Pakistan Security Brief - March 21, 2011

Pakistan pulls out of trilateral meeting; Four men killed for assisting U.S. in drone attack; TTP threatens to pull out of peace deal; Grand jirga warns of retribution; PAF on “high alert;” Drones continue to fly over tribal area; JI warns of attack on U.S. Embassy; TTP to target individuals who assisted Davis’ release; Davis victims’ families flown to UAE; Attorney General: Davis paid ‘blood money;’ Internal review launched by CIA; Petraeus states importance of action in NWA; Eight militants killed in Kurram; Bridge blown up in Bara; Five insurgents killed in Swat; School blown up in Adezai; Railroad tracks in Nowshera attacked; Eight tribesmen injured in Hangu; ‘Target killings’ continue in Karachi, Musharraf arrest warrant extended; Mine collapse kills forty-five.

 

U.S. Drone Attack and Fallout

  • In protest against the drone attack that killed over forty people in North Waziristan on Thursday, Islamabad announced it would pull out of the upcoming trilateral meeting with the United States and Afghanistan. According to media reports, U.S. Ambassador Cameron Munter was summoned to a meeting with Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir, who allegedly told Munter that “It [is] evident that the fundamentals of our relations need to be revisited.” This is the second time that one of the participating governments has pulled out of the trilateral meeting, which was originally scheduled for February before being postponed to March 26 in Brussels. The Associated Press hasreported that the U.S. Embassy claims it was unaware any meeting had been proposed.[i]
  • Militants have allegedly killed four men who were suspected of assisting the U.S. in carrying out the deadly drone strike in North Waziristan on March 17. Notes were found with their bodies in Datta Khel and Mir Ali, outlining their role in the attacks.[ii]
  • A spokesman for the Hafiz Gul Bahadur-led Taliban in North Waziristan has threatened to pull out of a peace deal with the government. Bahadur’s group accuses the government of inaction towards, and complicity in, U.S. drone strikes. The militant group’s commander for the Datta Khel area, Sherabat Khan Wazir, was reportedly killed in Thursday’s drone strike that resulted in the deaths of over forty people. The spokesperson said that unless the drone strikes stopped, the Taliban would pull out of the four-year old peace agreement. He argued that, “The agreement was made for the establishment of peace in the region but the people of North Waziristan are continuously being targeted with drone attacks and now even jirgas are not safe.” Meanwhile, a grand jirga of tribal elders in the area threatened to avenge the killings“even if it takes a hundred years.”Malik Jalal Sarhadi Qatkhel, head of the North Waziristan Peace Committee, also told reporters, “There is no al Qaeda and Taliban presence in North Waziristan.” Following the attack, the Pakistani Air Force has operated under "high alert,” intensifying air patrols in the region. However, citizens in the area have reported hearing drones continuing to fly overhead nonetheless.[iii]
  • A press release issued by the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) has warned that it will lay siege to the U.S. Embassy and consulates in Pakistan if the drone strikes in the tribal region do not cease. The JI press release suggested that the Pakistan government block supplies traveling through Pakistan to NATO forces in Afghanistan as well as pull out of the U.S.-led “War on Terror.”[iv]
 
 

U.S.-Pakistani Relations

 
  • A spokesman for the TTP, Ihsanullah Ihsan, has threatened to target any individuals who had assisted the U.S. in securing Raymond Davis’ release from prison. He declared, “With the help of our colleagues in Punjab, we have initiated investigation to identify the individuals who played a role in winning freedom for Davis. Setting free the killer of two innocent Pakistanis proved that Pakistan has become a US colony and our rulers have no guts to stand up against their American masters.” Ihsanullah also argued that ‘diyat’ and Shariah laws were not applicable to cases of spying and non-Muslims occupying the lands of Muslims.[v]
  • The Express Tribune reports that the family members of the two men killed by Davis have been flown out of the country. Eighteen family members have been relocated to the United Arab Emirates, though the paper reports that U.S. green cards and two residences in the U.S. have also been arranged for the families.[vi]
  • Attorney General Maulvi Anwarul Haq has affirmed that Raymond Davis, the CIA-contractor accused of killing two Pakistanis, paid ‘blood money’ to the victims’ families to secure his release. However, U.S. officials have conversely reported that, “Though the Obama administration said it would not directly pay a seven-figure settlement to Pakistani families of two men killed by a CIA contractor, the US government ‘fully expects to get the bill’ at some point and would pay it.” The unidentified official went on to say that the Pakistani government carried out all of the negotiations with the victims’ families, but the U.S. government was conscious of the dialogue.[vii]
  • The Washington Post reports that following the Davis shooting, the CIA has launched an internal review of how it trains and deploys security officers overseas. Unidentified officials stated that as part of the investigation, the organization is expected to review decisions on where contractors are sent, the extent of their activities in foreign assignments, and the rules of engagement which define how they may use force.[viii]
 

FATA

  • General David Petraeus, the top U.S. general in Afghanistan, acknowledged the importance of Pakistan taking action against militants in North Waziristan. At a conference in Washington, Petraeus avowed, “The fact is that it's hugely important that there's a campaign in northern Waziristan that is putting enormous pressure on the Al-Qaeda sanctuaries there." He added that, “Among the most important ways to influence what happens overtime in Pakistan is to continue to make progress in Afghanistan.”[ix]
  • Eight militants were killed and seven others wounded in an attack by Pakistani helicopters in Kurram on Friday. Two militant hideouts were targeted by the helicopters in the Chinarak area. In a separate incident, a tribesman was killed in a clash with militants in Upper Kurram on Friday after militants fired rockets on the Pewar area from nearby mountains. Meanwhile, unidentified militants kidnapped two men from Lower Kurram on Thursday. The men were traveling to Thall from Parachinar when armed assailants attacked their vehicle.[x]
  • A bridge was blown up in Bara sub-district of Khyber Agency by unidentified militants on Saturday. A search operation in reaction to the incident has commenced.[xi]
 

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

  • Five insurgents were killed during an exchange of fire with security forces in the Matta sub-district of Swat on Friday. The security personnel had cordoned off the Baha area of the sub-district when the militants opened fire. They were subsequently killed in retaliatory fire.[xii]
  • A government-run secondary school in the Adezai area of Peshawar was blown up by unidentified militants on Friday. Nine timed devices detonated within the school building, destroying its nine classrooms and damaging ten others.[xiii]
  • Unidentified militants attacked railroad tracks in Nowshera on Sunday, resulting in damage to around thirty-feet of the tracks. Police report that the insurgents had planted an improvised explosive device (IED) near a railway bridge in the Wattar area, which subsequently detonated and damaged the track. [xiv]
  • Eight tribesmen were injured following an attack on their vehicle by militants in Hangu on Sunday. Following the attack, security personnel conducted a search operation and arrested four suspects.[xv]
 

‘Target Killings’ in Karachi

  • A wave of ‘target killings’ in Karachi has resulted in fifteen people being killed on Sunday. At least three Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) activists were killed in the shootings and two MQM offices were targeted with hand grenades.[xvi]
 

Musharraf Arrest Warrant

  • Court officials have reported that a Pakistani court has given prosecutors an additional week to serve an arrest warrant to former president Pervez Musharraf over the murder of Benazir Bhutto. Musharraf is suspected to have played a role in a "broad conspiracy" to have Bhutto killed before elections. He currently lives in exile in London.[xvii]
 

Mine Collapse

  • A coal mine collapsed in Sorange, Balochistan, resulting in the deaths of forty-five miners. Mohammad Kazim, the Provincial Minister for Irrigation and Power, reported that all forty-five workers trapped in the mine had died. The mine had collapsed due to an explosion from the accumulation of deadly methane gas. The Provincial Minister for Mines and Mineral Department, Abdul Rehman Mengal, said that the company operating the mine had been warned a few weeks prior to cease mining.[xviii]

 


[i] Baqir Sajjad Syed, “Strong protest lodged: Pakistan pulls out of Afghanistan meeting,” Dawn, March 19, 2011. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2011/03/19/strong-protest-lodgedpakistan-pulls-out-of-afghanistan-meeting.html
[ii] Ishtiaq Mahsud, “Militants kill 4 in Pakistan for alleged US links,” Associated Press, March 21, 2011. Available at http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110321/ap_on_re_as/as_pakistan
[iii] Zia Khan, “Waziristan drone attack: Taliban faction threatens scrapping peace deal,” Express Tribune, March 21, 2011. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/135711/waziristan-drone-attack-taliban-faction-threatens-scrapping-peace-deal/
[iv]“Jamaat threatens to besiege US embassy,” Dawn, March 21, 2011. Available at
[v] Mushtaq Yusufzai, “Taliban threaten to target facilitators,” The News, March 20, 2011. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=37135&Cat=7&dt=3/20/2011
[vii] Tahir Khalil, “Davis himself paid blood money: AG,” The News, March 19, 2011. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=4727&Cat=13
[viii] Greg Miller, “CIA launches review of security officers stemming from Pakistan case,” Washington Post, March 18, 2011. Available at http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/cia-launches-review-of-security-officers-stemming-from-pakistan-case/2011/03/18/ABRdk4r_story.html
[ix] “Pakistan must take action in North Waziristan: US,” AFP, March 19, 2011. Available at http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gUOSy8ICLebb4b9g2a-qQ6arpfWg?docId=CNG.cb9a703546a716b6ea833e7994a082c9.331
[x] “Eight killed as helicopters target militants in Kurram,” Dawn, March 19, 2011. Available at
[xi] “Another bridge blown up in Khyber,” Dawn, March 21, 2011. Available at
[xii] “Eight killed as helicopters target militants in Kurram,” Dawn, March 19, 2011. Available at
[xiii] “Militants blow up school in Adezai,” Dawn, March 19, 2011. Available at
[xiv] “Blast damages railway track in Nowshera,” Dawn, March 21, 2011. Available at
[xv] “Eight tribesmen injured in attack on van,” Dawn, March 21, 2011. Available at
[xvii] “Pakistan court gives police extra week on Musharraf,” AFP, March 21, 2011. Available at http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gR-pRIDd7kRVucGSxpRiN0VTdNjA?docId=CNG.301dc17b5d60dc6790da1726987ffe7d.741
[xviii] Shahzad Baloch, “'No survivors in Sorange mine collapse,'” Express Tribune, March 21, 2011. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/135737/19-dead-as-mine-collapses/