-karzai-talk-on-oic-sidelines/
“Afghan-Pakistani team to probe border shelling: Kabul,” AFP, August 15, 2012. Available at http://news.yahoo.com/afghan-pakistani-team-probe-border-shelling-kabul-065953545.html
[5] Tahir Khan, “Reconciliation efforts: Meeting with jailed Taliban leader denied,” Express Tribune, August 15, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/422252/reconciliation-efforts-meeting-with-jailed-taliban-leader-denied/
[6] “Tajikistan to import wheat, rice from Pakistan,” APP, August 15, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/422161/tajikistan-to-import-wheat-rice-from-pakistan/
[7] “PM directs cabinet to prepare for elections,” Geo News, August 15, 2012. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=63462
Qamar Zaman, "Onus on opposition: PM invites politicians to discuss caretaker set-up," Express Tribune, August 15, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/422268/onus-on-opposition-pm-invites-politicians-to-discuss-caretaker-set-up/ 
“Constitution bars PM from acting against president, says Aitzaz,” The News, August 15, 2012. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-126573-Constitution-bars-PM-from-acting-against-president,-says-Aitzaz
Zia Khan, “Belligerence: PPP leaders for defying SC summons,” Express Tribune, August 15, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/422271/belligerence-ppp-leaders-for-defying-sc-summons/
[8] “PAF jet crashes in Thal, pilot ejects safely,” Geo News, August 15, 2012. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=63452
[9] Carlos Munoz, “Pakistan launches assaults on militants along Afghan border,” The Hill, August 14, 2012. Available at http://thehill.com/blogs/defcon-hill/operations/243589-pakistan-launches-assaults-on-militants-along-afghan-border-
[11] “Landmine explosion kills security personnel, injures three,” Dawn, August 15, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/08/15/landmine-explosion-kills-security-personnel-injures-three/
[12] “Mureeb Mohmand, “1 killed, 2 Levies soldiers injured in militant attack,” Express Tribune, August 15, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/422361/1-killed-2-levies-soldiers-injured-in-militant-attack/
[13] “Karachi violence claims seven lives,” Dawn, August 15, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/08/15/karachi-violence-claims-seven-lives/