Pakistan Security Brief - June 7, 2011

 

Tehrik-e-Taliban vows more attacks on U.S. targets; Reports of the death of Ilyas Kashmiri disputed; Shahzad phone records show no activity for 18 days before death; General Mattis meets with Pakistani military leaders; Pakistan and China agree to increased intelligence cooperation; the defense has rested its case in the US trial of Tahawwur Hussain Rana, regarding the Mumbai attacks; Iranian President accuses U.S. of planning to undermine Pakistani nuclear program; Czech Republic releases Pakistani terror suspect.

 

TTP Threatens More Attacks

  • In a June 2 video interview, the leader of the Tehrik-e-Taliban (TTP) in Mohmand, Omar Khalid “al Khorasani,” referred to recent attacks as “just a part of our revenge” and declared, “[T]he world will see how we avenge Osama Bin Laden’s martyrdom.” Khorasani also stated that regardless of potential “rapprochement” in Afghanistan or developments throughout the world, “[the TTP’s] struggle for the implementation of Islamic system in Pakistan will continue.” He also claims the TTP has “networks in several countries outside Pakistan,” promising improved capability to execute attacks around the world. He refers to Ayman al-Zawahiri as the TTP’s “our chief and supreme leader,” making the TTP one of many al-Qaeda affiliates The Guardian reports have “come out in support of Zawahiri in recent weeks.”[i]

Conflicting Reports of Kashmiri’s Death

  • Pakistani officials, including interior minister Rehman Malik, have confirmed reports that Ilyas Kashmiri was killed in a U.S. drone attack. U.S. officials, however, have been reluctant to confirm the death, given a history of false death reports regarding Kashmiri. Adding to suspicions over Kashmiri’s death, Harkat-ul-Jihad-ul-Islami (HuJI), the group Kashmiri led, has released a photo allegedly taken of Kashmiri after he was killed; SITE Intelligence, a group that monitors jihadist websites, says the photo is actually of Abu Dera Ismail Khan, a member of the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) team that executed the Mumbai attacks.[ii]

  • According to The Express Tribune, Ilyas Kashmiri, in the week before his death, “called a meeting of several [TTP] commanders to create the ‘Laskhar-e-Osama’ which would be tasked with carrying out suicide bombings throughout Pakistan, including some high-profile targets.” Asmatullah Maavia, Amjad Farooqui, and Badar Mansoor of the TTP were in attendance and were assigned regions in which to focus their attacks. According to the intelligence report, “Mansoor was tasked with targeting Lahore and southern Punjab, while Farooq was told to carry out attacks in Islamabad and Azad Kashmir.” The group planned to attack the embassies of the U.S., Saudi Arabia, the U.A.E., and China, among many other significant targets. According to the report, Intelligence agencies have forwarded “[i]nformation about possible attacks . . . to law enforcement agencies throughout the country.”[iii]

  • South Waziristan's Ahmedzai Wazir tribes will reportedly maintain a peace deal with the local Taliban originally brokered in 2007 despite Ilyas Kashmiri's apparent death in the region. According to The Daily Times, the decision is partially in response to fears among the tribes that “foreign agents” could exploit the situation if peace were not maintained.[iv]

Saleem Shahzad’s Phone Records

  • According to The Express Tribune, Saleem Shahzad last used his cell phone to place a call on May 12th, 18 days before his death. The Express Tribune alleges that records of his cell phone activity leading up to his abduction were erased, comparing the incident to the abduction of Umer Cheema, a journalist whose cell phone records were also unusually blank leading up to his disappearance.[v]

  • According to The Express Tribune¸“A special Anti-Terrorism Court in Faisalabad acquitted all 70 suspects” accused of killing seven people when a church was burnt in Gojra in July 2009. The reason given for the acquittal was “the absence of five witnesses who are not in the country.”[vi]

General Mattis in Pakistan

  • U.S. CENTCOM commander Gen. James Mattis met with Pakistani military leaders in Islamabad to discuss U.S.-Pakistani cooperation efforts. Mattis met with Pakistani Chief of Army Staff Gen. Ashfaq Kayani Sunday night to discuss the details of the agreement reached last month during Secretary Clinton and Admiral Mullen’s visit to Islamabad. According to Dawn, “[t]he agreement envisaged joint operations against high-value targets that could be hiding in Pakistan and an operation against sanctuaries in North Waziristan.”[vii]

Pakistan and China Intelligence Cooperation

  • Pakistan and China have agreed to step up intelligence cooperation. Pakistan pledged intelligence cooperation on the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM), which reportedly seeks “the conversion of all Chinese people to Islam” and “is said to be working for the separation of Xinjiang from China by means of violence and terror.”[viii]

Rana Defense Rests its Case

  • The defense has rested its case in the trial of Tahawwur Husseain Rana—regarding his involvement in the 2008 Mumbai attacks—after Rana “waiv[ed] his right to testify in his trial.” The defense claims it is confident, relying on the argument that Rana “was duped” by his friend David Coleman Headley, who has been the key witness against Rana. Headley was arrested in 2007 and switched his plea last year from not guilty to guilty, charged with helping choose targets for the Mumbai attacks.[ix]

Ahmadinejad Accuses U.S. of Plotting against Pakistan

  • In Tehran, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accused the U.S. of planning to sabotage the Pakistani nuclear program. He stated, “We have precise information that America wants to sabotage the Pakistani nuclear facilities in order to control Pakistan and to weaken the government and people of Pakistan.”[x]

Pakistani Suspect Released

  • Czech authorities released Pakistani national Muhammad Zafar “after Pakistan failed to apply for his extradition.” Zafar was being held on an international warrant regarding suspected terrorist activities, after applying for asylum, but, according to the prosecutor, there was no evidence that Zafar “had been involved in criminal activities in the Czech Republic or another European state.” According to The Prague Post, Zafar “is wanted in Pakistan for questioning on [the] 2006 bombing of the U.S. consulate in Karachi that killed a U.S. diplomat and three Pakistani citizens.”[xi]


[i] “Pakistani Taliban vow revenge attacks on US targets,” Dawn, June 6, 2011. Available at
“Pakistan Taliban vow to attack US targets overseas,” Guardian, June 7, 2011. Available at
“Pakistan Taliban vow to attack US targets overseas – video,” Guardian, June 7, 2011. Available at
[iii] “Kashmiri planned reprisal attacks for Osama’s death,” The Express Tribune, June 6, 2011. Available at
[iv] “Ahmedzai Wazir tribes, Taliban decide to keep ‘peace deal’ intact,” Daily Times, June 7, 2011. Available at
[v] “Saleem Shahzad’s cell phone record erased,” The Express Tribune, June 7, 2011. Available at
[vi] “70 suspects in Gojra incident acquitted,” The Express Tribune, June 7. 2011. Available at
[vii] “US general discusses joint operations,” Dawn, June 7, 2011. Available at
[viii] “Pakistan, China agree to strengthen intelligence cooperation,” Dawn, June 7, 2011. Available at
[ix] “US defense rests case in Mumbai plot trial,” AFP, June 7, 2011. Available at
“Accused Mumbai Plotter to Plead Guilty in Chicago Federal Court,” ABC News, March 17, 2010. Available at
[x] US plans to sabotage Pakistan nuke facilities: Iran,” Yahoo News, June 7, 2011. Available at
[xi] “Czechs release Pakistani terrorism suspect,” Dawn, June 7, 2011. Available at
“Tuesday News Briefing,” The Prague Post, June 7, 2011. Available at