Pakistan Security Brief - May 17, 2011

Senior Yemeni Al Qaeda operative arrested; NATO helicopters attack border post; PML-N requests ISI budget to be examined; Gilani declared China “our best and most trusted friend;” Senator Kerry: U.S. wants to his “reset button” on relations; Clinton postpones visit to Pakistan; Pakistan offers to return helicopter tail to U.S.; Wall Street Journal: ongoing billing disputes between U.S. and Pakistan; Drone strike in North Waziristan; Two killed in Mohmand Agency; Militants attack villages in Kurram; School blown up in Bajaur; Displaced families return to Bajaur and Mohmand; Miami imam arrested for links to TTP to plead not guilty; Suicide bombers attack security checkpoint in Quetta.

 

Senior Yemeni Al Qaeda Operative Arrested

 

NATO Helicopters Attack Border Post

 

PML-N Requests ISI Budget to Be Examined by Parliament

 

U.S.-Pakistani Relations

  • In an apparent dig at the United States, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani declared China “our best and most trusted friend” ahead of a visit to Shanghai on Tuesday. He said "We appreciate that in all difficult circumstances, China stood with Pakistan. Therefore we call China a true friend and a time-tested and all-weather friend… We are proud to have China as our best and most trusted friend, and China will always find Pakistan standing beside it at all times.” Meanwhile, U.S. Senator John Kerry Washington, while on a visit to Islamabad, said that the United States wants to hit the "reset button" on deteriorating relations. He declared that Islamabad and Washington have arranged to work together on any future operations against “high value targets” in Pakistan. A senior military official spoke on the arrangement, stating that, “The arrangement is that the two countries will share intelligence on high value targets. The Central Investigation Agency (CIA) will pinpoint such targets and Pakistani forces alone will take action.” Kerry additionally pledged that the U.S. possesses “no designs against Pakistan’s nuclear and strategic assets.[iv]
  • U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton postponed an expected visit to Pakistan. On Monday, a spokesperson said that Clinton had spoken with senior Pakistani leaders about the increased tension caused by the raid which killed Bin Laden. The Washington Post reports that members of the Obama administration are divided over the future of U.S.-Pakistani relations. Exchanges over the last three years between the two countries “portray a circular debate in which the United States repeatedly said it had irrefutable proof of ties between Pakistani military and intelligence officials and the Afghan Taliban and other insurgents, and warned that Pakistani refusal to act against them would exact a cost.”[v]
  • Pakistan has offered to return the tail of the U.S. SEALs helicopter flown in the raid that killed Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, in a “tentative first step towards hitting the reset button in their badly damaged relations.” U.S. officials had previously asked Islamabad for the wreckage of the helicopter, but Pakistan had not publicly agreed to the request until Senator Kerry’s visit. Chinese officials had reportedly articulated interest in the wreckage in the days following the Abbottabad raid.[vi]
  • The Wall Street Journal reports on ongoing billing disputes between Pakistan and the United States. The U.S. has reportedly turned down forty percent of claims requested by Pakistan for the compensation of military equipment and other expenses. About $3.2 billion in expense claims have been forwarded to the U.S. for security operations between January 2009 and June 2010. The media outlet reports that “Pakistan has routinely submitted requests that were unsubstantiated, or were deemed by the U.S. to be exaggerated or of little or no use in the war on terror.”[vii]
 

FATA

  • In the fifth U.S. drone strike in the past eleven days, ten militants were killed in the Mir Ali area of North Waziristan. The first strike destroyed a suspected militant safe haven, while the second targeted a vehicle carrying militants in the area. According to intelligence officials, one of those killed was the son of al Qaeda operative Abu Kashif.[viii]
  • Two children were killed and four other people were injured in Mohmand and Kurram agencies on Monday. The two children were killed and another injured in the Safi sub-district of Mohmand Agency after stepping on a landmine planted by unidentified militants. Meanwhile, three people were injured when militants attacked the Shalozan and Khaiwas villages in Kurram Agency with rockets and mortar shells. Turi tribesmen responded to the attack with retaliatory fire. In a separate incident, the body of a local poet, Mohammad Nazir Mohmand, was recovered in the Khwaizai area of Mohmand Agency after being kidnapped from Peshawar. In addition, a member of a peace committee in the Jawak village of Fronter Region Kohat was killed on Monday by unidentified militants.[ix]
  • A school was blown up in the Mamund area of Bajaur Agency on Monday. Unidentified militants had planted a bomb at the government school on Sunday night. The school was destroyed when the improvised explosive device (IED) detonated the following morning. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.[x]
  • 1,700 displaced families from Bajaur and Mohmand agencies have returned to their hometowns in the region. Noor Akbar, an official for the camp, said that the repatriating families would be given cash to facilitate their return.[xi]
 

Pakistani Americans Linked to TTP

 

Balochistan

  • On Monday, suicide bombers attacked a security check post in Quetta. The five assailants had approached the post in Kharotabad when one of the female suicide bombers blew herself up to avoid arrest by security officers. Frontier Corps officials said that the attackers were foreigners of either Chechen or Uzbek origin. All five suspects were killed in retaliatory fire by Frontier Corps personnel.[xiii]
 


[i] “Pakistan arrests 'senior Yemeni al-Qaeda operative,'” BBC News, May 17, 2011. Available at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-13429316
[ii] Karin Brulliard, “Pakistan: NATO helicopters hit border post,” Washington Post, May 17, 2011. Available at http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/pakistan-nato-helicopters-hit-border-post/2011/05/17/AFbQNX5G_print.html
[iii] Fasahat Mohiuddin, “PML-N to seek president, PM resignation if inquiry fails to satisfy: Nawaz,” The News, May 17, 2011. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=6041&Cat=13&dt=5/17/2011
[iv] Kamran Yousaf, “Kerry in Pakistan: New rules of engagement between Pakistan, US,” Express Tribune, May 17, 2011. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/169733/after-bin-laden-gilani-kerry-agree-to-continue-information-sharing/
[v] Karen DeYoung and Karin Brulliard, “Obama administration is divided over future of U.S.-Pakistan relationship,” Washington Post, May 14, 2011. Available at
[vi] Declan Walsh, “Pakistan to return Osama bin Laden helicopter wreckage to US,” Guardian, May 16, 2011. Available at http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/may/16/osama-bin-laden-helicopter-pakistan
[vii] Adam Entous, U.S. Balks at Pakistani Bills,” Wall Street Journal, May 16, 2011. Available at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703730804576321570902617838.html
[viii] “U.S. drone strikes pick up after Osama bin Laden's death,” CNN, May 16, 2011. Available at
[ix] “Militants kill two children, destroy school,” Dawn, May 17, 2011. Available at
[x] “Militants kill two children, destroy school,” Dawn, May 17, 2011. Available at
[xi] “1,700 displaced families return to Bajaur, Mohmand,” The News, May 17, 2011. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=47382&Cat=7
[xii] Don Van Natta Jr. “Miami Imam Will Plead Not Guilty to Aiding Terror Group, Lawyer Says,” New York Times, May 16, 2011. Available at http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/17/us/17imams.html
[xiii] “Female suicide bombers attack Quetta checkpost,” Express Tribune, May 17, 2011. Available at