Pakistan Security Brief
Pakistan Security Brief - December 20, 2010
CIA’s Islamabad station chief pulled out of the country after being named in a Pakistani lawsuit; two NATO tankers torched in Khyber; Chinese delegation strengthens political, economic ties with Pakistan.
CIA Station Chief
- The CIA quickly withdrew its Islamabad station chief from Pakistan on Friday after his identity was revealed in a lawsuit that alleges U.S. responsibility for the wrongful death of civilians as part of its drone operations in the FATA. The station chief had reportedly received death threats from terrorist groups as a result of the lawsuit. The lawyer representing the lawsuit, Shahzad Akbar, said he had received the station chief’s name from local journalists. On Saturday, a spokesman for Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) denied accusations made by U.S. officials that the ISI had intentionally exposed the name of the CIA station chief in retaliation for U.S. lawsuits filed last month which named ISI chief Lieutenant General Ahmed Shuja Pasha in connection with the 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai.
According to Pakistani officials, the death toll from Friday’s drone strikes in Khyber Agency has risen to a total of at least 54 people killed. The first strike targeted two vehicles carrying Taliban militants in the Tirah Valley while two more strikes hit compounds believed to belong to the extremist group Lashkar-e-Islam. A Lashkar-e-Islam commander also told media sources that Ibne Amin, an important al Qaeda-linked Swat Taliban commander and close lieutenant of Maulana Fazullah, was among those killed in the strikes.
Two NATO oil tankers were destroyed during a militant attack in Khyber Agency on Monday. Suspected Taliban fighters armed with rockets and assault rifles opened fire on a four vehicle convoy as it was traveling in the Jamrud area. A driver and his assistant were also reported wounded in the attack.
Security forces arrested at least 25 suspected militants during search operations in the Landi Kotal area of Khyber Agency on Saturday. The searches reportedly took place in areas near the Torkham border crossing between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Officials said the suspects have been shifted to an undisclosed location for further investigation.
- Nine people were killed in a mortar attack in Hangu district on Friday in what police have called a “sectarian attack.” Militants from neighboring Orakzai Agency fired four mortar rounds into a town infamous for its sectarian clashes as Shia Muslims celebrated the holy day of Ashura. Elsewhere, police in Sindh province shot and killed an attempted suicide bomber who was trying to enter a Shia rally in Shikarpur district. Three policemen were wounded when the suicide bomber blew himself up while trying to escape.
- Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao gave an address before a joint session of Pakistan’s National Assembly on Sunday in which he praised the country’s “important contributions” to the global war on terror. The speech came at the end of a three-day Chinese delegation which resulted in several bilateral agreements between the two countries which are expected to bring as much as $30 billion dollars worth of direct investment into Pakistan over the next five years. On Saturday, Chinese officials also announced a $10 million grant for the relief of flood victims in addition to a $400 million loan for flood recovery and reconstruction.
- Vice President Joe Biden warned in an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday that al Qaeda is trying to “bring down the Pakistani government.” Mr. Biden further said that the “overarching goal” of U.S. counter-terror efforts in the region is to “dismantle [and] ultimately defeat al Qaeda” and to also ensure that extremist groups do not threaten the stability of the Pakistani state, a nuclear power. The vice president also claimed that U.S. actions against al Qaeda have “significantly degraded a lot of the main planners and organizers and trainers,” pointing out that while there is still work to be done the U.S. is in “much better shape than [it was] a year ago.”