Pakistan Security Brief - June 23, 2011

Obama to withdraw 30,000 troops from Afghanistan by next summer; India-Pakistan talks in progress; Anti-Taliban militias receive insufficient support from Pakistani government; Brigadier with extremist ties “highly critical” of Pakistani cooperation with U.S.;  Pakistan contemplating border fortifications to prevent incursions; Five militants killed in attack on Sarband checkpost; Two killed in checkpost blast in Balochistan; Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa chief minister seeks talks with militants; Rangers indictment delayed to allow time to engage lawyers; Jamaat-e-Islami to strengthen ties to Muslim Brotherhood.

 

U.S.-Pakistan Relations

  • On Wednesday, President Barack Obama announced his plan to withdraw all 33,000 surge troops from Afghanistan by next summer, beginning with a withdrawal of 5,000 this summer and another 5,000 by the end of the year. Pressure to withdraw troops from Afghanistan has increased since the May 2 raid that killed Osama Bin Laden. Obama also said that evidence retrieved from Bin Laden’s Abbottabad compound shows al Qaeda is vulnerable, partially as a result of successful U.S. counterterrorism efforts. The New York Times reports that keeping troops in Afghanistan provides a base from which the U.S. can monitor the situation in Pakistan and if necessary, launch drone strikes. In the withdrawal announcement, President Obama “vowed the United States will ‘insist’ Pakistan fulfill its promises to counter militant sanctuaries on its soil.”[i]
  • Presidents Barack Obama and Asif Ali Zardari agreed to work to improve relations on a phone-call Wednesday. They pledged to continue building a relationship based on “mutual respect and mutual benefit.”[ii]

  • The Express Tribune reports that Pakistan has pledged to issue “more than three dozen visas to CIA officers,” while Dawn suggests as many as sixty-seven have been promised. The U.S. has complained recently that Pakistan has been unhelpful in securing visas for CIA staff despite recent agreements made in light on the Bin Laden raid to improve intelligence cooperation. The CIA officers in the country would join a joint U.S.-Pakistani force targeting terrorist group targeting high value terrorists.[iii]

India-Pakistan Relations

Anti-Taliban Militias

Brigadier Khan and HuT

Border Fortifications

  • Dawn reports Pakistan may “fence and mine” particularly active parts of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, in light of recent cross-border attacks. Pakistan has proposed similar projects in the past, but they face opposition from the Afghan government.[viii]

FATA

Balochistan

  • On Wednesday, a remote-controlled explosive device killed two Khassadar personnel at a “temporary checkpost close to the Pak-Afghan Highway on Jamrud Bypass Road.” Six suspects have been arrested in an investigation of the attack. Also on Wednesday, gunmen fired on a bus of pilgrims going from Taftan to Quetta, killing four and injuring nine. In a separate incident on Thursday, “unknown motorcyclists attacked a drug den . . . with hand grenades” in Mastung district, killing three people and wounding four.[x]

Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa

  • On Wednesday, Chief Minister Ameer Haider Hoti asked “Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl and other opposition parties” to hold talks with militants who do not oppose the government and “wage a jihad” against those who do. Hoti said those who downplayed the threat of terrorism in the region were “living in a fool’s paradise.”[xi]

Karachi

JI and Muslim Brotherhood

 


[i] “Obama’s Afghanistan plan criticized by Dems, GOP,” AP, June 23, 2011. Available at
“Drawing Down, With a Vigilant Eye on Pakistan,” New York Times, June 22, 2011. Available at
“Obama: Info from bin Laden shows al Qaida strain,” AP, June 22, 2011. Available at
“US insists Pakistan keep anti-terror pledges,” AP, June 22, 2011. Available at
[ii]“President Obama telephones Pakistan’s Zardari,” AFP,June 22, 2011. Available at
[iii]“Three dozen visas for CIA officers,” Express Tribune, June 23, 2011. Available at
“Embassy issues 67 visas for CIA staff,” Dawn, June 23, 2011. Available at
[iv] “India, Pakistan hold peace talks in Islamabad,” AFP, June 23, 2011. Available at
[v] “Pakistan needs all the help it can get from militias,” Reuters, June 23, 2011. Available at
[vi] “Brigadier Ali Khan: Pakistan’s dissenting army officer,” BBC, June 23, 2011. Available at
[vii] “Lax Enforcement: Hizb-ut-Tahrir free to preach its message,” Express Tribune, June 23, 2011. Available at
[viii] “Plan to fence, mine Afghan border,” Dawn, June 23, 2011. Available at
[ix] “Five militants killed as attack on Saraband checkpost repulsed,” The News, June 23, 2011. Available at
[x] “2 Khassadars killed in Jamrud checkpost blast,” The News, June 23, 2011. Available at
“Blast kills three in Mastung,” Dawn, June 23, 2011. Available at
“4 killed, 9 injured in firing on bus,” Geo, June 22, 2011. Available at
[xi] “CM asks parties to hold talks with militants shunning violence,” The News, June 23, 2011. Available at
[xii] “Extrajudicial killing: Court gives accused one day to arrange lawyers,” Express Tribune/AFP, June 23, 2011. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/194751/extrajudicial-killing-court-gives-accused-one-day-to-arrange-lawyers/
[xiii] “JI, Muslim Brotherhood join hands,” Dawn, June 23, 2011. Available at