Pakistan Security Brief

                                         Pakistan Security Brief: December 13, 2010


National Intelligence Estimates paint bleak security situation in Pakistan; More IDPs return home to South Waziristan; Special Envoy Holbrooke hospitalized in critical condition; militants attack school bus in Peshawar; leaders from Central Asia agree on $7.6-billion TAPI Gas Pipeline project.


New National Intelligence Estimate

  • Two new National Intelligence Estimates (NIE) paint a “bleak picture” of the security situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan.  One of the reports deals with Afghanistan, while the other focuses exclusively on security issues related to militancy in Pakistan.  According to reports, the classified NIE on Pakistan warns that the Pakistani government is unwilling to go after terrorist safe havens inside the country and that their failure to do so allows militants operating in Afghanistan the chance to regroup and stage new attacks.  The NIE also finds that Pakistan’s government pays “lip-service” to U.S. demands, while at the same time allowing its intelligence services to provide support to loyal Taliban groups. The two new intelligence estimates come a week before President Obama is scheduled to assess progress of the Afghan war.   Already a number of senior commanders, speaking off the record, have challenged the validity of these new estimates, calling them “outdated” and not reflective of security gains made during the fall.[1]   



  • The repatriation of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) continues in South Waziristan, with as many as 26 families returning to the tribal agency over the weekend.  Official sources quoted in an article by the Express Tribune, confirm that the return of IPDs to South Waziristan is “gaining momentum” with as many as 300 families returning home in the last month.[2] 


Militant Clashes

  • Nine militants were killed over the weekend in clashes with security forces in the Swat Valley and Mohmand tribal agency. Five of the militants were killed Sunday morning during an operation in upper Swat, while four other militants were killed in a separate clash with security forces near the Afghan border in Mohmand agency.[3] 


US-Pakistan Relations

  • The U.S. Special Envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke, suffered a major arterial tear in his aorta on Friday and remains hospitalized and in critical condition.   Since his appointment in January 2009, Holbrooke has worked to foster cooperation between Kabul and Islamabad in the fight against al-Qaeda and other militant Islamist groups. Pakistani President Zardari and Afghan President Karzai have both phoned Holbrooke’s wife to offer their condolences.[4]

  • On Monday, Pakistan is scheduled to receive the last of a batch of F-16 fighter jets the country bought from the United States.  So far Pakistan has received 12 brand new fighter jets from the U.S, with six remaining F-16s expected to arrive at Shahbaz Airbase later today.[5] 


Pakistan Relations

  • Pakistani President Zardari met over the weekend with leaders from India, Afghanistan, and Turkmenistan to pledge support for the $7.6-billion TAPI Gas Pipeline project.  The TAPI project calls for a 1,000 mile natural gas pipeline that will stretch from natural gas fields in Turkmenistan to processing facilities in the Indian city of Fazilka.  The pipeline will pass through very dangerous portions of Afghanistan and Pakistan, including the province of Kandahar and the city of Quetta.  Despite the security challenges, officials in Washington are reportedly very encouraged by the agreement.[6] 


Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

  • One man was killed and another four people were injured after a bomb stuck a school bus on Monday in Peshawar.  The attack occurred in the Bhana Marri area of the city as children were being ferried home after school from Islamia Model School, a private English-language school in Peshawar.   Today’s attack was the fifth bombing in Pakistan since last Monday.[7] 

  • A truck containing more than 1,000 kilograms of explosives was intercepted by security forces in Kohat on Sunday. The two drivers of the vehicle have been identified by security forces as militants from Orakzai Agency who were, at the time of their capture, transporting the explosives from Nowshera to Orakzai Agency.  Security officials report that the explosive material was of “very high quality” and capable of “wreaking massive destruction.”[8] 

  • Two police officers were shot to death as they were driving to work on Monday.  According to reports, unknown gunmen shot the two men, both of whom were in police uniform, and then successfully fled the scene.  Security officials have blamed today’s attack on Taliban militants. Today’s shooting was the second attack on Peshawar police in last 24 hours.   Yesterday, two police officers were killed by unidentified gunmen on in Peshawar.  Security officials confirm that the two officers were on routine patrol in the Shakas area of the city when gunmen fired on the men from across the border of Khyber tribal agency.[9]  


Muharram Preparations

  • Security officials in Kurram Agency have confirmed that the agency’s border with Afghanistan will be sealed from December 13 to the 20th in order to disrupt militant plots against the agency’s large Shia population.  The agency’s Thall-Parachinar road will also be closed for security reasons, and officials confirm that helicopter gunships and increased medical personnel will be dispatched during Ashura processions.[10]

  • Karachi police have finalized arrangements for Muharram and have notified merchants that commercial centers along procession routes will be closed for three days to maintain security.   Karachi has added 5,700 additional police to patrol the city and an “Emergency Muharram Cell” has been set up to respond to any terrorist incidents.[11]



  • A new report by Human Rights Watch (HRW) warns that militancy is “damaging education and limiting development” in Balochistan.  The HRW assessment has found that between January 2008 and October 2010 as many as 22 teachers have been killed in the province.   The report finds that many teachers are seeking transfer because they are disproportionately targeted by militants who incorrectly view them as “representatives of the Pakistani state and symbols of perceived Punjabi military oppression.”  According to Ali Dayan Hasan, a senior researcher with HRW, “To educate or to seek education in Balochistan today means risking your life and your family’s.”[12]


[1] Kimberly Dozier and Anna Gearan, "Bleak Afghan and Pakistan intelligence reviews," Associated Press, December 10, 2010.  Available at
[2] “Going home: 26 more families return to SWA, total passes 300,” The Express Tribune, December 13, 2010.  Available at [3] “Nine militants killed in Swat, Mohmand,” The Express Tribune, December 12, 2010.  Available at [4] “US envoy Holbrooke remains in 'critical' condition,” AFP, December 12, 2010.  Available at [5] “Final batch of F-16s arrive,” The Express Tribune, December 13, 2010.  Available at [6] “Afghanistan pledges to secure major pipeline,” Dawn, December 12, 2010.  Available at [7] “Explosion targets school bus in Peshawar,” Dawn, December 13, 2010.  Available at [8] Terrorism bid foiled in Kohat: Over a ton of explosives seized,” The Express Tribune, December 12, 2010.  Available at
[9] “Gunmen kill police brothers,” Express Tribune, December 13, 2010.  Available at  “Gunmen shoot dead two policemen in Peshawar,” The Express Tribune, December 12, 2010.  Available at
[10] “Kurram security for Muharram finalized,” The News, December 13, 2010.  Available at
[11] “Security arrangements for Muharram finalised in Karachi,” Dawn, December 13, 2010.  Available at
[12] “Teachers being killed in Balochistan: HRW,” The Express Tribune, December 13, 2010.  Available at
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