Pakistan Security Brief - September 20, 2011

Obama Administration to increase civilian aid to Pakistan; Six killed in Peshawar marketplace bombing; Pakistan looks to Afghanistan to stop cross-border attacks; Several arrests in connection to Karachi suicide bombing, TPP claims attack; Rangers launch operation in Pak Colony; Malik comments on Karachi violence; PLM-N Leader calls for ban on political parties with militant wings; Islamabad refuses to turn over former ISI head; Security forces arrest 15 militants in South Waziristan; Militants fire on NATO containers, remote bomb destroys oil tanker; 20 militants killed in Orakzai; Gunmen kill 26 in bus attack in Balochistan; Pakistan suspects U.S. spies in aid organizations; UN appeals for $365 million for flood relief; Unmanned drones future of warfare.

U.S.-Pakistan Relations

  • U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan, Cameron Munter, told a Pakistani Radio station on Monday that U.S.-Pakistan relations had encountered a period of regression in terms of intelligence sharing and counterterrorism following the May 2 raid on bin Laden’s Abbottabad compound by U.S. Special Operations Forces. Munter described the relations between the two counties as “rough,” but said that the Obama administration sought to increase funding to Pakistan’s civilian government.[1]

Peshawar

Afghanistan-Pakistan Relations

  • Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Ameer Haider Khan Hoti made a request to the Afghan government to “fulfill its obligations under…international law” by improving efforts at border security to prevent militants from carrying out cross-border attacks in Pakistan. Hoti credited Pakistan with defeating militants in “Swat, Dir, and Bajaur,” and pledged that Pakistan would continue its fight against terrorists, using all force necessary.   He called upon all political parties to “get united against terrorists,” whom he claimed were aided by “secret agencies of other countries.” Hoti also said that Pakistan would assist peace committees and anti-Taliban militias known as lashkars in combating terrorism.[3]

Karachi

  • In a press conference on Monday, Interior Minister Rehman Malik made a variety of statements regarding violence in Karachi. Notably, Malik indicated that terrorists had escalated to targeting innocent victims. Malik confirmed that he himself had been receiving threats from terrorists and reported President Zardari’s commitment of funds to enhance Sindh province police efforts in the current climate of violence. Malik briefly commented on the kidnapping of Shahbaz Taseer, telling reporters that the son of slain former Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer would “be recovered as soon as the government has got some clues.”[6]

ISI

FATA

  • Militants opened fire on NATO containers in Khyber agency killing a driver and injuring a passenger on Tuesday. On Monday, an oil tanker carrying fuel to NATO forces in Afghanistan was blown up by a remote control bomb in Nowshera. No militants have been apprehended in connection with either attack.[10]

Balochistan

  • Armed assailants killed 26 people in an attack on a bus traveling through Balochistan on Tuesday. According to the driver, militants stopped the bus, which was carrying Shia pilgrims, and opened fire after forcing the passengers off the bus in what was thought to be a sectarian attack. Three additional people were killed when gunmen opened fire on an ambulance headed to the attack site in Mastung.[12]

Flood Relief

  • U.S. flood relief efforts in Pakistan have been hampered due to Pakistani government fears that U.S. aid organizations have been infiltrated by the CIA. The Pakistanis’ heighted suspicions come in response to the discovery of a “fake” CIA vaccination campaign in Abbottbad which attempted to obtain DNA from bin Laden’s relatives. A western aid worker highlighted the restrictions saying, “Many aid workers are not getting visas and there is a major problem in getting access to certain areas.”[13]
  • Devastating flooding in Pakistan this year has killed nearly 250 people, destroyed over 600,000 homes, and has displaced over 2 million Pakistanis. The UN has appealed to the international community for $365 million in flood relief for victims, which it says will be distributed to those affected by the floods during the next six months.   Pakistan has set up relief camps, but many areas either have no camps for victims to seek refuge or have camps that have already reached capacity. Many international donors have refused to pledge aid until Pakistan delivers a “clear blueprint” for aid distribution, which has been “seen as an indicator of a serious lack of global credibility for the administration of President Asif Ali Zardari.”[14]

U.S. Drones

  • Drone studies conducted in 2010 have demonstrated that drones may be capable of killing targets after autonomously searching for and positively identifying them.  The prospect of using drones in battlefield conditions will open a dialogue on the “understanding of international law,” according to a new report in the Washington Post, as drones must be able to distinguish between “enemy combatants, surrendering troops and civilians.”  Drone strikes currently require humans to make firing decisions, but in the future drones may be able to “function on their own,” creating probable legal and ethical questions, although scientists believe that building “ethical” drones is possible within the next 10 to 20 years.[15]
 


[1] “US wants its Pakistan aid to reach more civilians,” Dawn, September 19, 2011. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2011/09/19/us-wants-its-pakistan-aid-to-reach-more-civilians.html
[3]Hoti asks Afghanistan to stop border attacks,”Dawn, September 20, 2011. Available athttp://www.dawn.com/2011/09/20/hoti-asks-afghanistan-to-stop-border-attacks.html “Hoti asks Afghan govt to check cross-border attacks,” The News, September 20, 2011. http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=68579&Cat=7
[4] “Arrests made over bombing targeting Chaudhry Aslam: Wasan,” Dawn, September 20, 2011. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2011/09/20/arrests-made-over-bombing-targeting-chaudhry-aslam-wasan.html Rahimullah Yusufzai, “TTP claims responsibility for attack on SSP’s house,” The News, September 20, 2011. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=8946&Cat=13 “Karachi attack: JIT meeting on bomb today,” The News, September 20, 2011. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/NewsDetail.aspx?ID=23078
[5] “Rangers conduct search operation in Pak Colony,” Geo, September 20, 2011. Available at http://geo.tv/9-20-2011/86453.htm
[6] “Govt has broken backbone of extortionists in Karachi: Malik,” The News, September 20, 2011. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=8959&Cat=13
[7] “Nawaz calls for banning political parties with armed wings,” Dawn, September 20, 2011. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2011/09/20/nawaz-calls-for-banning-political-parties-with-armed-wings.html Tahir Hasan Khan and Fasahat Mohiuddin, “Act against Karachi saboteurs identified by SC: Nawaz,” The News, September 20, 2011. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=8941&Cat=13
[8] Qaiser Butt, “Islamabad refuses to hand over ex-ISI chief to Bosnia tribunal,” Express Tribune, September 20, 2011. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/256199/islamabad-refuses-to-hand-over-ex-isi-chief-to-bosnia-tribunal/
[9] “Suspected militants arrested from South Waziristan,” Dawn, September 20, 2011. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2011/09/20/suspected-militants-arrested-from-s-waziristan.html
[10] “Driver killed in attack on NATO vehicles,” Dawn, September 20, 2011. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2011/09/20/driver-killed-in-attack-on-nato-vehicles.html
[11] “20 militants, soldier killed in Orakzai clash,” Express Tribune, September 20, 2011. Available at  http://tribune.com.pk/story/256282/20-militants-soldier-killed-in-orakzai-clash/
[13] Justin Stares, “Pakistan flood aid relief hurt by CIA's Osama bin Laden vaccination programme,” The Telegraph, September 19, 2011. Available at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/pakistan/8774184/Pakistan-flood-aid-relief-hurt-by-CIAs-Osama-bin-Laden-vaccination-programme.html
[14] “Pakistan floods: UN appeals for $365m to help victims,” BBC, September 18, 2011. Available at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-14965336 Z Ali and Abdul Manan, “Donors skittish as UN launches aid appeal,” Express Tribune, September 18, 2011. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/254946/un-launches-357-million-appeal-for-flood-hit-pakistan/
[15] Peter Finn, “A future for drones: Automated killing,” Washington Post, September 20, 2011. Available at http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/national-security/a-future-for-drones-automated-killing/2011/09/15/gIQAVy9mgK_story_1.html