Pakistan Security Brief - December 8, 2011

U.S. moves to vacate Shamsi Airbase, Pakistan threatens to cut NATO fuel supply; Gingrich questions security of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons; U.S. and Afghanistan urge Pakistan to take action after Pakistan-based LeJ attacks kill over 60 in Afghanistan; Zardari expected to return to Pakistan within four days; Militants destroy 22 NATO tankers; Iran kills three Pakistani fishermen for straying into Iranian waters; “Extremists” clash in Khyber agency; American man pleads guilty to receiving money for Pakistan’s ISI; Abbottabad Commission holds press conference; Australia denies lifting of ban on uranium sales to Pakistan.

U.S.-Pakistan Relations

  • U.S. aircraft continued to arrive at Shamsi Airbase in Balochistan on Thursday to recover American drone equipment and operators ahead of Pakistan’s December 11 deadline for the base to be vacated, a move which came in response to the November 26 NATO raid that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.  At least seven U.S. planes were seen flying into the base, which the U.S. has used to launch drone attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and witnesses reported that a number of containers used by U.S. personnel on the base were purposely torched.  Meanwhile, Pakistan has moved toward enforcing a “permanent ban on [the] export of locally-produced petroleum products, except jet fuel” to NATO troops in Afghanistan.  The Cabinet’s Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) is set to vote on the ban on Friday, but Pakistan has announced that it will not implement the ban on locally-produced fuel if “NATO agrees to pay all applicable duties to Pakistan.”[1]

  • While on CNN’s “Situation Room” on Wednesday, U.S. Republican Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich challenged the security of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, noting that a nuclear weapon could be stolen by “extremist elements” within Pakistan’s military establishment at any time.[2]

LeJ Attack

  • In the aftermath of a series of terrorist attacks that killed over 60 people in Afghanistan during Ashura, Pakistan called on Afghanistan to provide it “hard evidence” that the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi al Almi (LeJ) terrorist group carried out the attack.  On Thursday, Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s spokesman responded to Pakistan’s request for evidence, citing that the LeJ “splinter group” had publically claimed responsibility for the attacks and added that it was now Pakistan’s duty to “take action” against the Pakistan-based LeJ terrorist group and “investigate [the attacks] without waiting any longer.” Meanwhile, U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner motioned for Pakistan to take “greater action” against LeJ, noting that LeJ was exactly the type of terrorist group Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had “in mind when she urged Pakistan to act against extremists during an October visit” to the country.[3]

Zardari’s Health

Balochistan

FATA

Kashmir

Abbottabad Commission

Uranium


[1] Shehzad Baloch, “Aircraft to evacuate American personnel, drones arrive at Shamsi base,” Express Tribune, December 7, 2011. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/303209/aircraft-to-evacuate-american-personnel-drones-arrive-at-shamsi-base/
Zafar Bhutta, “Forces may feel fuel pinch even after supply resumes,” Express Tribune, December 8, 2011. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/303352/forces-may-feel-fuel-pinch-even-after-supply-resumes/
[2] “‘Extremists’ within reach of Pakistan nukes: Gingrich,” AFP, December 8, 2011. Available at
[3] “Sectarian massacre: Kabul says up to Pakistan to investigate LeJ involvement,” AFP, December 8, 2011. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/303489/sectarian-massacre-kabul-says-up-to-pakistan-to-investigate-lej-involvement/
“US urges Pakistan to act after Afghan attacks,” AFP, December 8, 2011. Available at
[4] “US wishes Zardari well, dismisses coup rumours,” AFP, December 8, 2011. Available at
Irfan Ghauri and Zia Khan, “Rumours run riot: Zardari’s heart condition sets pulses racing by,” Express Tribune, December 7, 2011. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/303040/us-believes-zardari-may-resign-report/
“Market Watch: Stocks fall in dull trading session,” Express Tribune, December 8, 2011. Available at
“Pakistani President's Medical Trip Fuels Rumors,” AP, December 7, 2011. Available at
[6] Shehzad Baloch, “Iran guns down three Pakistani fishermen,” Express Tribune, December 7, 2011. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/303107/iranian-forces-gun-down-three-pakistani-fishermen/
[7] Amirzada Afridi, “Militancy in Khyber: Four killed in clashes between extremists,” Express Tribune, December 8, 2011. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/303370/militancy-in-khyber-four-killed-in-clashes-between-extremists/
[8] “US 'agent' Ghulam Nabi Fai 'took Pakistan spy money,'” BBC, December 7, 2011. Available at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-16081521
Jason Ukman, “Fai pleads guilty to conspiring with Pakistani spy agency to lobby for Kashmir,” Washington Post, December 8, 2011. Available at http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/fai-pleads-guilty-to-conspiring-with-pakistani-spy-agency-to-lobby-for-kashmir/2011/12/07/gIQAXJAidO_story.html
[9] “Abbottabad commission: Javed Iqbal calls ‘unusual’ press conference,” Express Tribune, December 8, 2011. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/303366/abbottabad-commission-javed-iqbal-calls-unusual-press-conference/
“Abbottabad commission to complete report by month end,” AFP, December 8, 2011. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2011/12/08/abbottabad-commission-to-complete-report-by-month-end.html
“‘Osama not at Qaeda helm before raid,’” AFP, December 8, 2011. Available at
[10] “Uranium sales open to India, not Pakistan: Australia,” Dawn, December 8, 2011. Available at