Pakistan Security Brief

Suspected French Islamic extremists arrested; CIA has no plans to suspend operations in Pakistan; PM Gilani to visit Afghanistan; Pakistan would not object to Taliban office in Turkey; Kayani inaugurates road project to Afghanistan; LI militant killed by tribesmen; Mehsud elders deny harboring militants; Slow economic progress in Swat may undo security gains; Private school blown up in Khobai; Cleric and student killed in Balochistan; Indian fishermen freed.


Suspected French Islamic Extremists Arrested

  • Two French citizens have been apprehended in Pakistan after meeting with a man accused of possessing connections to al-Qaeda.  The men were arrested in Lahore in January after traveling there with a man identified as Tahir Shehzad. A Pakistani intelligence official said that, “Information from Shehzad led Pakistani agents to Umar Patek, an Indonesian al-Qaida-linked suspect detained on [January] 25. The Frenchmen had intended to travel with Patek to Pakistan's North Waziristan region where [al Qaeda's] top command is based,” allegedly for militant training. However, a French official said “he would be ‘surprised’ if either had links to Patek.” French sources also stated that no more than twenty to thirty French militants are operating in the tribal region of Pakistan. The Associated Press has also released a report on the recent arrest of Umar Patek, viewed as “one of the biggest terror arrests under the Obama.”[i]


U.S.-Pakistani Relations

  • On Thursday, a U.S. official reaffirmed that the CIA has no plans to suspend operations in Pakistan. The official reported that CIA head Leon Panetta "has been clear with his Pakistani counterparts that his fundamental responsibility is to protect the American people, and he will not halt operations that support that objective.”[ii]

Afghan-Pakistani Relations

  • Prime Minister Gilani is set to visit Afghanistan over the weekend for talks with Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Pakistani foreign ministry spokeswoman Tehmina Janjua reported that, "The prime minster will have in-depth discussions with President Karzai on bilateral relations and regional matters. This visit is part of our joint commitment to consult, cooperate and coordinate on all issues of mutual interest and concern.”[iii]
  • On Thursday, a Pakistani official said that Islamabad would support a plan to allow the Taliban to open a political office in Turkey to participate in dialogue to end the war in Afghanistan. The Express Tribune reported that Turkey “is open to allowing the establishment of a diplomatic presence for the Taliban on its soil, but that there is no formal request yet.” The Pakistani official told Reuters, “As Pakistan we have no reservations for such an office to be opened. We are not against it. As long as there’s ownership from the Afghan people and the Afghan government we will not oppose it.” President Zardari, on a state visit to Turkey, declined to comment on the prospect of the office, as did his Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul.[iv]

Road Link to Afghanistan

  • On Thursday, Pakistan army chief General Kayani visited North Waziristan to inaugurate the beginning of a major road project. The fifty-mile road will span from the northwestern town of Bannu to Ghulam Khan on the Afghan border, and cost $48 million (Rs 4 billion) for the Pakistani army to build. A military statement said that, “The project would be completed in 18 months, linking remote areas of North Waziristan to other parts of the country” and “provide a central trade route between Pakistan and Afghanistan.” Kayani additionally announced that “the Army would leave North Waziristan after restoration of peace.” He also praised the Utmanzai tribesmen for assisting in maintaining peace in North Waziristan.[v]



  • The News reports that a Lashkar-e-Islam militant was killed by local tribesmen in the Tirah valley of Khyber Agency on Thursday. A source stated that militants were forcibly recruiting local tribesmen in the Yousaftalab area of Bara sub-district to fight against Zakha Khel tribesmen.” The source said that, “Some local[s] resisted and refused to comply [with] the order of the militants and opened fire on them. As a result, a militant known as Jamshed from [the] Sepha Afridi tribe was killed.”[vi]
  • On Thursday, Mehsud elders in South Waziristan said they have not been harboring militants or suicide bombers in the area. They also reportedly urged the government and security forces to maintain peace and verify intelligence before conducting action in the area, arguing that “cultural norms of the area must be considered while raids were being conducted against suspicious elements in the area.”[vii]



  • Reuters reports that residents of Swat Valley fear that slow economic progress in the area could facilitate a militant return, almost two years after military operations in the area. The report cites Kamran Bokhari, the Middle East and South Asia Director for Stratfor, who stated, “If the military had to withdraw and there were no alternative political structures in place ... then yes, that is an environment in which the militants can actually come back.” Former army general and defense analyst Talat Masood stated that, “the civilian administration must address social and economic development in Swat, or risk creating the same environment of deprivation that encouraged the area to fall to the Taliban in 2007.” Various residents blame the slow economic recovery on government mismanagement, though assistance programs run by NGOs have reportedly assisted Swat residents.[viii]
  • A private school was blown up in the Khobai area of Shabqadar sub-district on Thursday. Improvised explosive devices (IEDs) were planted around the Khobai Educational Academy. A mosque and various houses in the vicinity of the school were damaged in the blast.[ix]



Indian Fisherman Freed


[i] Jamey Keaten and Asif Shahzad, “AP Exclusive: 2 Frenchmen arrested in Pakistan,” Associated Press, April 14, 2011. Available at
[ii] “CIA will not halt operations in Pakistan: official,” AFP, April 15, 2011. Available at
[iii] “Pakistan PM to hold talks with Afghan leader,” AFP, April 14, 2011. Available at
[iv] “Pakistan would back Taliban office in Turkey: Official,” Express Tribune, April 14, 2011. Available at
[v] “Pakistan army to build road link to Afghanistan,” Dawn, April 14, 2011. Available at
[vi] “Locals kill LI man in Tirah,” The News, April 15, 2011. Available at
[vii] “Mahsuds not harbouring militants, bombers: elders,” The News, April 15, 2011. Available at
[viii] Rebecca Conway, “Slow government development threatens Swat military,” Reuters, April 15, 2011. Available at
[ix] “Private school blown up in Shabqadar,” Dawn, April 14, 2011. Available at
[x] Saleem Shahid, “Cleric, student killed in Quetta,” Dawn, April 14, 2011. Available at
[xi] “Pakistan frees 89 Indian fishermen: Officials,” Express Tribune, April 14, 2011. Available at
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