Pakistan Security Brief - January 3, 2013

U.S. drone strike in South Waziristan kills Maulvi Nazir and deputies; Drone strike in North Waziristan kills TTP commander and Uzbek militants; Seven soldiers kidnapped in Punjab; Pakistan Army changing operational priorities; Army tells government to formulate response to TTP talks offers; Government figures claim nearly one in five drone victims innocent; Election Commission wants army deployed at polling stations; Negotiations ongoing for release of TTP kidnap victims; Bomb hits Peshawar University; Bomb defused in Charsadda; Body found in Khyber; LeJ operatives arrested in Karachi; Report on PAF base attack sent to PAF chief; Pakistan to insure visiting businessmen; Afghans denied entry at Torkham; Malala Yousufzai to stay in U.K.

Drones Kill Top Militant

  • A U.S. drone strike in South Waziristan killed senior Taliban commander Maulvi Nazir late on Wednesday night. Nazir and up to nine other militants were killed when their vehicle was struck in the Sara Kanda area on its way from Birmal to Wana. Alternative reports say the strike took place on Nazir’s house in Angoor Adda. Several reports claim Nazir’s deputy Rata Khan was also killed in the strike while one report claims two more deputies, Attaullah and Rafey Khan were also among the dead. Loudspeakers announced Nazir’s death in Wana and Nazir was buried in nearby Azam Warsak. Pakistani intelligence officials confirmed reports of Nazir’s death. Analysts surmise that while Nazir’s death may benefit Pakistan in the long run, his death may lead to an increase in attacks on Pakistani troops deployed in the region.[1]

  • A second drone strike in Mubarak Shahi village in Mir Ali, North Waziristan late on Wednesday night or early on Thursday morning killed at least four people. Among the dead were a Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) commander reportedly named Shah Faisal or Faisal Khan and two Uzbek militants.[2]

  • According to a report in The News, figures compiled by Pakistan’s Ministry of Interior indicate that over 2,670 people have been killed in drone strikes between January 1, 2004 and December 31, 2012. According to the figures, 487 of those killed were innocent civilians and 42 were high-value targets, with the remaining 2,141 being low- to mid-level Taliban and al Qaeda operatives.[3]

Pakistan Army and the Government

  • The Pakistan Army has reportedly “changed its operational priorities for the first time in eleven years.” The army recently published the latest iteration of its “green book,” a 200-page collection of doctrinal essays distributed to commanders whose purpose is to review the army’s readiness to tackle threats and “keep [it] on the right track.” The latest version reportedly contains a new chapter on sub-conventional warfare and lists internal threats as “the greatest risk to the country’s security.”[4]

  • The Pakistan Army has reportedly told the government to consider formulating a response to recent outreaches from the TTP offering dialogue. The TTP’s preconditions for dialogue include Pakistan adopting Sharia law and breaking off relations with the U.S. The army is reportedly planning on discussing various TTP offers during a Corps Commanders Conference on January 4. A senior military officer said on Wednesday that while the TTP’s offer “was yet to be fully dissected it could be a tactical move by the militant outfit given its timing and the conditions that had been set.”[5]

  • Following a special meeting of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Wednesday, ECP officials stated that they would request Pakistan Army personnel be deployed to “sensitive polling stations only.” The statement comes after Pakistan’s defence secretary told the meeting that the army would not be able to provide support at each one of 80,000 polling stations across the country. The ECP “decided to allow candidates to bring along armed private security guards to polling stations.”[6]

  • An intelligence report on the December assault by TTP militants on a Pakistan Air Force (PAF) base in Peshawar was presented to the head of the PAF on Wednesday. The report did not find any evidence of inside help in the assault. The report also billed the high-population areas near the base a security loophole.[7]

Militancy

  • Unknown gunmen kidnapped seven Pakistan Army soldiers in Jand, Punjab on Wednesday. The gunmen were dressed in military uniforms and reportedly kidnapped the soldiers off of a bus taking them to from army headquarters in Rawalpindi to postings in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.[8]

  • A bomb blast at Peshawar University on Wednesday injured five students. A blast at the university on December 27 wounded three people. Police in Wednesday defused an improvised explosive device (IED) planted on a bicycle in Hasanzai village of Charsadda district. A bullet-riddled body was found in Jamrud, Khyber agency on Wednesday. Tribal policemen arrested four people in a search operation in the same area on suspicion of belonging to militant groups.[9]

  • Two Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) operatives were arrested following a shootout in Karachi on Wednesday by the police’s Crime Investigation Department’s counter-terrorism and financial crime unit. Police said the men belonged to LeJ’s Karachi chapter and had confessed to participating in the murder of 11 Sunni Tehrik members and Shias.[10]

  • South Waziristan’s political agent told the Peshawar High Court on Wednesday that it was close to finalizing negotiations with TTP militants over the release of eight Gomal Zam Dam employees who were kidnapped in August. The official stated that tribal elders and clerics were helping in the negotiations and that TTP militants, while continuing to demand a ransom, had dropped demands for the release of 17 other militants from prison.[11]

  • Police in Karachi arrested 20 suspects in raids in Frontier Colony, Kunwari Colony, Metroville and Orangi Town on Thursday. Three wanted men were also caught in the dragnet.[12]

Foreign Relations

  • In a bid to boost outside investment, Pakistan is offering to insure foreign businessmen travelling to Pakistan. A commerce ministry spokesman stated on Wednesday that “any private or public entrepreneur inviting foreign businessmen or investors will now be responsible for providing insurance cover to their guests through the National Insurance Company (NIC).” Businessmen can now be insured up to $500,000 depending on the length of their stay.[13]

  • Hundreds of Afghans without proper documentation were denied entry to Pakistan at the Torkham border crossing after immigration officials tightened checks on passports and visas. The crackdown comes after Afghan police reportedly “tortured 29 Pakistani laborers and three transporters on December 22 and 28 respectively.”[14]

  • Malala Yousufzai, the 14-year old girl shot by the Taliban, is likely to stay in the U.K. after the Pakistani government awarded her father a three-year long posting as an education attaché in the Pakistani consulate in Birmingham.[15] 

 


[1] Salman Masood and Ismail Khan, “U.S. Drone Strike Kills a Top Pakistani Militant,” New York Times, January 3, 2013. Available at http://www.latimes.com/news/world/worldnow/la-us-drone-strike-in-northwest-pakistan-kills-top-taliban-commander-20130103,0,2024000.story
Alex Rodriguez, “U.S. drone strike in northwest Pakistan kills top Taliban commander,” LA Times, January 3, 2013. Available at http://www.latimes.com/news/world/worldnow/la-us-drone-strike-in-northwest-pakistan-kills-top-taliban-commander-20130103,0,2024000.story
Zahir Shah Sherazi, “Mullah Nazir killed in South Waziristan drone strike: officials,” Dawn, January 3, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/01/03/drone-strike-kills-four-in-s-waziristan-2/
[3] Amir Mir, “US drones killed 2,183 Jihadis, 487 civilians since 2004,” The News, January 3, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-152167-US-drones-killed-2,183-Jihadis,-487-civilians-since-2004
[4] “Pakistan army sees ‘internal threats’ as greatest security risk,” Dawn, January 2, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/01/03/pakistan-army-sees-internal-threats-as-greatest-security-risk/
[5] Baqqir Sajjad Syed, “Taliban’s truce offer: Army advises govt to thrash out strategy,” Dawn, January 3, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/01/03/talibans-truce-offer-army-advises-govt-to-thrash-out-strategy/
[6] Iftikhar A. Khan, “Troop deployment at sensitive poll stations,” Dawn, January 2, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/01/03/troop-deployment-at-sensitive-poll-stations/
[7] “Peshawar Airbase attack report submitted to PAF,” The News, January 3, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-19979-Peshawar-Airbase-attack-report-submitted-to-PAF
[9] Ali Hazrat Bacha, “Blast injures five, shatters nerves at Peshawar varsity,” Dawn, January 2, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/01/03/blast-injures-five-shatters-nerves-at-peshawar-varsity-2/
“Explosives defused in Charsadda,” The News, January 3, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-152180-Explosives-defused-in-Charsadda
“Bullet-riddled body found in Jamrud,” Dawn, January 2, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/01/03/bullet-riddled-body-found-in-jamrud/
[10] “Two ‘LJ’ men held after shootout,” Dawn, January 2, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/01/03/two-lj-men-held-after-shootout/
[11] “Recovery of kidnapped dam employees,” The News, January 3, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-7-152140-Recovery-of-kidnapped-dam-employees
[12] “20 suspects held in police operation,” The News, January 3, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-82205-Police-detain-20-suspects-in-Orangi-town-operation
[13] “Pakistan offers to insure foreign businessmen,” The News, January 3, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-19980-Pakistan-offers-to-insure-foreign-businessmen
[14] Ibrahim Shinwari, “Hundreds of Afghans refused entry at Torkhum,” Dawn, January 2, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/01/03/hundreds-of-afghans-refused-entry-at-torkham-2/
[15] “Malala Yousafzai’s father gets Birmingham consulate job,” BBC, January 2, 2013. Available at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-birmingham-20894786