Pakistan Security Brief - November 14, 2013

TTP deputy chief Sheikh Khalid Haqqani will be operational leader with Mullah Fazlullah staying in Afghanistan; Fazlullah’s appointment as chief could create tension between Pakistan and Afghanistan; Some TTP factions still unhappy with Fazlullah’s elevation; Government still has not confirmed Nasiruddin Haqqani’s death; TAPI gas pipeline moving forward; Finance Minister claims that Iran is backing out of Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline; Pakistani Prime Minister wants to meet with Indian Prime Minister; Karachi bombings near Shia congregation halls kill 20; Six alleged LeJ militants killed in clash with police in Karachi; Kurram agency border with Afghanistan sealed; fourteen people allegedly belonging to militant groups arrested in Punjab; Afghan security forces find 61,500 pound VBIED near Pakistan border; Three militants killed by police in Bannu district.

TTP

  • According to a Thursday report in The News, new Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) chief Mullah Fazlullah will not be in charge of day-to-day operations for the organization. He was reportedly advised against travelling to Waziristan in order to avoid U.S. drone strikes and his deputy, Sheikh Khalid Haqqani, will reportedly be the TTP’s operational chief.[1]

  • According to a Wednesday report in The Wall Street Journal, Mullah Fazlullah’s rise to become the TTP’s new leader could strain relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Fazlullah is in Afghanistan’s Nuristan province, and is allegedly close with Afghan intelligence, which sees him as a possible proxy to be used against Pakistan. Pakistani sources also indicated to the The Wall Street Journal that Pakistan may cross into Afghanistan to try to catch Fazlullah.[2]

  • According to a Thursday report in The Express Tribune, some factions of the TTP are still unsatisfied with the elevation of Mullah Fazlullah to the top position. Much of the opposition is reportedly concentrated within the Mehsud tribe, which has traditionally dominated the group.[3]

  • Gaza-based Salafi group Jaish-al-Ummah, which has claimed responsibility for rocket attacks against Israeli targets, released a statement on Wednesday offering condolences for the death of former TTP chief Hakimullah Mehsud and praised him for fighting “the crusader enemy.”[4]

Haqqani Network

  • On Wednesday, Haqqani Network founder Jalaluddin Haqqani released a statement calling his recently assassinated son, Nasiruddin Haqqani a martyr. In the euology, he said that Nasiruddin was not the first, and would not be the last, martyr produced by the Haqqani family.[5]

  • As of Thursday, the Pakistani government has not confirmed that Nasiruddin Haqqani was killed on Sunday in Islamabad, although numerous others, including the Haqqani Network itself have confirmed it.[6]

Gas Pipelines

  • On Wednesday, the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) approved a gas pipeline from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India and appointed the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to advise the project.[7]

  • On Wednesday, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said that the Iranian finance minister told him on the sidelines of recent World Bank and IMF meetings in the U.S. that Iran was backing out of the Iran-Pakistan pipeline project because Iran’s own financial situation meant it would be unable to provide Pakistan with promised financing packages for constructing the pipeline.[8]

India-Pakistan Relations

  • According to a Thursday report in Dawn, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is hoping to meet with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Pakistan before Singh’s expected retirement sometime early next year. Singh is not expected to continue as Prime Minister after the next elections, which will be no later than next May, whether or not his Congress Party wins. On Wednesday, Sharif reportedly sent a message to Singh asking to resolve India and Pakistan’s problems through dialogue.[9]

Sectarian Incidents

  • On Wednesday, three bomb attacks near Shia congregation halls in North Nazimabad and North Karachi, Karachi, injured a total of 20 people.[10]

  • Karachi police killed six alleged militants in a clash on Thursday in the Mauripur area of the city. The militants allegedly belong to the sectarian Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ).[11]

  • On Thursday, police in Islamabad arrested an alleged suicide bomber and another person who were planning to attack a Shia congregation hall. One of the plotters is reportedly an Afghan citizen.[12]

  • According to a Thursday report in Dawn, police in Peshawar have tightened security throughout the city in order to protect against attacks on Ashura, the 10th day of Muharram.[13]

  • On Wednesday, the border between Afghanistan and Kurram agency was sealed in order to increase security for Muharram.[14]

  • On Wednesday, police in Gujranwala, Punjab arrested fourteen alleged militants who belonged to sectarian terror organizations LeJ, Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan, and Jaish-e-Muhammad.[15] 

Militancy

  • On Wednesday, The Express Tribune reported that Afghan security forces apprehended a truck with an enormous 61,500 pound vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) in October. The truck was near the Afghan-Pakistan border and the driver was Pakistani.[16]

  • On Wednesday, police and security forces carried out an operation in the Elam Mountains of Buner district, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, reportedly destroying a militant hideout.[17]

  • On Wednesday, three militants were killed by police when they attacked a police station in Bannu district, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.[18]

  • On Thursday, police in Achini Bala, Peshawar defused a bomb which had been planted on the side of a road.[19]

  • On Wednesday, unidentified attackers fired at rocket at Quetta. There were no casualties.[20]

  • On Thursday, the Frontier Corps (FC) staged raids throughout Balochistan. The FC claims to have seized 516 improvised explosive devices (IED), three anti-aircraft guns, and five rocket-propelled grenades (RPG).[21]

 



[1] Amir Mir, “Khalid Haqqani to Lead TTP as Functional Head,” The News, November 14, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-26647-Khalid-Haqqani-to-lead-TTP-as-functional-head
[2] Yaroslav Trofimov, “Mullah Fazlullah’s Rise Complicates Ties Between Kabul, Islamabad,” The Wall Street Journal, November 13, 2013. Available at: http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303914304579193723323995290
[3] Hakimullah’s Death Plunges TTP into Dangerous Disarray,” The Express Tribune, November 14, 2013. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/631949/leaders-death-plunges-ttp-into-dangerous-disarray/
[4] David Barnett, “Gaza-Based Jaish ul Ummah Praises Hakeemullah Mehsud,” The Long War Journal, November 13, 2013. Available at: http://www.longwarjournal.org/threat-matrix/archives/2013/11/gaza-based_jaish_al_ummah_prai.php
[5] “Jalaluddin Haqqani Terms Son’s Death Pride for Family,” The News, November 14, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-214305-Jalaluddin-Haqqani-terms-sons-death-pride-for-family
[6] “No Official Word on Murder of TTP Leader,” Dawn, November 14, 2013. Available at: http://dawn.com/news/1056233/no-official-word-on-murder-of-ttp-leader
[7] ECC Approves ADB as Adviser for TAPI Gas Pipeline Project,” The News, November 14, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-26650-ECC-approves-ADB-as-adviser-for-TAPI-gas-pipeline-project
[8] “Iran has Backed out of Gas Pipeline Project: Dar,” The News, November 14, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-26651-Iran-has-backed-out-of-gas-pipeline-project%3a-Dar
[9] Jawed Naqvi, “Sharif Keen for Singh to Visit Pakistan,” Dawn, November 14, 2013. Available at: http://dawn.com/news/1056208/sharif-keen-for-singh-to-visit-pakistan
“Nawaz to Manmohan: Resume Peace Process,” The Express Tribune, November 14, 2013. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/631846/sartaj-meets-indian-pm-nawaz-to-manmohan-resume-peace-process/
[10] “series of Bomb Attacks Injures 20 in Karachi,” Dawn, November 14, 2013. Available at: http://dawn.com/news/1056139/series-of-bomb-attacks-injures-15-in-karachi
[11] “LeJ Militants, Police Clash in Karachi’s Mauripur; Six Killed,” Dawn, November 14, 2013. Available at: http://dawn.com/news/1056321/lej-militants-police-clash-in-karachis-mauripur-six-killed
[12] Security Forces Foil Suicide Attack on Islamabad,” The Express Tribune, November 14, 2013. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/631945/security-forces-foil-suicide-attack-on-islamabad-imambargah/
[13] Ali Hazrat Bacha, “Security in Peshawar on Alert for Ashura,” Dawn, November 14, 2013. Available at: http://dawn.com/news/1056297/security-in-peshawar-on-alert-for-ashura
[14] “Pak-Afghan Border Sealed,” The News, November 14, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-214313-Pak-Afghan-border-sealed
[15] “14 Suspects Nabbed in Gujranwala,” The News, November 14, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-214333-14-suspects-nabbed-in-Gujranwala
[16] “Pakistani was Driving World’s Largest Truck Bomb Near Af-Pak Border: Report,” The Express Tribune, November 14, 2013. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/631967/pakistani-was-driving-worlds-largest-truck-bomb-near-af-pak-border-report/
[17] “Hideouts of Militants Destroyed,” The News, November 14, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-214331-Hideouts-of-militants-destroyed
[18] “Three Militants Killed in Bannu Encounter,” The News, November 14, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-26660-Three-militants-killed-in-Bannu-encounter
[19] “Terror Plot Foiled as 20Kg Bomb Defused in Peshawar,” Dawn, November 14, 2013. Available at: http://dawn.com/news/1056328/terror-plot-foiled-as-20-kg-bomb-defused-in-peshawar
[20] “Rocket Fired at Quetta,” The News, November 14, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-214334-Rocket-fired-at-Quetta
[21] “FC Foils Terror Bid in Balochistan,” Geo News, November 14, 2013. Available at: http://www.geo.tv/article-126415-FC-foils-terror-bid-in-Balochistan