Pakistan Security Brief
Pakistan Security Brief: December 14, 2010
Ambassador Richard Holbrooke dead at age 69; Four militants killed in U.S. drone strike in North Waziristan; Gunmen kill three people at Sufi Shrine in Peshawar; Militants ambush Frontier Corps soldiers in Mohmand; Maulana Fazlur Rehman announces JUM-F defection to opposition party.
The Passing of Ambassador Holbrooke
Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, the Special U.S. Envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, passed away on Monday night at age 69. Ambassador Holbrooke was charged with fostering cooperation between Kabul and Islamabad and over the last two years he worked “tirelessly…to reorganize diplomatic structures, overhaul U.S. reconstruction programs and press the Afghan government to do more to tackle corruption and provide essential public services.” In the words of President Obama, Ambassador Holbrooke was, “a true giant of American foreign policy,” serving under four democratic Presidents and accumulating more than forty years experience. Holbrooke’s passing comes one week before President Obama is scheduled to undertake a strategic review of the Afghan war effort. According to family members, Ambassador Holbrooke’s final words to his Pakistani surgeon were, “You've got to stop this war in Afghanistan.”
Four militants were killed on Tuesday in a U.S. drone strike in North Waziristan. According to Pakistani security officials, the strike occurred in Spalga village in Miram Shah sub-district of the tribal agency. Drone aircraft fired two hellfire missiles at a vehicle that was transporting militants. Security officials are reportedly working to establish the identity of those killed in order to determine if any high value targets were among today’s dead. For a detailed map and more information about militant activity in North Waziristan, please click HERE.
Three people were killed on Monday night when militants attacked a Sufi shrine in Peshawar. The attack occurred at the Ghazi Baba shrine located in the Budhber area of the city. Peshawar police report that at least five gunmen indiscriminately fired on the shrine, killing three caretakers who were at work inside. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, which came just hours after militants denoted a roadside-bomb under a school bus in Peshawar.
An unidentified woman was injured on Tuesday after a remote-control bomb exploded next to her vehicle as she was parked at a police checkpoint in Peshawar. Security officials report that a police van parked in front of the women’s vehicle was the intended target of the attack. The blast occurred on Charsadda road in the Naguman area of the city.
Nine people were wounded when a remotely-detonated bomb went off outside of a CD retailer in Kohat on Tuesday. The store and adjacent buildings were heavily damaged in the incident and police officials have told reporters that unknown militants were responsible for the blast. 
Two Pakistani paramilitary soldiers were killed and another six were wounded on Monday when militants attacked their checkpoint in Mohmand tribal agency. More than 20 heavily armed militants attacked their checkpoint in Shatai village before being repelled. Major Fazal-ur-Rehman, a spokesman for the Frontier Corps, confirmed the incident and told reporters that damage from the attack is still being assessed. 
Maulana Fazal-ur-Rehman, the chief of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam Fazal-ur-Rehman (JUI-F), announced on Tuesday that his party was leaving Pakistan’s ruling coalition government to join the opposition. The JUI-F’s decision to leave the ruling coalition, headed by President Zardari’s Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), came after Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani fired a JUI-F cabinet minister over allegations of corruption. The JUI-F’s decision to realign with Pakistan’s opposition party will leave the U.S.-allied ruling coalition with only a small majority in the country’s National Assembly, giving president Zardari’s government “less leverage to push through key legislation.” 
On Monday, Daniel Toole, UNICEF’s Regional Director for South Asia, warned that winter weather is increasing the threat of disease outbreak among Pakistani children affected by last summer’s floods. Toole told reporters that, “The coming cold months will sharply increase the numbers of respiratory infections and malnutrition, two of the biggest killers of Pakistani children.”