Pakistan Security Brief - September 11, 2012
Al Qaeda’s number two’s death confirmed; British report says Taliban is willing to break away from Al Qaeda and start peace negotiations; Pakistani doctor says Pakistan’s ISI considers U.S. as “our worst enemies”; US Senator urges foreign assistance to Pakistan be blocked; 20 injured in an IED attack; four bodies found dead in Balochistan; video of eight kidnapped victims pleading to the Pakistan government released by Taliban; flash floods kill almost 80 people in Pakistan in the past three days.
Al Qaeda chief Ayman al Zawahri confirmed the death of the group’s second in command on Monday. Abu Yahya al-Libi was killed in June by a U.S. drone strike in northwestern Pakistan. He fought in the Afghanistan war against the Soviet Union in the 1980s and found a way to escape from the American controlled prison at the Bagram Air Base in 2005. Zawahri said his “blood is calling, urging and inciting you to fight and kill the Crusaders.”
According to a report released on Monday by the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), the Taliban is ready to break away from al Qaeda and come to a peace agreement because they believe the war against NATO is “unwinnable.” The report, “Taliban Perspectives on Reconciliation,” gathered its information through “interviews with four unnamed Taliban figures, two of whom were ministers in the former Taliban government and are still close to the inner circle of leadership.” The report implies that the Taliban still is not ready to recognize Karzai’s government, and will not be part of a peace deal that paints the Taliban actions as surrender. Members of the Afghan Taliban rejected the RUSI report on Monday, however, saying no interviews had taken place. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told Reuters on Monday “the report is a lie and is baseless.”
Dr. Shakil Afridi Case
In an exclusive interview with Fox News over a cell phone from jail in Peshawar, Dr. Shakil Afridi, the Pakistani doctor who allegedly helped the CIA track down Osama bin Laden, said Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) considered the U.S. as “our worst enemies, worse than the Indians.” After being detained by the ISI in May 2011, Afridi said he had suffered brutal interrogation and torture methods, which included cigarette burns and electric shocks. Although Afridi did not give specific details about his involvement with the CIA, he claims, “I didn’t know about a specific target apart from the work I was given to do.” Afridi also labeled Pakistan’s war against militancy as “bogus” and affirmed, “without doubt, the Haqqanis are 100 percent supported by the ISI.” Afridi’s lawyer, Samiullah Afridi, told the BBC that he was skepctical about the authenticity of the interview and the ability for someone to smuggle a phone in to Afridi given how tight security in the prison is.
After hearing reports that Dr. Shakil Afridi was being tortured by Pakistan’s ISI, Senator Rand Paul, in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, stated that a vote on his bill to stop foreign assistance to Pakistan over this matter must be scheduled immediately. Paul said, “No foreign government as blatantly defiant of American priorities as Pakistan should benefit from billions upon billions of American taxpayer dollars.”
20 people were injured in Hub on Monday by an improvised explosion device (IED). Police said that a remote-control device triggered the IED that was planted on a motorcycle as a group of buses were passing by.
Four bodies were found in Kalat district of Balochistan on Monday. A Balochistan Levies official said that the victims were found blindfolded, their legs and hands tied by rope, brutally tortured, and left with multiple bullet holes. The official claimed, “one of the bodies was of a Balochistan Constabulary officer, which had a hole drilled into his head.”
The Taliban released a video on Tuesday showing eight men kidnapped in South Waziristan last month pleading for their safe release. Citing the murder of one of their co-workers by the militants already, one man was shown saying “we appeal to the Government of Pakistan and WAPDA to fulfill the demands of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan and arrange for our safe release as soon as possible.”
Flash floods in Pakistan have killed almost 80 people in the past three days. A spokesman from the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) said more 1,600 houses have been destroyed and 5,000 have been damaged. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and Pakistan-held Kashmir have been hit the hardest.