Pakistan Security Brief - September 19, 2011

U.S. should not rule out unilateral action in Pakistan; U.S. claims Haqqani links to Pakistan; Pakistan tells U.S. to focus on Afghanistan; Haqqani leader denies bases in Pakistan; General Kayani gives speech at NATO meeting; Kayani rules out military operation in North Waziristan; Clinton meets with Pakistan’s Foreign Minister; U.S. aid “destroying” Pakistan; Pakistani government looks to U.S. for civilian nuclear deal; Pakistani citizens arrested in the U.S. plead guilty to supporting TTP; Bombing in Karachi targets senior police officer, eight killed; Sindh government warned of Karachi attacks; Malik promises peace in Karachi; Police arrest alleged target killer; PML-Q accuses PPP, ANP, and MQM of political violence; JSQM chief released on bail; Drone crash causes fight between militants and security forces; New Pakistan Wikileaks revelations; Afghanistan and Pakistan discuss bilateral cooperation; Militants kill three in Kurram Agency; Thall-Parachinar road “seized by Taliban”; Soldier injured in car-bombing; Militants attack checkpoint, killing five; Police make arrests in Lower Dir bombing; Hazara province “right of the people”; Suspect confesses to Salmaan Taseer murder.

U.S.-Pakistan Relations

  • During an event at American Enterprise Institute (AEI), Republican Congressman Mike Rogers said that unilateral action within Pakistan should not be ruled out by the U.S., especially when protecting U.S. national security interests.  Rogers, who is Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, articulated his belief that engaging Pakistan in counterterrorism efforts would be essential to U.S.-Pakistan relations in the future.  In a speech at Harvard Law School later in the day, White House Counterterrorism Advisor John Brennan stated that the U.S. would reserve its right to unilaterally pursue terrorists when “governments are unwilling or unable to take the necessary actions themselves.”[1]

  • The U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan, Cameron Munter, blamed the Haqqani Network for last week’s attack on the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, alleging to a Pakistani radio station that “There is evidence linking the Haqqani Network to the Pakistan government. This is something that must stop.” Munter did not immediately reveal any evidence of the Haqqani Network’s Pakistan ties or vice versa.[2]

  • In a rebuttal to the statement made by U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter, Pakistani officials told the U.S. that it should resist blaming Pakistan for its failed counterterrorism efforts and should instead focus on defeating militants inside of Afghanistan. A senior Pakistani military official reportedly told Reuters that “instead of blaming [Pakistan], [the U.S.] should take action against terrorists on their side of the border.”[3]

  • The leader of the Haqqani Network, Sirajuddin Haqqani, told Reuters on Saturday that it would partake in talks with the Afghan government, but only if the Taliban opted to as well.  In an unprecedented phone interview, Haqqani claimed that his network no longer operated within Pakistan, countering allegations of such by U.S. officials.  Haqqani also neither claimed nor denied the U.S. accusation that his militants were responsible for attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Kabul or NATO bases.  Haqqani said that he felt secure within Afghanistan and “gone [were] the days when [Haqqani was] hiding in the mountains along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.” He pointed to the complicity of Afghan “senior military and police officials” in allowing the Haqqani Network a safe haven.[4]

  • While attending a NATO Chiefs of Defense meeting in Seville, Spain, Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani gave a speech highlighting the “sacrifices rendered by Pakistan to fight the menace of terrorism and also underscored Pakistan’s expectations of support from the rest of the world.”  Kayani articulated Pakistan’s commitment to counterterrorism efforts while maintaining Pakistan’s right to “formulate policies in accordance with its national interests.” In a Seville interview with Reuters, Kayani commented on U.S.-Pakistan relations, stating they were improving; however, Kayani questioned whether International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) troops would be able to leave neighboring Afghanistan by 2014, saying “No date can be a final date.”[5]

  • U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen reportedly placed pressure upon Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani to take action against the Haqqani Network during a meeting in Seville over the weekend, but Kayani ruled out an “all-out military operation” against the Haqqani Network in North Waziristan, citing “capacity constraints.”[6]

  • U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar in New York City to discuss bilateral relations between the two countries.  Issues discussed reportedly included counterterrorism efforts, “regional issues” such as “Afghan security,” and “long-term relations…in trade, economic and security areas.” Clinton also pressed Pakistan to take action against the Haqqani Network, after U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta “warned that the U.S. would retaliate” against any Pakistan-based militant attack.[7]

  • In an interview with the Guardian on Sunday, former Pakistani cricketing star turned politician, Imran Khan, called President Zardari an “impotent puppet” of the U.S. and warned that U.S. aid to Pakistan was “destroying [Pakistan]. We're basically using our army to kill our own people with American money. We have to separate from the U.S.”  Khan told the Guardian that, in the future, Pakistan needed leaders who were not interested in politics for the money involved.[8]

  • Following U.S. opposition to the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline deal last week, Pakistan has reportedly decided to “use Washtington’s opposition…as a bargaining chip” for a civilian nuclear deal similar to the one the U.S. granted to India.  Pakistan has not said whether a civilian nuclear deal with the U.S. would cause the country to forgo its deal with Iran.  The U.S. has historically been in favor of a TAPI pipeline, including Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India, but Pakistan sees the pipeline as an insufficient means to fulfill its energy needs.[9]

  • Three Pakistani citizens who were arrested by the FBI earlier this year on suspicion of providing material support to the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) have pleaded guilty to the charges against them.  The three were charged with “conspiracy to commit alien smuggling” and providing “material support to the TTP in the form of false documentation and identification.”  All were “willing to jeopardize the safety and security of the American people” for financial profit, according to FBI Special Agent John V. Gillies.[10]

Karachi Violence

  • A car-bomb attack on the home of Chaudhry Aslam Khan, a senior Karachi police officer and the chief of the Crime Investigation Department (CID), killed eight people, including some of Khan’s police guards.  Khan and his family were unhurt in the attack, which was claimed by both the Pakistani Taliban and al Mukhtar, a “little-known” militant group with Taliban ties. Police are currently investigating claims that Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) carried out the suicide attack.[11]

  • A letter sent by the Interior Ministry to the Sindh government on August 27 reportedly warned the government of a likely attack on the Chief of the CID, Chaudhry Aslam Khan, as well as others.  “The letter warned of attacks in Karachi on the 18 and 19 of September between 6 and 10 am,” following intelligence received by the Interior Ministry that suicide bombers were targeting “police who were tackling terrorism,” in addition to “offices of security agencies, foreign consulate staff, [and] religious locations.” In a press conference on the attack, Sindh Home Minister Manzoor Wasan told reporters that target killing in Karachi had been stopped but that “another conspiracy [of violence] was being hatched against the city.”[12]

  • Interior Minister Rehman Malik told reporters on Saturday that he had delivered all promises to bring peace to Karachi and that Karachi “peace stands prevailed.”  Malik also addressed the need to prevent the Taliban and other terrorist organizations from intelligence sharing via the internet.  Malik said that the Pakistani government would retain its right to possibly block content from both Youtube and Google to prevent terrorists from using the sites to communicate.[13]

  • A Saturday night operation led to the arrest of a suspected target killer in Orangi Town, Karachi.  The accused reportedly admitted to three murders and gave police information regarding an Orangi Town torture cell.[14]

  • Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) Provincial Chief Amir Muqam made allegations against Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Awami National Party (ANP), and Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) political parties on Sunday, stating that all three “had been pursuing politics of violence in Karachi” by “killing innocent people [to promote] their vested interests.”  Muqam also went on to accuse the ANP of facilitating Swat’s “poor security situation.”[15]

  • Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz (JSQM) chief Bashir Qureshi was released on Saturday on Rs 200,000 bail following his arrest for illegal weapons possession. Qureshi was arrested last week.[16]

Drone Crash

  • A U.S. drone crashed in South Waziristan on Saturday, according to Pakistani officials who reported that the CIA drone was in the custody of the Pakistani military. A deadly clash over the drone’s wreckage erupted between security forces and militants, killing six militants. TTP leader Hakimullah Mehsud claimed that TTP had shot down the CIA drone, according to TTP spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan, but Pakistani officials claim the crash was result of technical failure.[17]

Wikileaks

  • According to diplomatic cables leaked by anti-secrecy organization Wikileaks, in 2007 former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf warned the U.S. that Pakistan would “consider its options” if India did not stop “spreading insurgency in Balochistan.” According to the cable, Musharraf accused both India and Afghanistan of arming Baloch separatist fighters. A separate leaked cable from December 2007 reveals that former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto expressed her doubts about the fairness of upcoming elections to U.S. ambassador Anne Patterson. According to the cable, Bhutto had “no confidence” in the independence of the Election Commission of Pakistan or the authenticity of voter registration lists.[18]

Afghanistan-Pakistan Relations

  • During a Joint Commission on Reconciliation and Peace in Afghanistan meeting, Pakistan and Afghanistan agreed to form a plan of action to address issues important to both countries, such as counterterrorism.  Both countries rejected the notion that they were providing militants safe havens within their respective borders, as both have been victims of cross-border attacks.  Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Prime Minister Gilani will meet to discuss continued bilateral cooperation in October.[19]

FATA

  • Three people were killed on Sunday during an attack on a passenger bus in the Haider Khan area of lower Kurram agency when unidentified militants allegedly opened fire on the bus.  The men who were killed were of the Parachinar region, but the motive of the attack is unknown.  No other injuries were immediately reported.[20]

  • On Sunday, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa MPA, Attiq-ur Rehman, stated that the Thall-Parachinar road had been “virtually seized by the Taliban.” He said that there were multiple militant groups fighting for control of the “strategic” road which links Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa to Parachinar, Kurram agency.  Rehman estimated that at least Rs 70 billion have been lost by traders and farmers as a result of the road’s closure due to Taliban activity. Pakistan Army spokesman Major General Athar Abbas, told The News that travel along the Thall-Parachinar road was currently possible due to improved security provided by the Pakistan Army. Rehman contested, however, that the efforts of the Pakistan Army would fail in the “long term,” forcing residents to resort to ancient routes for safe travel.[21]

  • At least one soldier was injured on Saturday when a planted explosive device was detonated by remote control.  Residents who heard the bomb detonate closed their shops and reported that they had heard firing; however, later reports indicated that security forces had fired their weapons in the air after the attack and had not been involved in a firefight.[22]

  • Taliban militants attacked a check post manned by an anti-Taliban militia and local law enforcement officials on Saturday night, killing five tribesmen.  In a counterattack launched by the tribal militia, ten Taliban militants were reportedly killed.[23]

Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa

Salmaan Taseer Murder


[1] Huma Imtiaz, “Unilateral action in Pakistan to stay on the table: Rep. Mike Rogers,” Express Tribune, September 16, 2011. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/253938/unilateral-action-in-pakistan-to-stay-on-the-table-rep-mike-rogers/
Adam Levine and Jennifer Rizzo, “US defends right to pursue threats, no matter the country,” CNN, September 16, 2011. Available at http://security.blogs.cnn.com/2011/09/16/us-defends-right-to-pursue-threats-no-matter-the-country/
[2] “Pakistan must sever ties with Haqqanis: Munter,” The News, September 18, 2011. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=8890&Cat=13
[3] Zeeshan Haider, “Pakistan not to blame for Afghan violence: officials,” Reuters, September 19, 2011. Available at http://old.news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20110919/ts_nm/us_pakistan_usa
[4] “Haqqani group ‘no longer using Pak sanctuaries’,” The News, September 18, 2011. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=8893&Cat=13
[5] “Kayani stresses Pak right to make policies according to its interests,” The News, September 17, 2011. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=8864&Cat=13
“Alternative deadline: Kayani doubts Kabul ready for ISAF pullout,” Reuters, September 17, 2011. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/254254/alternative-deadline-kayani-doubts-kabul-ready-for-isaf-pullout/
[6] Nick Schifrin, “Staff Admiral Mike Mullen Continues the Heat on Pakistan Over the Haqqani Network,” ABC News, September 19, 2011. Available at http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2011/09/staff-adm-mike-mullen-continues-the-heat-on-pakistan-over-the-haqqani-network/
[7] Khar discusses Pak-US ties with Clinton,” Geo, September 19, 2011. Available at http://geo.tv/9-19-2011/86399.htm
“Clinton presses Pakistan for action on Haqqani network,” Dawn, September 18, 2011. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2011/09/19/clinton-presses-pakistan-for-action-on-haqqani-network.html
[8] Stuart Jeffries, “Imran Khan: 'America is destroying Pakistan. We're using our army to kill our own people with their money',” Guardian, September 18, 2011. Available at http://www.guardian.co.uk/global/2011/sep/18/imran-khan-america-destroying-pakistan
[9] Zafar Bhutta, “Iran gas pipeline: Pakistan uses US opposition as bargaining chip,” Express Tribune, September 19, 2011. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/255433/iran-gas-pipeline-pakistan-uses-us-opposition-as-bargaining-chip/
[10] Huma Imtiaz, “Countering terrorism: Three Pakistanis plead guilty to providing assistance to TTP,” Express Tribune, September 14, 2011. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/251364/three-pakistanis-plead-guilty-to-us-terror-charges/
[11] “Eight die in attack on Karachi police officer's home,” BBC, September 19, 2011. Available at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-14967852
[12] “Sindh government was warned of attacks in Karachi,” Geo, September 19, 2011. Available at http://geo.tv/9-19-2011/86432.htm
“Terrorists will be stopped: Wasan,” Geo, September 19, 2011. Available at http://geo.tv/9-19-2011/86413.htm
[13] “Malik vows to restore peace in Karachi,” The News, September 18, 2011. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=68223&Cat=2
Pakistan may block Google, Youtube to deny terrorists communication source,” Express Tribune, September 17, 2011. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/254562/pakistan-may-block-google-youtube-to-deny-terrorists-communication/
[14] “Police arrest suspect target killer, torture cell discovered,” Dawn, September 18, 2011. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2011/09/18/suspected-target-killer-arrested-from-orangi-town-torture-cell-discovered.html
[15] “Muqam blames coalition partners for Karachi violence,” The News, September 19, 2011. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=68401&Cat=7
[16] Shamim Bano. “JSQM chief released on bail,” The News, September 18, 2011. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=8906&Cat=13
[17] Irfan Burki and Mushtaq Yusufzai. “US drone crashes into mountains in S Waziristan,”  The News, September 19, 2011. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=8915&Cat=13
[18] “Musharraf warned US of Indian involvement in Balochistan,” Geo, September 17, 2011. Available at http://geo.tv/9-17-2011/86345.htm
Tariq Butt, “Benazir had no confidence in ECP: Wikileaks,” The News, September 19, 2011. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=8937&Cat=13 
[19] Baqir Sajjad Syed, “Pakistan, Afghanistan agree on blueprint for cooperation,” Dawn, September 17, 2011. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2011/09/17/pakistan-afghanistan-agree-on-blueprint-for-cooperation-2.html
[20] “Three killed in attack on passenger bus in lower Kurram,” Dawn, September 18, 2011. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2011/09/18/three-killed-in-attack-on-passenger-bus-in-lower-kurram-agency.html
[21] Mazhar Tufail, “Parachinar hit badly by Taliban, sectarianism,” The News, September 18, 2011. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=68222&Cat=2
[22] Blast injures soldier in Khyber Agency,” Dawn, September 18, 2011. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2011/09/18/blast-injures-soldier-in-khyber-agency-2.html
[24] Haleem Asad, “25 held in connection with Dir bombing,” Dawn, September 17, 2011. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2011/09/18/25-held-in-connection-with-dir-bombing.html
[25] “KP won’t oppose Hazara province demand: Hoti,” The News, September 18, 2011. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=68233&Cat=2
[26] Khalid Iqbal, “Qadri confesses to killing Salmaan Taseer,” The News, September 18, 2011. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=8903&Cat=13