Pakistan Security Brief - September 6, 2011

Pakistan Army arrests three al Qaeda members, including a senior leader; U.S. praises Pakistan’s capture of Younis al Mauritani; Virginia resident, Jubair Ahmad, charged with providing support to Lashkar-e-Taiba; Taliban claims Pakistani boys kidnapped in retaliation for their tribe’s assistance with Pakistani military effort in region; U.S. ramps up security as 9/11 anniversary approaches; Ten years after 9/11 majority of Pakistanis "don’t know" who orchestrated 9/11 attacks; suicide bombings in Pakistan increase dramatically over past decade; Pakistani authorities ban doctor that assisted CIA from leaving country; Insurgents want to join political process in Balochistan; Pakistani Rangers recover large cache of arms in Karachi; Supreme Court resumes hearing on Karachi violence; Four killed in New Karachi on Sunday; Interior Minister Rehman Malik pushes for continuation of Karachi operation and requests judicial investigation into Dr. Zulfikar Mirza’s allegations against him, Lahore police have yet to recover Shahbaz Taseer; Floods in Southern Pakistan kill 132; Swat operation enters its fifth day.

Pakistani Army Arrests Senior Al Qaeda Leader

  • The Pakistan Army announced on Monday that it had captured three al Qaeda members outside of Quetta. The army described one of the prisoners, Younis al Mauritani, as a senior figure within al Qaeda’s leadership. According to the army’s statement, “Mauritani was tasked personally by Osama Bin Laden to focus on hitting targets of economical importance in United States of America, Europe and Australia”. The operation was reportedly run by Pakistan’s Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) with the technical assistance of U.S. intelligence agencies.  [1]

  • According to European intelligence officials, Mauritani’s status within al Qaeda grew over the past two years when he started planning attacks in Europe. He is believed to have run a cell of German jihadists from Hamburg that arrived in the Pakistani frontier territories in early 2010. In the article, it is suggested that interrogations of captured members from the Hamburg cell coupled with information obtained from the Bin Laden raid led intelligence officials to Mauritani. [2]

  • A Whitehouse spokesman lauded Pakistan’s capture of Younis al Mauritani. The official said, “This is an example of the longstanding partnership between the US and Pakistan in fighting terrorism, which has taken many terrorists off the battlefield over the past decade”. U.S. officials confirmed Pakistan’s assessment of Mauritani as a key operational planner for al Qaeda’s operations in Europe. [3]

Virginia Terror Arrest

  • On Friday, Jubair Ahmad, a resident of Woodbridge, Virginia and a Pakistani native, was charged with providing material support to the Pakistani terror group, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT). Federal authorities allege that Ahmad produced a violent jihadist video for LeT that was posted on YouTube in September 2010. The video features images of the group’s leader Hafiz Mohammed Saeed, jihadi martyrs, and armored trucks exploding after being hit by makeshift bombes. Ahmad revised the video in October 2010 to incorporate specific instructions issued by Mohammed Saeed’s son, Talha Saeed. According to authorities, before arriving in the U.S., Ahmad received weapons training from LeT in Pakistan. If convicted, Ahmad faces up to 24 years in prison. [4]

Pakistani Children Kidnapped to Punish Tribe

  • Ehsanullah Ehsan, a Taliban spokesperson, announced that the Pakistani Taliban abduction of 30 boys from the Mamund tribe last Thursday was a response to the tribe’s cooperation with the Pakistani military’s efforts to combat the Taliban along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. The spokesperson claimed that the fate of the children will be decided by a Taliban committee (shura) from Bajaur. Pakistani officials said future action will be determined by tribal leaders from both sides of the border. [5]

 9/11 Anniversary

  • U.S. officials have ramped up security measures throughout the country in anticipation of the 10th anniversary of September 11, 2011. While there is no intelligence indicating a specific plot, the trove of materials found in Bin Laden’s compound contained frequent references to the ten year anniversary of the attacks in New York and Washington. According to a spokesman for the NYC police department, “We would be paying extra attention because of the Sept. 11 anniversary alone without what was found at the bin Laden compound, but the fact that in the aftermath of his death there were documents indicating an attack on or about the anniversary — that has certainly focused our planning.” [6]
  • Ten years after September 11, most Pakistanis still don’t know who orchestrated the attacks on the United States. According to a 2008 World Public Opinion Poll, 72 percent of Pakistani respondents didn’t know who were behind the attacks, and 19 percent thought that the attacks were carried out by the U.S. According to GlobalPost's Pakistan reporter Suzanna Koster "This is an argument that I have heard over and over again. In this conspiracy theory, the U.S. staged the attacks to have a reason for invading Afghanistan." Since 2003, about 11,400 civilians and 3,900 security forces have been killed in Pakistan due to terrorist related violence. [7]
  • According to a report by the Los Angeles Times, suicide bombings in Pakistan have increased dramatically in the decade following September 11, 2001. Before 9/11, Pakistan suffered just one suicide attack in 1995 that killed 15 people. Over the course of the past decade, suicide bombers have struck more than 290 times in Pakistan killing at least 4,600 people and injuring over 10,000 more. [8]

Bin Laden Doctor Barred from Leaving Country

  • A Pakistani commission probing May’s Bin Laden raid has banned Dr. Shakil Afridi from leaving the country. Afridi reportedly assisted the CIA prior to the raid by conducting a phony vaccination program in Abbottabad in an effort to obtain DNA to confirm Bin Laden’s identity. Afridi has not yet been charged by Pakistani authorities and U.S. officials have requested he be released. [9]

Insurgents Want to Join National Politics

  • Pakistani Senator Nawabzada Lashkari Raisani announced on Monday that Baloch insurgents had contacted him about peaceably joining mainstream politics. Raisani said that he had alerted the Prime Minister about his contact with the insurgent group and would take further action after hearing back from the PM. Raisani also criticized the alleged role Interior Minister Rahman Malik played in the destabilization of Balochistan and urged the Pakistani government to seriously examine former Sindh home minister Zulfikar Mirza’s accusations against Malik. [10]

Karachi

  • On Monday, the Supreme Court resumed its hearing on the violence in Karachi which has raged for three months and resulted in the deaths of over 400 people. In his testimony before the court, Inspector-General (IG) of Sindh Police Wajid Ali Durrani complained of a lack of cooperation and information sharing by the Rangers. According to Durrani, the “Rangers have not turned over the men they had arrested during raids. The arms recovered have also not been handed over to us and the Rangers are interrogating those in their custody”. The court reaffirmed their faith in Durrani but told him that it was time to deliver results. [13]
  • Four people were killed in an altercation between two religious groups in the Godhra area of New Karachi late Sunday evening. According to police, the two groups have a history of clashes over collections of donations and management of a local hospital. [14]
  • Interior Minister Rehman Malikcontacted Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani to request a judicial investigationinto Dr. Zulfikar Mirza’s allegations of Malik’s connection to targeted killers in Karachi. On September 3, Malik issued a written request to the PM, saying,I would like to apprise you that some false allegations have been leveled against me by former home minister, Sindh. I categorically deny these allegations as there is no truth in them”. Gilani praised Mirza’s decision to present himself before the judiciary. [15]

Swat

  • Violence erupted between security forces and militants in Bishban on Monday. A search operation for militants in the area has entered its fifth day and a curfew has been imposed in the region. Tensions increased in the region after security forces disrupted a suicide attack targeting a mosque in Kabal. According to security forces, five militants have been killed during the course of the operation. [16]

Abduction case

  • Lahor police have yet to recover Shahbaz Taseer, son of former slain Punjab Governor Salman Taseer, who was abducted ten days ago. According to local officials, "The investigation teams are in contact with Shahbaz's family but the kidnappers had not yet contacted the Taseer family”. [17]

Flooding

  • Monsoon rains in Southern Pakistan have killed 132 people and affected nearly five million others over the past month. According to Dr. Zafar Qadir, the country head of the National Disaster Management Authority, "A total of 690,000 houses were damaged, in which 250,000 were completely destroyed," Charities have accused Pakistan of failing to invest in flood prevention measures in the wake of last year’s flooding which was the worst in the country’s history and killed nearly 2,000 people. [18]

 


[1]Al-Qaeda chief Younis al-Mauritani held, says Pakistan,” BBC, September, 5 2011. Available at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-14787900
[2] Paul Cruickshank &Tim Lister, “Al Qaeda suffers another blow with arrest of senior operational leader,” CNN, September, 5, 2011. Available at http://security.blogs.cnn.com/2011/09/05/al-qaeda-suffers-another-blow-with-arrest-of-senior-operational-figure/?hpt=hp_t2
[3] “US hails Pakistan’s capture of al Qaeda leader,” Dawn, September 5, 2011. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2011/09/05/us-hails-pakistan%e2%80%99s-capture-of-al-qaeda-leader.html
[4] Justin Jouvenal, “Woodbridge man faces terror charges in production of violent jihadist video,” Washington Post, September 3, 2011. Available athttp://www.washingtonpost.com/local/woodbridge-man-faces-terror-charges-for-violentjihadistpropagandavideo/2011/09/02/gIQABfW1zJ_story.html
[5] “Pakistani tribal elders in talks with Taliban to free abductees,” Dawn, September, 4 2001. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2011/09/04/pakistani-tribal-elders-in-talks-with-taliban-to-free-abductees.html
[6] Peter Finn & Jerry Markon, “9/11 anniversary security sharpened; materials at bin Laden compound worry officials” Washington Post, September, 2 2011. Available at http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/documents-found-at-bin-laden-compound-has-sharpened-911-security/2011/09/02/gIQA6F4KxJ_story.html
[7] Larisa Epatko, “10 Years Later, 9/11 Conspiracy Theories Linger in Pakistan,” PBS, September 2, 2011. Available at http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/2011/09/view-from-pakistan-on-911.html
[8] Alex Rodriguez, “In Pakistan, suicide bombings are part of rhythm of life,” LA Times, September 5, 2011. Available at http://articles.latimes.com/2011/sep/05/world/la-fg-pakistan-911-20110906
[9] “Pakistan bars doctor who helped CIA from leaving,” AP, September, 6 2011. Available at http://news.yahoo.com/pakistan-bars-doctor-helped-cia-leaving-105726488.html
[10] Saleem Shahid, “Insurgents want to join national politics: Lashkari,” Dawn, September 6, 2011. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2011/09/06/insurgents-want-to-join-national-politics-lashkari.html
[11] “Operations to continue against target killers and extortionists: Malik,” Dawn, September, 3 2011. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2011/09/03/operations-to-continue-against-target-killers-and-extortionists-malik.html
[12] “Rangers seize arms during targeted action in Karachi,” Dawn, September, 5 2011. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2011/09/05/rangers-seize-arms-during-targeted-action-in-karachi.html
[13] Zeeshan Mujahid, “Karachi Violence Case, SC assures support ‘against pressure’ to Sindh police chief.” Express Tribune, September 6, 2011. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/245953/karachi-violence-case-sc-assures-support-against-pressure-to-sindh-police-chief/
[14] “Four killed as groups clash in Karachi,” Dawn, September, 5 2011. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2011/09/05/four-killed-as-groups-clash-in-karachi.html
[15] Amjad Mahmood & Syed Irfan Raza “Malik seeks judicial probe into Mirza’s allegations,” Dawn, September, 5 2011. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2011/09/05/malik-seeks-judicial-probe-into-mirzas-allegations.html
[16] Fazal Khaliq, “Return of militancy: Army launches operation in Swat – again,” Express Tribune, September, 6, 2011. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/246049/return-of-militancy-army-launches-operation-in-swat--again/  
[17] “Police still clueless in Shahbaz Taseer abduction case,” The News, September, 5 2011. Available athttp://www.thenews.com.pk/NewsDetail.aspx?ID=22065&title=Police-still-clueless-in-finding-Shahbaz
[18] “Pakistan monsoon rains affect five million, kill 132,” AFP, September, 5 2011. Available at http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5jWRae5bhkTJJimHwWgShSG14vE0g?docId=CNG.00f708c014f0f95171750d454d5100e4.5e1