Pakistan Security Brief

New al Qaeda merger in Iraq, Syria ordered by Ayman al Zawahiri in Pakistan; Forces kill fifteen more in Tirah operation; Nine killed in Orakzai battle; Pakistan Army rebuilds infrastructure in South Waziristan to win over population; ANP unlikely to win under TTP threats; Zardari and Ambassador Olson meet to discuss Afghanistan; Iranian Consul General promises to finish pipeline by 2014; Indian envoy expresses support for strong Pakistani democracy; Gunmen kill MQM candidate in Karachi; Policeman dies defending polio workers; Police arrest TTP leader in Karachi; Two police, six others die in targeted attacks in Karachi; Militants bomb hospital in Peshawar.

Pakistani al Qaeda Group Orders Iraq-Syria Merger

  • On Tuesday, the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, Sheikh Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, released an audio message to a number of jihadist websites announcing a merger with the Syrian opposition group Jabhat al Nusra, reportedly on the urging of al Qaeda Central’s leader Ayman Al Zawahiri who is based in Pakistan.  The new group is called the “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.”  A CNN article released Wednesday explains that the merger is especially dangerous because al Nusra is the strongest, best trained, and most populous rebel group in Syria.  It explains that their publically announcing association with al Qaeda means they are confident enough in their strength and ability to successfully fight in Syria, subdue the population, and potentially support al Qaeda efforts elsewhere.[1]

Tirah Valley Operation

  • On Thursday, security forces killed at least 15 more militants in a battle in the Tirah valley, between Khyber and Orakzai agencies.  Thursday’s battle, which resulted in one soldier’s death, was the latest in a week-long operation against the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and Lashkar-e-Islam (LI) fighters that took over the valley and are using it to conduct strikes against Peshawar and the surrounding areas.[2]

  • On Wednesday, security forces and militants clashed after security forces rained artillery shells on their position in a battle that killed nine militants and injured two soldiers in the Daburai area of Upper Orakzai.[3]

Pakistan Army Rebuilding South Waziristan

  • On Wednesday, the Washington Post released an article explaining some of the Pakistan Army’s efforts to support and win over the civilian population in war-torn South Waziristan.  The article explains how the army provides agricultural support, builds and paves new roads, and has opened vocational schools in an effort to provide people alternatives to joining the Taliban.  The article further discusses the impact of military rules governing the area, such as a ban on carrying weapons and tightly controlled access to the region, which foster reportedly animosity against the army.[4]

Domestic Politics

  • On Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal released an article that predicted the Awami National Party (ANP) will do poorly in the upcoming general elections because of persistent TTP threats against them.  The article  cites three primary reasons for the shift in power. First, because the ANP is a secular party openly and anti-Taliban, the TTP is threatening and committing violence against ANP workers, preventing them from effectively campaigning.  Second, because the ANP cooperated with the U.S. and was supportive of the War on Terror, the deeply religious and anti-Western demographic in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa is more likely to support conservative, Islamic parties like the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F).  Third, the ANP is reportedly notorious for its corruption, which makes it deeply unpopular with its constituents.[5]

U.S.-Pakistan Relations

Indo-Pak Relations

  • On Wednesday, the Indian High Commissioner in Pakistan, Sharat Sabharwal, said that India supports a “strong democratic system in Pakistan.”  Sabharwal was meeting with Sindh Governor Nisar Ahmed Khuhro at the Governor’s House in Karachi, where they discussed elections and the security, law, and order situation in Pakistan and India.[7]

Iran-Pakistan Pipeline


[1] “Syria rebel group's dangerous tie to al Qaeda,” CNN, April 10, 2013. Available at
“Dangerous merger of Syrian and Iraqi juhadist groups,” Quilliam Foundation, April 10, 2013. Available at
[2] “Fighting rages in NW Pakistan, 15 militants, one soldier killed: army,” Express Tribune, April 11, 2013. Available at
[3] “Nine militants killed in Orakzai,” The News, April 11, 2013. Available at
[5] “Taliban Imperil U.S. Political Ally in Pakistan,” Wall Street Journal, April 10, 2013. Available at
[6] “U.S. ambassador calls on president Zardari,” Dawn, April 11, 2013. Available at
[7] “India for strong democratic system in Pakistan: envoy,” The News, April 11, 2013. Available at
[8] “Defying all odds: Iran-Pakistan pipeline to be completed by 2014,” Express Tribune, April 11, 2013. Available at 
[9] “MQM Sindh provincial assembly candidate shot dead in Hyderabad,” Express Tribune, April 11, 2013. Available at
[10] “Targeted attack: policeman escorting polio vaccinators killed,” Express Tribune, April 11, 2013. Available at
[11] “Man gunned down, another injured near Café Pyala,” The News, April 11, 2013. Available at,-another-injured-near-Cafe-Pyala
“Cracker attack in Malir area,” The News, April 11, 2013. Available at
“Two cops among five shot dead in Karachi,” The News, April 11, 2013. Available at
[12] “At least 15 militants killed in Khyber’s Tirah valley,” Dawn, April 11, 2013. Available at
[13] “Two bodies found in Charsadda,” Dawn, April 11, 2013. Available at
[14] “At least 15 militants killed in Khyber’s Tirah valley,” Dawn, April 11, 2013. Available at
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