Pakistan Security Brief - August 2, 2012

Militants with Suspected Lashkar-e-Taiba links arrested in Spain; ISAF Commander Gen. John Allen meets with Pakistani Army Chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani in Islamabad; U.S. Department of Defense releases $1.118 billion in CSF to Pakistan; Torkham border crossing remains closed for eighth consecutive day; Pakistani Attorney General calls court hearing petitions on contempt bill “biased;” Pakistani Interior Ministry releases report identifying six militant groups responsible for situation in Balochistan; Haqqani Network increasingly reliant upon illegal activities for financing operations; Seven militants killed in clashes in Orakzai agency; Two killed in Lahore bombing.

Arrest of Militants with Suspected Lashkar-e-Taiba Links

  • Spanish officials arrested three suspected al Qaeda terrorists with alleged links to the Pakistan-based terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba in the southern cities of Cadiz and Almuradiel on Wednesday. Spanish security services officials allege that the detained – one of Turkish origin and the other two of suspected Russo-Chechen origin – were planning to attack a joint U.S.-Spanish naval base at Rota near Cadiz or British interests near Gibraltar. However, the officials have not ruled out the possibility that the suspects were plotting to attack targets in mainland Spain or other European countries. Investigators believe the suspects had received training in explosives and weapons shooting in Afghanistan or Pakistan.[1]   

U.S.-Pakistan Relations

  • On Thursday, Commander of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) Gen. John Allen said that “significant progress” was being made in improving relations between Pakistan and the U.S. and that he was pleased with “the upward spiral in [the] relationship.” Speaking with Pakistan Army Chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani in Islamabad, Gen. Allen stressed that a strengthening of the bilateral relationship between the two countries will enhance “the security and prosperity of the region.” Gen. Kayani, speaking to the Express Tribune, noted that the meeting was important in improving cooperation between Pakistan’s military and ISAF forces in Afghanistan. The meeting comes as Pakistan’s spy chief, Gen. Zahirul Islam, is in Washington to meet CIA Director David Petraeus.[2]

  • The U.S. Department of Defense has released $1.118 billion in Coalition Support Funds (CSF) to Pakistan. According to Bill Speaks, a spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Defense, the payments will “reimburse Pakistan for costs incurred in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, from the period of July 2010 through May 2011.”[3]

  • The U.S. Senate is expected to approve the nomination of U.S. Ambassador-designate to Pakistan Richard Olson before the beginning of one month’s recess on August 6, according to a diplomat speaking on the condition of anonymity. Should the U.S. Senate approve his nomination, Olson will assume the position of U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan later this month.[4]

NATO Supply Routes

Domestic Politics

Militancy

  • According to a report released by the Combating Terrorism Center on Tuesday, the Pakistan-based Haqqani Network has increased its reliance upon illicit activities such as “extortion, kidnapping, smuggling, and legitimate business” for financing operations. The report – based on interviews with officials and locals, archival records, and documents captured in Afghanistan – noted that it is “virtually impossible to conduct business in Haqqani areas of operation unless the network approves and profits off the business in some way.” The report suggests that the U.S. government should target the Haqqani Network’s financial infrastructure as a means of hindering the influence of the group in Pakistan and Afghanistan.[7]

  • In a meeting of the Special Cabinet Committee on Balochistan on Wednesday, the Interior Ministry released a report identifying at least six militant groups which it claimed directly contributed to the province’s unrest. Those groups included Lashkar-e-Balochistan, Mussalah Difa Tanzeem, and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, though the report also noted the role of some Afghan refugees in the province’s worsening law and order situation. Additionally, the report found that at least 868 people had been killed in Balochistan since 2010, and that as many as 2,390 people were reported missing. Speaking to the Pakistani Senate about the report on Thursday, Interior Minister Rehman Malik said that the situation in Balochistan is part of a “world power game.” Malik said that foreigners are bringing “external aggression into Balochistan” and urged the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Military Intelligence (MI) officials to submit recorded statements on the matter.[8]     

  • Four schools were bombed by suspected militants in the last two days. On Tuesday, two remote-controlled improvised explosive devices (IED) targeted two state-run schools in the Chinari area of Safi sub-district, Mohmand agency. One school, the Government Haji Abdur Rahim Primary School, was partially damaged, while the other, the Fida Muhammad Primary School, was destroyed. Elsewhere on Tuesday, suspected terrorists blew up a government school in the Badhber area of Peshawar. On Wednesday, two bombs exploded in a government-run girls primary school in Swabi district’s Kaddi village. No casualties were reported in any of the incidents. [9]

  • Clashes between security forces and militants in Orakzai agency continued on Wednesday as a Pakistani soldier and seven militants were killed following a two-hour gun battle in the Kago Qamar Darra area of Dabori. Militants had attacked the soldiers as they were advancing toward the Mamuzai area, after which the soldiers responded with retaliatory fire.[10]  

  • Five Kurram Levies personnel were injured on Wednesday when an explosive device went off in a building in Kurram agency’s Sadda sub-district.[11] 

  • Two people were killed this week as a result of “target killings” in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.  On Monday, a pro-government civilian was killed in the Lajbok Darra area, while on Wednesday, a school vice principal, who also led the local anti-Taliban militia, was shot dead in Lower Dir district’s Lagharai Thal area.[12]

  • Two bombs, planted under a pushcart in a fruit market in Lahore, killed two people and injured 21 others on Wednesday.[13]

  • On Wednesday, two bodies were found in the Sohrab Goth and Jamshed Road areas of Karachi. [14]           


[1] Paul Cruickshank and Nic Robertson, “Three terror suspects held in Spain,” CNN, August 2, 2012. Available at http://www.cnn.com/2012/08/02/world/europe/spain-terror-arrests/index.html
[2] “US sees ‘progress’ with Pakistan in talks,” Express Tribune, August 2, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/416434/us-sees-progress-with-pakistan-in-talks/
“PAK-US relations should be based on mutual trust,” Geo Pakistan, August 2, 2012. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=61699
[3] Huma Imtiaz, “US starts transfer of $1.118 billion in CSF funds to Pakistan," Express Tribune, August 2, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/416401/us-starts-transfer-of-1-118b-in-csf-funds-to-pakistan/
[4] “Munter’s replacement: US envoy to assume charge this month,” Express Tribune, August 2, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/416239/munters-replacement-us-envoy-to-assume-charge-this-month/
[5] “NATO supply route remains suspended for eighth day,” Daily Times, August 2, 2012. Available at http://dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\08\02\story_2-8-2012_pg7_18
[6] “Contempt law case: AG objects to bench, accuses judges of being biased,” Express Tribune, August 2, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/416426/contempt-law-case-ag-objects-to-bench-accuses-judges-of-being-biased/
[7] “Haqqani Network Financing: The Evolution of an Industry,” Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, July 2012. Available at http://www.ctc.usma.edu/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/CTC_Haqqani_Network_Financing-Report__Final.pdf
[8] “Six outfits shedding blood in Balochistan: report,” Geo News, August 1, 2012. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=61568
“Balochistan is victim of world power game: Malik,” Dawn, August 2, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/08/02/baloch-liberation-army-responsible-for-balochistan-unrest-says-malik/
[9] “Two more schools bombed,” The News, August 2, 2012. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-7-124156-Two-more-schools-bombed
“Terrorists blow up govt school in Peshawar,” Daily Times, August 2, 2012. Available at http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\08\02\story_2-8-2012_pg7_9
“Muhammad Irfan, “Girls school blown up in Swabi,” Express Tribune, August 2, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/416430/girls-school-blown-up-in-swabi/
[10] “Soldier, seven militants killed in Orakzai clash,” The News, August 2, 2012. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-7-124154-Soldier,-seven-militants-killed-in-Orakzai-clash
[11] “Five Levies personnel injured in Kurram blast,” The News, August 2, 2012. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-124174-Five-Levies-personnel-injured-in-Kurram-blast
[12] “Seven militants, soldier killed in Orakzai clash,” Dawn, August 1, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/08/02/seven-militants-soldier-killed-in-orakzai-clash/
[13] “Lahore blasts: Two succumb to injures,” The News, August 2, 2012. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-61636-Lahore-twin-blasts:-two-succumbed-to-injuries
[14] “Woman among two killed in separate incidents,” Daily Times, August 2, 2012. Available at http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\08\02\story_2-8-2012_pg12_14