Pakistan Security Brief - September 27, 2011

U.S. State Department remains committed to U.S.-Pakistan relations; U.S. had prior evidence of ISI supporting militants against U.S., says NYT; U.S. Senator calls for elimination of military aid to Pakistan; Gilani warns against “negative messaging”, meets with Zardari; Pakistan’s Senate Standing Committee on Defense meets to discuss U.S. allegations, Zardari reaches out to allies in light of U.S. accusations; Taliban claims control of Haqqani Network; Tribesmen stage protest against U.S.; Pakistan cites rise in suicide bombings; Pakistani officials laud relationship with China and seeks bilateral defense pact; Malik vows to engage Chinese militants in Pakistan; Security forces launch a search operation in Peshawar; Militants torch NATO tankers; Explosion injures ten FC officers; Trade ministers of Pakistan and India to meet; Charges filed in Norway terror plot; Gilani establishes PTWO.

U.S.-Pakistan Relations

  • In a Monday statement, the U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner articulated that the U.S. has been “working constructively” with Pakistan since U.S. allegations emerged last week blaming Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) for supporting the Haqqani Network. Toner reiterated that the U.S. was committed to U.S.-Pakistan relations, despite the “very clear challenges” affecting the current state of relations between the two countries. Toner also commented that designating the Haqqani Network as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) was under review by the Obama administration, although a handful of members of the Haqqani Network were already individually blacklisted and targeted by the U.S. Treasury.[1]

  • Details of a 2007 border ambush on U.S. soldiers in Teri Mangal, Pakistan have emerged, highlighting “an enduring emblem of the distrust that has poisoned relations” between the U.S. and Pakistan in recent years. While the U.S. government’s investigation of the ambush remains classified, the assault reportedly “involved multiple gunmen, Pakistani intelligence agents, and military.” The “details of the ambush indicate that Americans were keenly aware of Pakistan’s sometimes duplicitous role long before U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen, revealed ISI links to the Haqqani Network last week, according to The New York Times.[2]

  • U.S. Senator Mark Kirk reaffirmed U.S. accusations that the Haqqani Network has been operating with the help of the ISI on Monday. Kirk, who is a member of the Senate subcommittee on international aid, argued for the elimination of military aid to Pakistan and called for “turning over responsibility for Afghanistan to India” because “India has a strong interest in an Afghanistan that is not a terror base.”[3]

  • Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani told Reuters that the “negative messaging” emanating from the U.S. has been “disturbing” to the Pakistani people. Gilani also warned the U.S. that any “unilateral military operation” in Pakistan would be a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty. Later, Gilani met with President Zardari to discuss “the present political and security situation” and the “upcoming All Parties Committee (APC).”[4]

  • Pakistan’s Senate Standing Committee on Defense met on Tuesday to discuss allegations made by the U.S. against Pakistan. Lieutenant General Javed Ashraf Qazi commented that U.S. accusations against Pakistan were only “helping the terrorists.” Qazi also said that the committee called upon the foreign office to send “delegations to… ally states for confidence building measures.” Later, President Asif Ali Zardari reached out to ally Saudi Arabia by attending an event at the Saudi Embassy. Zardari made remarks about “Saudi support for Pakistan at critical junctures,” saying, “Every difficult moment in our history has witnessed us (Pakistan and Saudi Arabia) standing together in mutual support and solidarity.”[5]

  • The Taliban claimed that it was in control of the Haqqani Network on Tuesday, following U.S. accusations that the ISI was handling the terrorist network. The Taliban called for Pakistanis to “prioritize ‘Islamic and national’ interests” and stand up against the U.S. to prevent the U.S. from looting all of Pakistan’s “material and moral assets.” The Taliban also claimed that the Haqqani Network’s founder, Jalaluddin Haqqani, “receives all guidance for operations” from Mullah Omar, the Taliban’s supreme leader.[6]

  • Tribesmen from the town of Jamrud staged a protest to threaten the U.S. with “holy war should it take action against [the Haqqani Network] in North Waziristan” on Tuesday. Hundreds of tribesmen took part in the protest, which was staged by Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), Pakistan’s largest Islamic party. Many protestors carried AK-47s and chanted “Death to America.” JI leader Qazi Hussain Ahmed called for an end to the U.S.-Pakistan alliance in the war on terror.[7]

  • According to an article in the Washington Post, Pakistani officials cite the dramatic increase in suicide bombings as a major disincentive for pursuing militants within Pakistan.  Before 2001, Pakistan suffered only one suicide attack; however that number has risen to 335 since Islamabad joined the American campaign against the Taliban and al Qaeda. According to the Pak Institute for Peace Studies, more that 10,000 Pakistani civilians have been killed in attacks since 2001. According to the article, the Pakistani public has attributed the increased bloodshed to the U.S.’s presence in the region.[8]

Pakistan-China Relations

  • Pakistani officials praised the Pakistan-China alliance on Tuesday during talks with Chinese Public Security Minister Meng Jianzhu. Meng returned the praise, saying China and Pakistan are “good brothers” and cited ties with Pakistan as a diplomatic priority in Beijing. Over the past several months, Pakistan has pushed for a bilateral defense pact with China. Pakistan has utilized backdoor and regular diplomatic channels to convey its interest to the Chinese. However, Chinese officials have responded skeptically to such a pact and have urged Pakistan to consider the fallout in Washington, D.C. and New Delhi.[9]

  • Following a separate meeting with Meng Jianzhu, Pakistan’s Interior Minister, Rehman Malik, pledged to attack Chinese militants based in Pakistan’s tribal regions. Malik announced, “We will strike very hard against them (Chinese militants)…anybody who is the enemy of China is the enemy of Pakistan.” Militants from China’s Xinjiang province have been known to train in Pakistan before carrying out attacks in China.[10]

FATA

Balochistan

Pakistan-India Relations

Terrorism

  • A Norwegian prosecutor brought terror charges against three men accused of plotting to attack a Danish newspaper that caricatured the prophet Muhammad. One of the men, Mikael Davud, an ethnic Uighur from China, was accused of receiving explosives training in Pakistan. Davud admitted that he had also plotted to bomb the Chinese embassy in Oslo.[15]

Water

  • On Friday, Prime Minister Gilani established the Pakistan Transborder Water Organization (PTWO) to protect Pakistan’s water rights on rivers flowing from neighboring countries. The PTWO will direct Pakistan’s policy reaction to other countries’ hydroelectric projects that impact Pakistan’s water rights. Officials claim the PTWO was formed in response to India’s plans to construct dams on the Indus, Jhelum, and Chenab rivers and assist Afghan efforts to build a dam on the Kabul River.[16]



[1] “Daily Press Briefing,” U.S. Department of State, September 26, 2011. Available at http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpb/2011/09/173972.htm
[2] Carlotta Gall, “Pakistanis Tied to 2007 Border Ambush on Americans,” The New York Times, September 26, 2011. Available at http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/27/world/asia/pakistanis-tied-to-2007-attack-on-americans.html
[3] “Haqqanis taking action with ISI help: US Senator,” The News, September 26, 2011. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/NewsDetail.aspx?ID=23450
[4] “PM Gilani warns against negative messaging,” Dawn, September 27, 2011. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2011/09/27/pm-gilani-warns-us-against-negative-messaging.html “President, PM discuss current political, security situation,” Geo, September 27, 2011. Available at http://geo.tv/9-27-2011/86789.htm
[5] “Pakistan is able to retaliate if need be: Senate defense committee,” Dawn, September 27, 2011. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2011/09/27/pakistan-is-able-to-retaliate-if-need-be-senate-defense-committee.html Baqir Sajjad Syed, “Diplomacy under way to de-escalate crisis,” Dawn, September 27, 2011. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2011/09/27/diplomacy-under-way-to-de-escalate-crisis.html
[6] “Taliban insists it controls Haqqanis, not Pakistan,” Dawn, September 27, 2011. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2011/09/27/taliban-insists-it-controls-haqqanis-not-pakistan.html
[7] “Tribesmen in Jamrud protest against the US,” Dawn, September 27, 2011. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2011/09/27/tribesmen-in-jamrud-protest-against-the-us.html
[8] Karin Brulliard, “Shaken by increase in attacks since 2001, many Pakistanis fault U.S.,” The Washington Post, September 27, 2011. Available at http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia-pacific/shaken-by-increase-in-attacks-since-2001-many-pakistanis-fault-us/2011/09/19/gIQAFe9D0K_story.html?hpid=z3
[9] Zeeshan Haider, “Pakistan turns to China as ties with U.S. suffer,” Reuters, September 27, 2011. Available at http://uk.reuters.com/article/2011/09/27/uk-pakistan-china-usa-idUKTRE78Q1EN20110927 Zia Khan, “Eastern Alliance: Pakistan lobbying for defense pact with China,” Express Tribune, September 27, 2011. http://tribune.com.pk/story/261311/eastern-alliance-pakistan-lobbying-for-defence-pact-with-china/
[10] “Malik vows support to China in terror fight,” Dawn, September 27, 2011. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2011/09/27/malik-vows-support-to-china-in-terror-fight.html
[11] “Search operation underway in Peshawar, Khyber Agency,” Geo, September 27, 2011. Available at http://geo.tv/9-27-2011/86780.htm
[12] “NATO oil tankers torched in Balochistan,” Geo, September, 27 2011. Available at http://geo.tv/9-27-2011/86795.htm
[13] “Restive frontiers: 10 FC personnel injured in Dera Bugti blast,” Express Tribune, September 27, 2011. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/261226/restive-frontiers-10-fc-personnel-injured-in-dera-bugti-blast/
[14] “India and Pakistan push fragile ties with trade diplomacy,” Dawn, September 27, 2011. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2011/09/27/india-and-pakistan-push-fragile-ties-with-trade-diplomacy.html
[15] “Charges Filed in Norway Terror Plot,” The NYTimes, September 27, 2011. Available at http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2011/09/27/world/europe/AP-EU-Norway-Terror-Plot.html
[16] Khaleeq Kiani, “Transborder water authority set up,” Dawn, September 27, 2011. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2011/09/27/transborder-water-authority-set-up.html