Pakistan Security Brief - July 13, 2011

Blasts rock Mumbai; ISI chief in Washington for talks; Gen. Mattis in Pakistan following aid cutback announcement; U.S. “pressing Pakistan” on Dr. Afridi’s release; U.S. struggles with public outreach in Pakistan; Bin Laden involved in 7/7 plot; Pakistani military will not reverse policies in light of aid cuts; Drone strike kills seven in North Waziristan; Cross-border rocket fire kills two in Bajaur; Karachi police arrest TTP suspect; Military rejected proposed use of “coercive means” against MQM in Karachi.

 

Blasts in Mumbai

  • Wednesday evening three separate explosions occurred in busy areas of Mumbai. The blasts occurred in Zaveri Bazaar, near the Opera house and in the central Mumbai neighborhood of Dadar. Al Jazeera reports at least four are dead and many more wounded, but reports are limited at this time. According to the BBC, “[t]he blasts coincide with the birthday of Mohammad Ajmal Amir Qasab, the sole surviving gunman from the 2008 Mumbai attacks.” The Indian home ministry has reportedly said the blasts are likely terrorist attacks.[i]

U.S.-Pakistan Relations

  • On Wednesday, Pakistan’s intelligence chief Ahmad Shuja Pasha left for talks in Washington to discuss “intelligence coordination.” The visit comes after the recent U.S. cutback in aid to Pakistan and the Pakistani Defence Minister Ahmed Mukhtar’s threats to “pull back troops from the Afghan border.”[ii]

  • Defense officials told the Associated Press U.S. Marine Gen. James Mattis is in Pakistan for talks and “has met with Gen. Khalid Shameem Wynne, chairman of Pakistan's joint chiefs.” The visit makes Gen. Mattis the most senior U.S. military official to visit Pakistan since the recent announcement of a reduction in U.S. aid to Pakistan.[iii]

  • The U.S. is reportedly “pressing Pakistan” to release Dr. Shakil Afridi, the doctor who allegedly aided the CIA in the operation targeting Osama Bin Laden by running a fake vaccination program. A recent report in the Guardian claims the CIA coordinated the vaccination program to confirm that Bin Laden and his family were in the Abbottabad compound. The Express Tribune reports the Guardian report will not affect ongoing immunization efforts in Dr. Afridi’s native Khyber Agency.[iv]

  • The Washington Post reports the U.S. is struggling to reach out to Pakistanis amidst security concerns. The article tells the story of the U.S. embassy-run “American Center” in Islamabad, which provided a safe environment for learning and cultural exchange before it was closed 2005 in response to security threats. The U.S. Embassy in Pakistan continues to dedicate resources to reaching out to Pakistanis and encouraging cultural exchange, but security concerns limits their abilities to do so.[v]

Bin Laden Involved in 7/7 Attacks

  • The Guardian reports U.S. experts have concluded that the 7/7 attacks on London’s transport system in 2005 were “the last successful operation Osama bin Laden played a role in.” Evidence found in bin Laden’s Abbottabad compound reportedly shows he was likely in contact with the al Qaeda operatives involved in the 7/7 plot. Officials were careful to note that the conclusion linking Bin Laden to the 7/7 attacks was “based on analytical judgment rather than ironclad proof.” The evidence also shows Bin Laden may have had “advance knowledge” of unsuccessful attempts to bomb flights from London to the U.S. in 2006.[vi]

Pakistani Military Reacts to Aid Cuts

FATA

Karachi



[i] “Mumbai: Explosions shake India’s financial hub,” BBC, July 13, 2011. Available at
“Police report 3 explosions in Indian financial hub,” AP, July 13, 2011. Available at
“Deadly blasts rock Mumbai,” Al Jazeera, July 13, 2011. Available at
[ii] “Pakistan intelligence chief heads to US for talks,” AFP, July 13, 2011. Available at
[iii] “US general in Pakistan amid tension, aid cut,” AP, July 13, 2011. Available at
[iv] “US pressures Pakistan to free Dr Shakil Afridi,” Geo, July 13, 2011. Available at
“Fake vaccination: ‘Guardian report won’t affect immunisation campaigns in K-P,’” Express Tribune, July 13, 2011. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/208496/fake-vaccination-guardian-report-wont-affect-immunisation-campaigns-in-k-p/
[v] “Amid threats, U.S. woos Pakistan from behind walls,” Washington Post, July 12, 2011. Available at
[vi] “7/7 London bombings ‘were Osama bin Laden’s last successful operation,’” Guardian, July 13, 2011. Available at
[vii] “Corps commanders’ meeting: Army shrugs off ‘punitive’ aid cut-off by US,” Express Tribune, July 13, 2011. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/207936/pakistan-fighting-war-on-terror-with-its-own-resources/
[viii] “Four drone attacks claim 52 lives in 24 hours,” Dawn, July 13, 2011. Available at
[ix] “Cross-border mortars kill two Pakistani women,” Express Tribune, July 13, 2011. Available at
[x] “Uneasy calm prevails in Lyari,” Dawn, July 13, 2011. Available at
[xi] “Rising political temperatures: Military brass opposed use of force against MQM,” Express Tribune, July 13, 2011. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/208549/rising-political-temperatures-military-brass-opposed-use-of-force-against-mqm/