Pakistan Security Brief - December 29, 2014

IS graffiti observed in Sindh; Drone strikes kill seven militants in North Waziristan; Drone strike kills three anti-government fighters, including one Pakistani, in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province;  Security forces repulse militant attacks, 16 killed in Orakzai Agency; PAF airstrikes kill 45 militants in Khyber Agency, North Waziristan; Two suicide bombers killed in Zhob district, Balochistan; FC personnel arrest seven militants in Balochistan; Three militant commanders arrested in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa; Four militants arrested in Quetta; 12 TTP militants arrested in Quetta; Security forces kill facilitator of Peshawar school attack in Khyber Agency;  Security forces seize explosives from Mohmand Agency; Security forces arrest 65 militants in Peshawar; Seven TTP militants killed in Karachi; FC personnel repulse militant attack killing eight militants in Dera Bugti district, Balochistan; Militants attack security checkpost killing one in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa; Arrest warrant issued against Lal Masjid cleric; Security forces arrest three militants in Lahore; 35 people arrested from a temporary hospital in Peshawar; 56 condemned prisoners to be executed; Army chief reviews strategies for implementation of National Action Plan against terrorism;  NACTA to be revived with immediate effect; Illegal Afghan refugees to be expelled immediately, says Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister; Government to take action against seminaries involved in militancy; Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif constitutes committee for implementation of National Action Plan; Islamabad High Court orders release of LeT leader; India summons Pakistani envoy to protest.

Drone Strikes

  • On December 26, two separate drone strikes killed at least seven militants and injured five others in the Shawal area of North Waziristan. The first drone strike, targeting the compound of Punjabi Taliban commander Qari Imam, killed four militants and injured three in the Kund Ghar area of the Shawal Valley. The second drone strike took place in the Mangroti area of Shawal, killing three militants and injuring two. Conflicting reports suggest that three Uzbek militants were killed in the two drone strikes and that one of the drone strikes targeted the base of Punjabi Taliban leader Asmatullah Muawiyah [1]  

  • On December 24, a drone strike killed three anti-government fighters, including one Pakistani and two Afghans in the Perakhel area of Khugyani district in Nangarhar province. Separately  a drone strike on December 23 killed Mullah Bajauri, a Pakistani militant commander, in the Lalpura district of Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province. [2]

Militancy

  • On December 24, Pakistan Air Force (PAF) airstrikes killed six militants and injured ten others in the Tirah Valley of Khyber Agency. The airstrikes targeted the hideouts of Lashkar-e-Islam (LI) and Tehrik-e-Taliban (TTP) militants.[3] 

  • On December 26, PAF airstrikes killed 39 militants in the Datta Khel area of North Waziristan. The airstrikes targeted militant hideouts in the Mada Khel, Basikhel and Lataka areas and destroyed six militant hideouts. According to official sources, two key militant commanders were among those killed. The airstrikes also destroyed a large cache of ammunition and an underground tunnel system.[4]

  • On December 26, security forces repulsed two militant attacks on security check posts, killing 16 militants and injuring 20, in Orakzai Agency. Troops arrested two wounded militants while four soldiers were injured in the gun battle.[5]

  • On December 27, security forces conducted a search operation, killing two suicide bombers, in the Gawal Ismailzai area of Zhob district, Balochistan. One suicide bomber detonated his suicide vest while the other one was killed by the security forces. Security forces also recovered 500 bombs, 200 kilograms of explosives, 50 suicide vests, 13 rocket launchers and other weapons during the operation.[6]

  • On December 28, FC personnel arrested four militants, including a key commander, in the Sariab road area of Quetta. Separately, police forces foiled a terror attack by defusing a suicide jacket in the Browery road area of Quetta.[7]

  • On December 25, security forces conducted a raid and arrested twelve TTP militants in the Kuchlak area of Quetta, Balochistan.  Those arrested reportedly include two TTP commanders.[8]

  • On December 25, security forces killed one militant and arrested six in Jamrud town of Khyber Agency. The slain militant was reportedly a facilitator for the militants involved in the December 16 Peshawar school attack and was an operational commander of the TTP-Tariq Geedar group.[9] 

  • On December 26, security forces seized a huge cache of arms and explosives in a search operation in the Safi sub-district of Mohmand Agency. Twenty-two mortar shells, 66 landmines and 35 kilograms of explosives were reportedly recovered.[10]

  • On December 27, security forces arrested three militant commanders in Shabqadar, Charsadda district, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. Security forces also recovered a large amount of arms and ammunition from the militants.[11]

  • According to a December 26 Express Tribune report, security forces arrested 65 suspected militants from different areas of Peshawar within 24 hours. Fifteen of those arrested were allegedly Afghan refugees.[12] 

  • In an update to a story reported on December 24, Sindh Rangers killed three TTP militants belonging to the TTP Khan Zaman group in the Surjani area of Karachi. Two police personnel were also injured in the encounter. Separately, Rangers killed four militants in a raid in the Sohrab Goth area of Karachi.[13]

  • On December 27, police forces killed two militants in a shootout in Karachi.[14]

  • On December 26, militants attacked a police check post, killing one policeman and injuring two others, in the Sarki Piyala area in the Hangu district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.[15]  

  • On December 26, a court in Islamabad issued a non-bailable arrest warrant against Lal Masjid cleric Maulana Abdul Aziz on the basis of a case filed by civil society members against the cleric. In response to the arrest warrant, Lal Masjid Shuhada Foundation spokesman Hafiz Ehrisham declared that Maulana Aziz would resist any move by the police to arrest him. Civil society activists launched a protest against Maulana Aziz on December 19 in response to a statement by Aziz in which he refused to condemn the Peshawar school attack.[16]

  • On December 25, security forces carried out a raid in the Kot Lakhpat area of Lahore and arrested three militants. The militants were allegedly planning to attack the Kot Lakhpat Central Jail. The security forces also recovered a rocket launcher, a military uniform, bow and arrows, weapons, maps of the central jail and other documents.[17]

  • On December 25, security forces arrested 35 people from a temporary hospital being secretly run in a residential house in the Nothia area of Peshawar. According to police reports, the majority of those arrested were Afghan refugees.[18]

  • According to a December 26 Dawn report, 56 condemned prisoners, including 11 convicted on terrorism charges, are likely to be executed after their mercy petitions were rejected by President Mamnoon Hussain.[19]

  • On December 25, Frontier Corps (FC) personnel arrested seven militants in the Shadikur area of Gwadar in Balochistan and also recovered arms and ammunition from the militants.[20]

  • On December 24, security forces recovered a large cache of arms and ammunition and arrested several militants in the Bagin area of lower Kurram Agency.[21]

  • On December 27, militants opened fire at FC personnel, killing one FC soldier and injuring seven, in the Loti area of Dera Bugti district, Balochistan. FC personnel killed eight militants in retaliatory firing.[22]

Islamic State

  • On December 26, graffiti bearing the name of Islamic State (IS) was observed in Larkana area Sindh province.[23]

Indo-Pak Relations

  • On December 29, the Islamabad High Court ordered the release of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) leader Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, the alleged mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai terror attack. In response to Lakhvi’s release, Indian Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh summoned Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India, Mr. Abdul Basit, and conveyed “strong concern” over Lakhvi’s release. Singh reiterated that the Indian government expected the Government of Pakistan to abide by its commitment of bringing the perpetrators of the 2008 Mumbai attacks to justice. Singh also declared that this release order proved that Pakistan remains a safe-haven for terror-groups. On December 22, U.S. State Department spokesperson Mary Harf had also said that the U.S. was concerned about the release of Lakhvi and that the matter will be raised with Pakistani government privately and publicly.[24]

Counter-Terrorism  Efforts

  • On December 26, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif constituted a committee for the implementation of the National Action Plan on terrorism and announced that he would supervise the implementation of the plan himself to ensure its effectiveness. Prime Minister Sharif also tasked the Ministry of Finance and the State Bank of Pakistan to supervise anti-terror-financing operations and announced that a federal counter-terrorism force would be deployed with the help of the Ministry of Defence.[25]

  • On December 25, army chief Gen. Raheel Sharif chaired a high-level security meeting to review all the activities to be undertaken by the army and intelligence agencies as a part of the National Action Plan (NAP). On December 24, political parties had approved the 20-point “comprehensive” NAP against terrorism. Under the NAP, the army will establish military courts for speedy prosecution of terrorism suspects, train law-enforcement personnel in counter-terrorism strategies, assist in establishing 10 new wings of the Frontier Corps, intensify the ongoing military operations and aid efforts for political reconciliation in Balochistan. Gen. Raheel Sharif has reportedly directed all concerned to initiate action on an urgent basis for the plan’s speedy and effective implementation. On December 24, Prime Minister Sharif declared that the special military courts will be set up for a period of two years through a constitutional amendment and assured that their jurisdiction will be strictly limited to terrorism cases.[26]  

  • On December 27, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif decided to revive the National Counter Terrorism Authority Pakistan (NACTA) with immediate effect at a high-level meeting. Following the directive, an administrative meeting of NACTA has been scheduled for December 31 and will be chaired by Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan. The first draft of constitutional and legal amendments required for the trial of militants in military courts was presented at the meeting. Prime Minister Sharif also assured that troops fighting militants will be given legal protection for their actions. An umbrella committee with 15 sub-committees was also formed at the meeting in order to implement the NAP.[27]  

  • According to a December 25 Dawn report, the Punjab government may take action against some religious schools found to be involved in militancy in any way. According to Punjab Home Minister (Retd.) Col. Shuja Khanzada, the government has completed the mapping of registered and unregistered religious schools in the province and may initiate action against ten percent of them.[28]  

Pak-Afghan Relations

  • According to a December 25 Dawn report, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervez Khattak declared that the government will take steps to immediately expel all illegal Afghan refugees. Khattak added that a modus operandi will be devised for the honorable repatriation of all legal Afghan refugees in Pakistan as soon as possible.[29]


[1]“2 Drone Strikes in Pakistan Are Said to Kill 9 Militant Suspects,” New York Times, December 26, 2014. Available at http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/27/world/asia/pakistan-militants-drone.html?partner=rss&emc=rss&_r=0
“7 suspected militants killed in North Waziristan drone strikes,” Dawn, December 26, 2014. Available at http://www.dawn.com/news/1153275/7-suspected-militants-including-3-foreigners-killed-in-north-waziristan-drone-strikes
[2]“Three killed in Nangarhar drone strike,” The News, December 25, 2014. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-34896-Three-killed-in-Nangarhar-drone-hit
[3]“Six militants killed in Tirah shelling,” The News, December 25, 2014. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-34895-Six-militants-killed-in-Tirah-shelling
[4]“Airstrikes in North Waziristan kill 39 suspected militants,”Dawn, December 27, 2014. Available at http://www.dawn.com/news/1153301/airstrikes-in-north-waziristan-kill-39-suspected-militants
[5]“Air strikes, gun battle kill 55 militants in Orakzai, Khyber,” Express Tribune, December 27, 2014. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/812987/12-militants-killed-in-orakzai-check-post-attack/
“Orakzai clashes kill 16 suspected militants,” Dawn, December 26, 2014. Available at http://www.dawn.com/news/1153472/orakzai-clashes-kill-16-suspected-militants
[6]“Two suicide bombers killed in Zhob operation,” Dawn, December 27, 2014. Available at http://www.dawn.com/news/1153478/two-suicide-bombers-killed-in-zhob-operation
[7]“Police arrest four suspected militants, defuse bomb in Quetta,” Dawn, December 28, 2014. Available at http://www.dawn.com/news/1153648/police-arrest-four-suspected-militants-defuse-bomb-in-quetta
[8]“12 ‘Taliban’ arrested in Kuchlak,” Dawn, December 26, 2014. Available at http://www.dawn.com/news/1153453/12-taliban-arrested-in-kuchlak
[9]“Peshawar school attack: Alleged facilitator killed in Khyber Agency,” Express Tribune, December 26, 2014. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/812569/peshawar-school-attack-alleged-facilitator-killed-in-khyber-agency/
[10]“Security forces recover huge cache of arms, explosives in Mohmand,” Dawn, December 26, 2014. Available at http://www.dawn.com/news/1153295/security-forces-recover-huge-cache-of-arms-explosives-in-mohmand
[11]“Police operation: 3 suspected terrorist commanders arrested in Shabqadar,” Express Tribune, December 27, 2014. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/813034/police-operation-3-suspected-terrorist-commanders-arrested-in-mardan/
[12]“Security forces arrest 65 suspects in Peshawar,” December 26, 2014. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/812565/security-forces-arrest-65-suspects-in-peshawar/
[13]“Seven TTP men killed in Karachi shootout with Rangers,” The News, December 25, 2014. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-34893-Seven-TTP-men-killed-in-Karachi-shootout-with-Rangers
[14]“ Two terrorists killed in shootout with police in Karachi,” Geo, December 28, 2014. Available at http://www.geo.tv/article-169994-Two-terrorists-killed-in-shootout-with-police-in-Karachi
[15]“Security forces recover huge cache of arms, explosives in Mohmand,” Dawn, December 26, 2014. Available at http://www.dawn.com/news/1153295/security-forces-recover-huge-cache-of-arms-explosives-in-mohmand
[16]“Arrest warrant issued for Lal Masjid cleric Maulana Abdul Aziz,” Dawn, December 26, 2014. Available at http://www.dawn.com/news/1153286/arrest-warrant-issued-for-lal-masjid-cleric-maulana-abdul-aziz
[17]“Timely raid: Three held in Lahore over jailbreak plot,” Express Tribune, December 26, 2014. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/812512/timely-raid-three-held-in-lahore-over-jailbreak-plot/
[18]“Targeted operation: 35 people nabbed from secretly-run hospital,” Express Tribune, December 26, 2014. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/812521/targeted-operation-35-people-nabbed-from-secretly-run-hospital/
[19]“56 terrorists on death row in Punjab,” Dawn,  December 26, 2014. Available at http://www.dawn.com/news/1153189/56-terrorists-on-death-row-in-punjab
[20]“FC arrests seven suspected militants near Gwadar,” Dawn, December 25, 2014. Available at http://www.dawn.com/news/1153121/fc-arrests-seven-suspected-militants-near-gwadar
[21]“Arms recovered, suspects held in Kurram,” December 25, 2014. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-292311-Arms-recovered,suspects-held-in-Kurram
“Mullah Bajauri killed in drone hit,” The News, December 25, 2014. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-7-292245-Mullah-Bajauri-killed-in-drone-hit
[22]“FC soldier, eight militants killed in Dera Bugti clash,” Dawn, December 27, 2014. Available at http://www.dawn.com/news/1153495/militant-ambush-kills-fc-soldier-in-dera-bugti
[23]“IS wall chalking in Larkana ahead of Benazir Bhutto’s death anniversary,” Dawn, December 26, 2014. Available at http://www.dawn.com/news/1153283/is-wall-chalking-in-larkana-ahead-of-benazir-bhuttos-death-anniversary
[24]“Lakhvi’s detention cancelled, 26/11 planner likely to walk free; India register protest, summons Pakistan envoy,” Indian Express, December 29, 2014. Available at http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/mea-summons-pakistan-envoy-over-zaki-ur-rehman-lakhvi-release/
“U.S. shows concern over Lakhvi’s bail,” The News, December 25, 2014. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-292329-US-shows-concern-over-Lakhvis-bail
[25]“Committee will be given days, not weeks to gear up in war against militants: Nawaz,” Express Tribune, December 26, 2014. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/812573/pm-to-personally-supervise-swift-implementation-of-national-action-plan/
[26]“ Army starts groundwork for setting up courts,” Dawn, December 26, 2014. Available at http://www.dawn.com/news/1153246/army-starts-groundwork-for-setting-up-courts
“Pakistan to Form Military Courts to Try Suspected Terrorists,” Wall Street Journal, December 24, 2014. Available at http://www.wsj.com/articles/pakistan-to-form-military-courts-to-try-suspected-terrorists-1419463318
[27]“PM wants functional NACTA in anti-terror effort,” Dawn, December 27, 2014. Available at http://www.dawn.com/news/1153473/pm-wants-functional-nacta-in-anti-terror-effort
“Troops combating terrorism to get legal protection: PM,” The News, December 28, 2014. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-34939-Troops-combating-terrorism-to-get-legal-protection:-PM
[28]“Action likely against seminaries involved in militancy,” Dawn, December 25, 2014. Available at http://www.dawn.com/news/1153012/action-likely-against-seminaries-involved-in-militancy
[29]“Illegal Afghans to be expelled immediately: CM,” Dawn, December 25, 2014. Available at http://www.dawn.com/news/1153049/illegal-afghans-to-be-expelled-immediately-cm