Pakistan Security Brief - February 22, 2011

Davis outed as CIA contractor; GPS chip recovered from Davis; Safety concerns for Davis; U.S. consulate driver has returned to U.S.; Clinton warns of instability in Pakistan; Grossman named as new envoy; U.S. resumes high-level engagement with Pakistan; Drone strikes resume in North and South Waziristan; Iraqi al Qaeda operative killed; Post: strikes target low-level militants; LA Times: CIA passed on change to kill Haqqani; Videotape of Colonel Imam’s execution released; Search for Imam’s body; Operations in Mohmand and Orakzai; Twenty militants killed in Bazai town; Militant hideouts destroyed in Mohmand and Bajaur; Bodies discarded in NWA; Explosion in Bara; Hayat: roads leading to FATA reopened; ‘Target killings’ continue in Karachi; Suicide bomber in Marhozar town; The News: normalization of political activity in Swat; Explosion in Gwadar; Bomb blast in Quetta; Appeal by 2008 Mumbai gunman rejected; Afghan bank attack planned in Pakistan.

 

U.S.-Pakistani Relations

  • The Guardian has reported that Raymond Davis, the U.S. national accused of murdering two Pakistani men, is a CIA contractor attached to the Global Response Staff, who was on assignment at the time of the murder. U.S. media outlets have followed up the report with statements declaring that the U.S. government had asked them to withhold news of Davis’ CIA link due to concerns for his physical safety. Unidentified officials have since admitted that Davis carried out reconnaissance missions as a security officer for CIA case officers and technical experts in Pakistan, who were tracking movements of militant groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT). The New York Times reports that Davis’ visa, presented to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in late 2009, described his job as a “regional affairs officer,” utilizing cover as an Embassy employee. Secretary Clinton has called Prime Minister Gilani to reiterate the U.S. stance on releasing Davis under the Vienna Convention, though the Tribune states that his CIA affiliation may complicate his release.[i]
  • Dawn has reported that a GPS chip recovered from Raymond Davis allegedly contained information on targets for drone attacks in North Waziristan. In addition, the paper claims that Davis had made up to twelve visits to the FATA without informing the Pakistani government. Davis is now being held in a jail in Lahore with 4,000 other inmates, though he has been transferred to a separate area of the facility because of safety concerns. The Wall Street Journal reports that his guards have been disarmed and his food is tested on dogs for poison on a daily basis, out of fear that his life is at risk.[ii]
  • The U.S. consulate driver who killed a Pakistani citizen at the scene of Davis’ incident has allegedly returned to the U.S., according to a report by Dawn. An anonymous U.S. official stated that the driver had left Pakistan along with another official involved in the incident soon after the January 27 accident. The Punjab police had previously asked for the driver and his vehicle to be turned over to Pakistani authorities, to no response.[iii]
  • In a speech at the Asia Society on Friday, Secretary Hillary Clinton warned that Pakistan risked instability within the country and in neighboring Afghanistan if it failed to implement reforms and stop the facilitation of anti-American sentiment. In the speech, Clinton urged for reforms to be executed, declaring that, “Pressure from the Pakistani side will help push the Taliban towards the negotiating table and away from Al Qaeda.” The Pakistani government responded to Clinton’s remarks by stating, “It is Pakistan’s considered view that stability, peace and development in the South Asian region is not only important for Pakistan but hasglobal ramifications.”[iv]
  • Diplomat Marc Grossman was officially appointed as the new United States special envoy for Pakistan and Afghanistan on Friday. In announcing the appointment, Secretary Clinton declared that Grossman “knows our allies and understands how to mobilize common action to meet shared challenges.” In addition, Dawn has reported that the United States has resumed its high-level engagement with Pakistan, after a suspension of talks due to diplomatic clashes over the Davis case. The revival of talks was marked by a visit by a U.S. Congressional delegation, consisting of members of the Senate committee on foreign relations, armed services, and budget.[v]
 
 
 
 

FATA

  • In the first U.S. drone strikes in nearly a month, fourteen people were killed by drone attacks in North and South Waziristan over the weekend. On Sunday, six people were killed in Azam Warsak village in South Waziristan, while eight were killed on Monday near Mir Ali town in North Waziristan. An Iraqi al Qaeda operative believed to have handled the group’s finances in Pakistan, Abu Zaid al-Iraqi, is thought to have been killed in the strikes. The two attacks were the first ones following the arrest of Raymond Davis in late January, leading some to attribute the pause in attacks to the diplomatic situation, while other officials have attributed it to weather. The Washington Post has additionally reported that among the 581 militants killed by drone strikes last year, only two were important enough to appear on the U.S. list of most-wanted terrorists. Peter Bergen, a director at the New America Foundation, stated that 94 percent of the drone strike fatalities are low-level militants. A further report by the Los Angeles Times found that the CIA passed up a chance last year to kill Sirajuddin Haqqani by a drone attack, due to the presence of women and children in the vicinity. An unidentified Pakistani official declared that allowing high-value targets such as Haqqani to escape reflects a decision by the U.S. to use increased prudence in the drone strikes. [vi]
  • The Express Tribune has reported on the Tehrik-e-Taliban’s (TTP) release of a videotape of Sultan Amir Tarar’s (alias Colonel Imam) execution, putting to rest rumors of Colonel Imam’s death by cardiac arrest. In addition, Hakimullah Mehsud appears in the video, also contradicting rumors of his death by a drone strike in North Waziristan in January 2010. The News reports that the TTP had charged Colonel Imam with spying for U.S. and Pakistani intelligence agencies and assisting the agencies in launching drone strikes to kill Hakimullah. Dawn has reported that Imam’s body had been found near Mir Ali. However, The News has declared that search operations for Colonel Imam’s body have been unsuccessful.[vii]
  • On Saturday, at least twenty-six militants were killed in security operations in Mohmand and Orakzai. Militants launched an attack on the Ziarat checkpost near Anargi area in Mohmand Agency before security forces returned fire, killing fifteen militants and injuring twenty. Earlier on Friday, a soldier had been killed and three others wounded following a militant attack on a security checkpoint in Ghanan Shah area of Mohmand. Meanwhile, eleven militants were killed in Dabori village in Orakzai Agency in further operations by security forces.[viii]
  • On Sunday, Pakistani troops killed twenty militants in Baizai town of Mohmand Agency during a gunfight. Forty militants had attacked a security checkpoint in the area, before security forces launched a counter-attack against the militants, killing twenty and injuring twenty-five.[ix]
  • On Monday, the houses of four militants were destroyed in Mohmand in a joint operation between security forces and members of a pro-government peace committee. The four houses in Jhanda Masood area were destroyed by dynamite. Three hideouts of suspected militants were additionally torched elsewhere in Bajaur Agency on Monday, following the seizure of large caches of weapons in the houses. The three local militant commanders were arrested during the the operation. [x]
  • The bodies of two men were found discarded on Miram Shah-Datta Khel Road in North Waziristan on Sunday. The men were accused of being U.S. spies. No group has claimed responsibility for their deaths[xi]
  • An explosion in the Bara area of Khyber agency has resulted in damage to a stadium and a neighboring school on Saturday. Unidentified militants had planted improvised explosive devices within the stadium on Saturday morning, destroying the building and an adjacent school in the bomb blast. No casualties have been reported.[xii]
  • The Interior Secretary of the FATA, Tariq Hayat declared on Saturday that all roads leading to the tribal agency have been reopened following a successful completion of operations in Kurram, Bajaur, and Mohmand Agencies. Hayat additionally said that private airline’s flights to the region have ceased due to the opening of the routes.[xiii]
 
 
 
 

‘Target Killings’ in Karachi

  • On Saturday night, five people were killed in Karachi in the most recent wave of ‘target killings,’ including a local leader of the Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM). The killings occurred in separate incidents around Karachi; in Gulistan-i-Johar, Ram Sami, Burns road, Sohrab Goth and Lasi Goth. Following the killings, a search operation commenced in Godhra colony. Dawn reports that an active member of the banned Lashkar-i-Jhangvi was arrested in relation to the killings on Tuesday.[xiv]

 

 
 

Suicide bomb in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa

  • A suicide bomber blew himself up during an operation by security forces in Marhozar town, while a would-be suicide bomber was arrested in the Chota Kalam area on Friday. Security forces were tipped off about the teenage militant, who had planned to hit a target during a religious procession on Friday.[xv]
  • The News has issued a report on the normalization of political activity in Swat, following military operations in the area to eradicate Taliban militants. In particular, protests and meetings have been held by Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q), the Awami National Party (ANP), and Jamaat-e-Islami (JI).[xvi]
 
 
 

Blasts in Balochistan

  • An explosion in Gwadar on Tuesday wounded three soldiers. The bomb was believed to have been attached to a motorcycle, and targeted a paramilitary vehicle the soldiers were traveling in.[xvii]
  • One person was killed by a bomb blast in Quetta on Monday. Unidentified militants planted an improvised explosive device (IED) outside a hotel in the Hazar Ganji area of Quetta, killing one and injuring two.[xviii]
 
 
 
 

2008 Mumbai Attacks

  • The sole surviving gunman from the 2008 Mumbai attacks, Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab, had his appeal rejected by two Indian judges of the Bombay High Court. Kasab was found guilty last May for “waging war against India, murder, attempted murder and terrorist acts.” He was sentenced to death as a result of his conviction.[xix]
 
 
 

Afghan Bank Attack Planned in Pakistan

  • Pajhwok Afghan News has issued a report that claims Saturday’s attack on a bank in Nangarhar was planned in Pakistan. Zmaray Bashari, an Afghan ministry spokesperson, said that one of the suicide bombers captured by security forces during the operation hails from North Waziristan. The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack, which killed thirty-seven.[xx]
 
 
 


[i] Declan Walsh, “American who sparked diplomatic crisis over Lahore shooting was CIA spy,” Guardian, February 20, 2011. Available at http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/feb/20/us-raymond-davis-lahore-cia
[ii] “Probe finds connection between Davis and drone attacks,” Dawn, February 18, 2011. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2011/02/18/probe-finds-connection-between-davis-drone-attacks.html
[iii] Anwar Iqbal, “Davis case: Two US officials ‘slip out’ of Pakistan,” Dawn, February 20, 2011. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2011/02/20/davis-case-two-us-officials-slip-out-of-pakistan.html
[iv] “Our stability helps global interests: Pakistan,” Dawn, February 20, 2011.Available at http://www.dawn.com/2011/02/20/our-stability-helps-global-interests-pakistan.html
[v] “New US envoy on Afghanistan, Pakistan,” Dawn, February 19, 2011. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2011/02/19/new-us-envoy-on-afghanistan-pakistan.html
[vi] Malik Mumtaz Khan, Irfan Burki, and Mushtaq Yusufzai. “14 killed in drone, missile attacks in SWA, NWA. The News, February 22, 2011. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=4150&Cat=13
[vii] Qaiser Butt, “Taliban video solves two mysteries,” Express Tribune, February 20, 2011. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/121193/taliban-video-solves-two-mysteries/
[viii] Shakirullah, “26 militants killed in Mohmand, Orakzai,” The News, February 21, 2011. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=4126&Cat=13
[ix] “Soldier killed in attack on checkpost,” Dawn, February 18, 2011. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2011/02/19/soldier-killed-in-attack-on-checkpost.html
[x] “Militants’ houses dynamited in Mohmand Agency,” The News, February 22, 2011. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=32364&Cat=7
[xi] “Briefs,” The News, February 21, 2011. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=32242&Cat=2&dt=2/21/2011
[xii] “Khyber blast destroys stadium building, school.” Dawn, February 19, 2011. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2011/02/19/khyber-blast-destroys-stadium-building-school.html
[xiii] “Army operation successfully completed in Kurram: Sec Fata. Dawn, February 19, 2011. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2011/02/19/army-operation-successfully-completed-in-kurram-sec-fata.html
[xiv] “Five killed in latest target killing wave in Karachi,” Express Tribune, February 20, 2011. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/121243/five-killed-in-latest-target-killing-wave-in-karachi/
[xv] “Militant blows himself up in Swat,” The News, February 19, 2011. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=31866&Cat=7
[xvi] “Militancy vanishes,” The News, February 22, 2011. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=32361&Cat=7
[xvii]“Bomb blast wounds three soldiers in Gwadar,” Dawn, February 22, 2011. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2011/02/22/bomb-blast-wounds-three-soldiers-in-gwadar.html
[xviii] “1 killed in Quetta blast,” The Express Tribune, February 22, 2011. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/121900/1-killed-in-quetta-blast/
[xix] “Death sentence confirmed for Ajmal Kasab,” Dawn, February 21, 2011. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2011/02/21/verdict-due-in-appeal-of-ajmal-kasab.html
[xx] Muhammad Hassan Khetab, “Jalalabad assault planned in Pakistan: Bashari.” Pajhwok Afghan News, February 20, 2011. Available at http://www.pajhwok.com/en/2011/02/20/jalalabad-assault-planned-pakistan-bashari