Pakistan Security Brief - February 12, 2013

TTP releases interview with Hakimullah Mehsud; TTP video memorializes martyrs including British and American Fighters; Obama to announce withdrawal of 34,000 troops, 8,000 remaining in 2014; Fazlur Rehman in Qatar moderating Afghan-Taliban negotiations, government distances itself from Fazlur Rehman’s trip; Karzai calls for release Taliban prisoners; Pakistan Army to create counter-IED forces; IED targets gas company in Karachi; Several dead in Karachi; Police raids net several suspects of targeted violence; Talks begin finalizing Iran pipeline; Pakistani clerics threaten to boycott Ulema Council; Witnesses testify in Florida terrorism case.

TTP Announcements 

  • SITE Intel on Friday published a video by the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan’s (TTP) media outlet, Umar Studio, interviewing Hakimullah Mehsud and Wali ur-Rahman regarding the connection between the TTP, the Afghan Taliban, and al Qaeda. Mehsud reiterated that Mullah Omar is the leader of all three groups. Meshud also cited that the TTP was the first group to launch attacks in retaliation to Osama Bin Laden’s death and said TTP members would sacrifice themselves in order to protect al Qaeda. Meshud announced that the TTP does not see a distinction between Afghanistan and Pakistan and will continue to fight in both spheres. In response to peace negotiations between the TTP and the Pakistani government, Mehsud stated that the TTP is willing to negotiate with the Pakistani government on the condition that the government abandons its servitude to the U.S. and does not insist on the TTP laying down its arms.[1]
  • SITE on Monday published a TTP-released memorial video eulogizing slain terrorists. Hakimullah Mehsud, the leader of the TTP, stated in the video that the two goals of the TTP are to implement Sharia and die as martyrs of Islam. The video also identifies among the dead two alleged westerners, an American fighter by the name of Inaam and a British fighter known as Abbas but who has also been identified as Omar al Britani.[2]

American Withdrawal from Afghanistan

  • In anticipation of the State of the Union address; officials from the White House reported on Monday that President Obama will announce a plan to withdraw 34,000 troops from Afghanistan by 2014.  The plan reportedly proposes a tiered withdrawal, leaving some 8,000 troops in the country in 2014, and lowering that number to around 1,000 (primarily in the U.S. embassy) by 2017.[3]

Afghan-Taliban Talks

Counter-IED Unit Created

Iran Pipeline

  • On Monday, talks started between officials in Islamabad and Tehran to coordinate the final engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contract for the $1.5 billion gas pipeline between Iran and Pakistan. Construction of the pipeline is slated to begin a month after finalization of the EPC contract. [6]

Contention at Ulema Conference

  •   On Tuesday, Pakistani clerics responeded to a dispute with Afghan clerics over the Taliban by threatening to boycott the upcoming Ulema Council scheduled to take place in Afghanistan next month.  “Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi, head of the All Pakistan Ulema Council…accused the visiting Afghan clerics of trying to use the upcoming conference to denounce the Taliban and elicit support for the Afghan government. He insisted the Taliban be invited to the event to advance the peace process.” Afghan clerics responded by downplaying the contention, suggesting the dispute was more with Ashrafi specifically than the Pakistani Council in general.[7]

Pakistan Regrets North Korea Nuclear Test

Militancy

Florida Terrorism Case 


 
[1] “TTP Releases Video Interview with Hakimullah, Wali ur-Rahman,” Site Intel Group, February 12, 2013. Available at http://ent.siteintelgroup.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=11328:ttp-releases-video-interview-with-hakimullah-wali-ur-rahman&catid=9&Itemid=880
[2] “TTP says American, British fighters killed in battle,” Express Tribune, February 12, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/506204/ttp-says-american-british-fighters-killed-in-battle/
“TTP Gives Video Memorial for Slain Fighter,” Site Intel Group, February 12, 2013. Available http://ent.siteintelgroup.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=11336:ttp-gives-video-memorial-for-slain-fighters&catid=9&Itemid=880
[3] Rajiv Chandrasekaran, “In Afghanistan pullout, pentagon favors phased reduction over 3 years,” The Washington Post, February 11, 2013.  http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/in-afghanistan-pullout-pentagon-favors-phased-reduction-over-3-years/2013/02/11/14a4faba-7484-11e2-95e4-6148e45d7adb_story.html
[4] Javed Hamim Kakarl, “Fazl in Qatar attend Afghan peace talks: aide,” Pajhwok, February 10, 2013.  Available at http://www.pajhwok.com/en/2013/02/10/fazl-qatar-attend-afghan-peace-talks-aide
Kamran Yousaf, “The Qatar initiative: JUI-F chief features in Doha talks,” Express Tribune, February 11, 2013.  Available at  http://tribune.com.pk/story/505597/the-qatar-initiative-jui-f-chief-features-in-doha-talks/
“Afghan peace talks: government distances itself from Fazl’s move,” Express Tribune, February 11, 2013.  Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/505580/afghan-peace-talks-govt-distances-itself-from-fazls-move/
“Fazl in Doha for talks with Afghan Taliban : JUI-F,” Dawn, February 9, 2013.  Available at http://dawn.com/2013/02/10/fazl-in-doha-for-talks-with-afghan-taliban-jui-f/
Ashish Kumar Sen, “Afghans wary of Pakisan’t release of Taliban fighers,” The Washington Times, February 11, 2013.  Available at http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/feb/11/afghans-wary-of-pakistans-release-of-taliban-fight/?page=1
[5] Kamran Yousaf, “Cheapest assassins: Army creates new units to combat IED threat,” The Express Tribune, February 12, 2013.  Available at  http://tribune.com.pk/story/506074/cheapest-assassins-army-creates-new-units-to-combat-ied-threat/
[6] Khalid Mustafa, “Pak-Iran gas pipeline talks today,” The News International, February 11, 2013.  Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-20889-Pak-Iran-gas-pipeline-talks-today
[7] Ahmed and Rahim Faiez, “Pakistani-Afghan clerics bicker over peace summit,” Associated Press, February 12, 2013.  Available at  http://news.yahoo.com/pakistani-afghan-clerics-bicker-over-peace-summit-084623670.html
[8]“Pakistan expresses regret over North Korea nuclear test,” The News International, February 12, 2013.  Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-87769-Pakistan-expresses-regret-over-North-Korean-nuclear-test%3a-FO-
[9] “Blast targets gas sub-station in Karachi,” Geo, February 12, 2013. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=87647
[10] “Karachi violence: Fifteen killed, alleged TTP militants arrested,” Dawn, Available at http://dawn.com/2013/02/11/karachi-violence-fifteen-killed-alleged-ttp-militants-arrested/
“‘Cheapest assassins’: Army creates new units to combat IED threat,” Express Tribune, February 12, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/506074/cheapest-assassins-army-creates-new-units-to-combat-ied-threat/
[11] “Four MQM men among 14 killed in gun attacks across Karachi,” Dawn, February 12, 2013. Available at  http://dawn.com/2013/02/12/four-mqm-men-among-14-killed-in-gun-attacks-across-karachi/
[12] “Four MQM men among 14 killed in gun attacks across Karachi,” Dawn, February 12, 2013. Available at  http://dawn.com/2013/02/12/four-mqm-men-among-14-killed-in-gun-attacks-across-karachi/
[13] “Four MQM men among 14 killed in gun attacks across Karachi,” Dawn, February 12, 2013. Available at  http://dawn.com/2013/02/12/four-mqm-men-among-14-killed-in-gun-attacks-across-karachi/
[14] “Four MQM men among 14 killed in gun attacks across Karachi,” Dawn, February 12, 2013. Available at  http://dawn.com/2013/02/12/four-mqm-men-among-14-killed-in-gun-attacks-across-karachi/
[15] “Karachi unrest: Killings continue despite security operations,” Express Tribune, February 12, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/506196/karachi-unrest-killings-continue-despite-security-operations/
[16] “Karachi unrest: Killings continue despite security operations,” Express Tribune, February 12, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/506196/karachi-unrest-killings-continue-despite-security-operations/
[17] “Karachi unrest: Killings continue despite security operations,” Express Tribune, February 12, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/506196/karachi-unrest-killings-continue-despite-security-operations/
[18] “Four MQM men among 14 killed in gun attacks across Karachi,” Dawn, February 12, 2013. Available at  http://dawn.com/2013/02/12/four-mqm-men-among-14-killed-in-gun-attacks-across-karachi/
[19] “Four MQM men among 14 killed in gun attacks across Karachi,” Dawn, February 12, 2013. Available at  http://dawn.com/2013/02/12/four-mqm-men-among-14-killed-in-gun-attacks-across-karachi/
[20] “Four shot dead in Malakand Agency,” The News, February 12, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-159588-Four-shot-dead-in-Malakand-Agency
[21] “Police arrest 18 suspects in Peshawar swoop,” The News, February 12, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-159584-Police-arrest-18-suspects-in-Peshawar-swoop
[22] “Frontier Corps pick up a major gunrunner in Quetta,” Geo, February 12, 2013. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=87685
[23] “Witness testifies from Pakistan that Florida imam’s money was not for Taliban terrorists,” The Washington Post, February 12, 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