Pakistan Security Brief - February 11, 2013

Pakistani Army test fires two short range nuclear missiles; India executes Afzal Guru, tensions rise, protesters killed; U.S. drone strike kills nine, including 2 al Qaeda men; U.S. Senate considering special court for drones; Released Taliban prisoners rejoin the Taliban; Bomb in Kuchlak kills one, police find 25kg IED; PAF jets kill eight militants in the Tirah Valley; U.S. begins drawdown of forces through Pakistan; Khyber agency police find weapons cache; TTP threatens shop owners not to sell obscene films or Viagra; U.S. Ambassador advises on U.S.-Pakistani relations; Swiss government will not reopen Zardari corruption case; Mortars in Quetta kill 7, cause blackouts.

Drones

  • On Friday, a U.S. drone strike killed nine militants, among them seven members of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and two members of al Qaeda, Abu Majid Al Iraqi and Sheikh Abu Waqas Al-Yaman in the Babar Ghar area of South Waziristan.  U.S. officials anonymously reported that only militants were killed in the attack on the compound on Friday evening.[1]

  • Deputy National Security Adviser John Brennan testified on Thursday in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee saying that locals in al Qaeda infested areas welcomed drone strikes.  In the debate, Senator Dianne Feinstein announced that she and some of her colleagues are working on proposing a special court system to regulate drone strikes.[2]

 Pakistan Test Fires Short Range Missile

Indo-Pak Relations

Freed Taliban Rejoin

  • According to a report published by The Washington Post on Monday, several Pakistani, Afghan, and U.S. officials believe that some Taliban fighters released by Pakistan as part of attempts to aid Afghan peace talks may have rejoined the Afghan Taliban on the battlefield.  According the report, Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) failed to consult with the Afghan High Peace Council when freeing the prisoners. Officials from the U.S. military reportedly stated that the military is trying to track down the whereabouts of any former prisoners that may have returned to the Afghan Taliban. During the recent summit between Afghan, Pakistani and British leaders in London, officials from Pakistan and Afghanistan reportedly set up new coordination measures that will be implemented before releasing any additional Taliban prisoners. [5]

Militancy

  • On Saturday, a bomb detonated killing one person and injuring at least three in Kuchlak, Balochistan. Police cordoned and searched the area finding a 25kg improvised explosive device (IED) planted inside a parked car. The bomb squad defused the secondary device and also found two cans of gasoline near the vehicle.[6]

  • The Pakistani Air Force conducted bombing raids in Khyber agency’s Tirah Valley, killing at least eight militant and injuring several others on Saturday. The strikes targeted members of Lashkar-e-Islam (LI) in Bazaar Zakha Khel and Aka Khel areas of Khyber Agency.[7]

  • On Sunday, Pakistani security forces recovered a cache of weapons, ammunition, and explosives during a raid in Lower Dir district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP). The cache included Pakistani and Afghan army uniforms as well as mines, hand grenades, three kg of explosives, 46 fuses, six detonators, and at least three weapons.[8]

  • On Monday, police were ambushed by two assailants near Sharkpur Sharif in Sheikhupura district while transporting a suspect accused of kidnapping for ransom. The two attackers, believed to be accomplices of the accused, were killed when Police returned fired. The man in custody was also killed during the incident.[9] 

  • The Pakistani Taliban’s Khyber branch, going by the Tehrik-e-Taliban (TTP) Khyber, threatened shopkeepers in Karkhano market, Peshawar against selling “obscene films” and male enhancement drugs on Monday. Shopkeepers reportedly found pamphlets containing warnings of retaliation.[10]

  • A man and his son were killed on Sher Shah Suri Road in Peshawar on Saturday when unidentified assailants opened fire. Another man was injured in the attack.[11]

  • On Sunday, seven people were injured from shrapnel when a mortar was fired on Khuda-e-Dad Road in Quetta, Balochistan. Another mortar round damaged the power supply, causing blackouts in the area.[12]

  • On Monday, a man was killed and his bodyguard injured when unidentified assailants opened fire in Joria Bazar located in the Old City Area of Karachi.[13]  

 U.S.-Pakistan Relations

  • On Saturday, U.S. military material began journeying across the border from Afghanistan to Pakistan in southern Balochistan and northwestern Khyber agency  as a part of the drawdown of U.S. forces from Afghanistan.  Trucks carrying a total of fifty containers crossed the border over the weekend, as part of the effort to get U.S. ground forces out of Afghanistan by 2014.[22]

  • On Friday, former U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter wrote an Op-Ed in The Atlantic with his suggestions for how to move forward U.S.-Pakistani relations .  His advice included ensuring that U.S. maintains a focus on Pakistan regarding militants and terrorism that is independent from concerns in Afghanistan, rethinking civilian and economic assistance between the two nations in light of lessons learned in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan .  Munter stressed that, while bilateral cooperation between the Pakistani and U.S. governments are necessary and good, whenever possible the nations should consider a regional view and agenda. Furthermore, Munter wrote that  cooperation beyond the political realm (business, tourism, etc…) would be crucial for a strong relationship  that would replace suspicious, negative narratives with positive, peaceful, and trusting ones.[23]

Switzerland Will Not Reopen President Zardari Case

  • On Sunday, Pakistani officials announced that Swiss authorities had sent a letter explaining that the Swiss government will not reopen a corruption case against President Zardari on the grounds that Zardari has international immunity, and because the case had become “time barred.”  Swiss authorities had previously been investigating claims that Zardari and his wife, former Prime Minister Bhutto, had embezzled $12 million dollars from Swiss inspection companies, and was closed in 2007.[24]

New Tax Laws

  • Pakistan seeks to deploy a scheme aimed at reducing tax evasion. According to a report by CNN, only 800,000 people of the 180 million residents pay taxes. Pakistan is seeking to place every citizen in a multi-biometric database that will reduce tax evasion as well as serve as a platform to pay out benefits and alleviate ID fraud.[25]

Florida Terrorism Case


[1]Dera Ismail Khan, “Pakistan toll from suspected U.S. strike now,” Fox, February 9, 2013. Available at http://www.foxnews.com/world/2013/02/09/pakistan-toll-from-suspected-us-strike-now/
“Four killed in U.S. drone strike in Waziristan,” Dawn, February 8, 2013.  Available at  http://dawn.com/2013/02/08/four-killed-in-us-drone-strike-in-waziristan/
[2] Anwar Iqbal, “Court system to regulate drones under study: U.S. senator,” Dawn, February 8, 2013.  Available at http://dawn.com/2013/02/09/court-system-to-regulate-drones-under-study-us-senator/
[3] “Pakistan successfully test fires Hatf-IX missile: ISPR,” The News International, February 11, 2013.  Available at  http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-87591-Pakistan-successfully-test-fires-Hatf-IX-missile%3a-ISPR
[4] “Indian execution sparks protests, accusations of politics,” CS Monitor, February 9, 2013.  Available at http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Asia-South-Central/2013/0209/Indian-execution-sparks-protests-accusations-of-politics  
“Kashmir protests turn deadly after handing in New Delhi,” CS Monitor, February 10, 2013.  Available at  www.csmonitor.com/World/Latest-News-Wires/2013/0210/Kashmir-protests-turn-deadly-after-hanging-in-New-Delhi
“India imposes curfew in Kashmir after Afzal Guru’s execution,” Dawn, February 9, 2013.  Available at  http://dawn.com/2013/02/09/india-imposes-curfew-in-kashmir-after-afzal-gurus-execution/
“Boy shot in Kashmir execution protest dies,” Dawn, February 11, 2013.  Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-87569-Boy-shot-in-Kashmir-execution-protest-dies%3a-hospital--
[5] “Some Taliban prisoners released by Pakistan are back in battle, officials fear,” The Washington Post, February 11, 2013. Available at http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/war-zones/some-taliban-prisoners-released-by-pakistan-are-back-in-battle-officials-fear/2013/02/09/ea0a0d30-721d-11e2-b3f3-b263d708ca37_story.html
“Pakistan to consult Afghans before freeing Taliban,” Dawn, February 11, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/02/09/pakistan-to-consult-afghans-before-freeing-taliban/
[6] “Quetta: Blast near Kuchlak police station kills one,” Geo, February 11, 2013. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=87377                
[7] “Warplanes pound militant hideouts in FATA, 8 killed,” Geo, February 11, 2013. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=87422
[8] “Weapons, Pakistan Army uniforms recovered from Lower Dir, Express Tribune, February 11, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/505316/weapons-pakistan-army-uniforms-recovered-from-lower-dir/
[9] “Sheikhupura: Three killed in alleged police encounter,” Geo, February 11, 2013. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=87544
[10] “Taliban warn shopkeepers against selling obscene films, viagra,” Dawn, February 11, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/02/11/taliban-warn-shopkeepers-against-selling-obscene-films-viagra/
[11] “Man, son killed in Peshawar firing,” Geo, February 11, 2013. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=87332
[12] “Seven injured in Quetta rocket attacks,” The News, February 11, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-20896-Seven-injured-in-Quetta-rocket-attacks
[13] “Karachi: Five killed in just one hour,” Geo, February 11, 2013. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=87572
[14] Karachi: Five killed in just one hour,” Geo, February 11, 2013. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=87572
[15] Karachi: Five killed in just one hour,” Geo, February 11, 2013. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=87572
[16] “Two gunned down in Garden area,” Geo, February 11, 2013. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=87437
[17] “Karachi violence: Police official among seven killed,” Geo, February 11, 2013. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=87624  
[18] “Police check-post ransacked in North Karachi,”  Geo, February 11, 2013. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=87510
[19] “Man shot dead by motorcyclists in Larkana,” Geo, February 11, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-20901-Man-shot-dead-by-motorcyclists-in-Larkana 
[20] “Four Bodies found from Peshawar identified,” Geo, February 11, 2013. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=87330
[21] “Three cops injured as blast targets police van in Peshawar,” Geo, February 11, 2013. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=87487
[22]US begins Afghan pullout through Pakistan route: spokesman,” Dawn, February 11, 2013.  Available at http://dawn.com/2013/02/11/us-begins-afghan-pullout-through-pakistan-route-spokesman/
[23] Cameron Munter, “Here’s how the U.S. can work with Pakistan,” The Atlantic, February 8, 2013.  Available at http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2013/02/heres-how-the-us-can-work-with-pakistan/272975/
[24] “Swiss will not reopen graft probe into Pakistan president,” Reuters, February 11, 2013.  Available at http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/10/us-pakistan-swiss-idUSBRE91905W20130210
[25] “Pakistan hatches scheme to claw back tax,” CNN, February 11, 2013. Available at http://www.cnn.com/2013/02/11/world/asia/pakistan-tax/
[26] “Defense witnesses testify from Pakistan in terror support trial of Florida imam,” The Washington Post, February 11, 2013. Available at http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/defense-witnesses-testify-from-pakistan-in-terror-support-trial-of-florida-imam/2013/02/11/764d149a-7435-11e2-9889-60bfcbb02149_story.html