Pakistan Security Brief
Pakistan Security Brief – April 13, 2010
Drone strike kills 13 militants in North Waziristan; one soldier and 15 militants killed in South Waziristan; military and locals have conflicting stories about Khyber airstrike; US trainers working with Frontier Corps in FATA; civilians fleeing violence in Orakzai; protests over NWFP name change continue; NATO container attacked in Balochistan; explosion takes place near school in Islamabad; fourth suspect in failed NYC attack arrested in Pakistan; Pakistani Prime Minister says bin Laden is not in Pakistan; report says Pakistan’s nuclear stockpile is the world’s least secure; Pakistan plans to increase production of nuclear weapons-grade fuel.
- A drone strike in North Warizistan killed thirteen militants on Monday. The attack targeted a compound in Boya, North Waziristan, owned by Hafiz Gul Bahadur-affiliated Taliban commander Tariq Khan. The strike ends a lull in drone activity over Pakistan for the past couple of weeks.
- A soldier and fifteen militants were killed in South Waziristan on Monday after militants launched an attack on security forces in the Jandola Sector.
- In a rare move on Tuesday, a government official confirmed up to 73 civilian casualties caused by an airstrike in Khyber on Saturday. He said that the government had already given out the equivalent of $125,000 to victims’ families. However, Army spokesman Major General Athar Abbas denied any civilian deaths in a statement on Monday. Locals claim that there are no militants in the area and that a second airstrike after the initial attack killed civilians removing bodies from the rubble. According to military officials, the airstrikes were targeting militants hiding in fortified bunkers based on confirmed intelligence on the ground, there were no civilian deaths, and 35 militants were killed.
- U.S. Special Ops trainers are playing an expanded, behind-the-scenes role in Pakistan’s counterinsurgency strategy. U.S. trainers are working with the Frontier Corps to help “hold and build” areas of FATA, as well as, win over the “hearts and minds” of locals.
- According to the UN, over 200,000 Pakistanis have fled their homes in Orakzai Agency in response to military operations against militants in the agency. Of the 1.3 million displaced persons in Pakistan, 125,000 are living in camps. UN aid agencies have received only about 20% of the $537 million in requested funds for people affected by fighting in northwest Pakistan.
Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (formerly NWFP)
- Protests against the North West Frontier Province’s new name, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, continue in Abbotabad and Mansehra as a three day mourning period commenced for the seven protesters who were killed by police on Monday.
- On Monday, two civilians were injured in a remote control bomb attack near the Mangochar Tehsil in the Kalat district of Balochistan on a container carrying goods destined for NATO troops in Afghanistan.
- On Tuesday an explosion took place outside the American School in Islamabad. No casualties were reported.
- A fourth suspect in a foiled September 2009 suicide attack on New York City subways was arrested in Pakistan, officials announced on Monday. The unnamed suspect is supposed to have been working with Najibullah Zazi and two others, who have already been arrested. The suspect is expected to be extradited to the United States.
- Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani said that Osama bin Laden is not in Pakistan in a statement on Monday. PM Gilani said he did not believe bin Laden could have escaped military operations in northwest Pakistan, where the U.S. intelligence community believes al Qaeda’s leader to be.
- A report released by Harvard University's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs stated that Pakistan nuclear stockpiles are the world’s least secure. Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani and Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi both rebutted the report saying that Pakistan’s nuclear weapons were safe and secure. President Obama assured PM Gilani that the U.S. has no intention of harming Pakistan’s nuclear program and expressed confidence in Pakistan’s nuclear security.
- Pakistan plans to expand its production of nuclear weapons-grade fuel. It is currently building two new reactors that will produce weapons-grade plutonium and a plant for salvaging plutonium from old reactor fuel. President Obama has expressed his disappointment that Pakistan is opposing a new treaty that would end production of nuclear material.