Pakistan Security Brief
Pakistan Security Brief – December 8, 2010
Suicide bombing kills 15 at bus station in Kohat; anti-Taliban militia leader vows to remain steadfast following this week’s suicide bombing in Mohmand; leaked diplomatic cables reveal Zardari and Kayani distanced themselves from Musharraf prior to change in power; Rangers conduct large scale search operation in Karachi.
At least 15 people were killed and dozens more were injuredin a suicide bomb attack at a bus station in Kohat on Wednesday. Witnesses said that a teenage suicide bomber blew himself up after approaching the doors of a bus as it was departing the station. Many of the individuals at the bus station, including the passengers of the targeted vehicle, were returning to Orakzai Agency following the military’s operation in the region earlier this year.
An anti-Taliban tribal militia commander from Mohmand pledged his group’s resilience in the wake of Tuesday’s suicide attack that killed at least 40 people, including dozens of anti-Taliban militia members. Dilawar Adezai said his militia, which numbers 1,200 men, “will not let the Taliban re-take control” of the region. Adezai also harshly criticized the government’s lack of support for the militias and said that “the government doesn’t even pay for the bullets [they] fire” while militants and their families receive a wide range of support from the Taliban.
A new report examines the evolution of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) from a domestic militant group with the goal of overthrowing the Uzbek government to becoming a part of the extremist Islamist terrorist movement across South and Central Asia. Pakistani journalist Ahmed Rashid also points out that the IMU has splintered into several distinct groups following the death of its former leader and co-founder, Tahir Yuldashev, in a 2009 drone strike in South Waziristan. Now based in the Waziristan area of Pakistan, the IMU along with many of its affiliated groups have been responsible for several terror attacks across the region. Rashid says it is unclear how splinter groups such as the Islamic Jihad Union and the Taliban of Central Asia were formed but suggested that they could have possibly been organized by al Qaeda “as a means for keeping control of these groups.”
Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani visited schools in North and South Waziristan on Tuesday in order to monitor the progress of government-led projects with the goal of boosting socio-economic conditions in the region. Kayani was joined by Air Chief Marshall Rao Qamar to preside over the inauguration of a school in Makin, South Waziristan and the ground-breaking of another school in Ladha, South Waziristan. Security forces reported rocket fire and brief clashes in Ladha shortly after General Kayani’s departure but no casualties were reported.
Several leaked diplomatic cables from 2008 reveal that both Asif Ali Zardari and Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani were taking measures to distance themselves from then President Pervez Musharraf prior to his resignation. A brief for Admiral Mike Mullen prepared by then-U.S. ambassador Anne Patterson stated that “as expected, Kayani is taking slow but deliberate steps to distance the Army from now civilian President Musharraf.” A separate cable reveals that Zardari, then the majority leader in the National Assembly, had blamed Musharraf for “not taking enough responsibility for the ‘war on terrorism in Pakistan” and advocated for the leader’s “honorable exit,” saying that “anti-U.S. feeling will go away when the old faces go away.”
A cable written by U.S. ambassador Anne Patterson chronicles a May 2008 meeting between U.S. representatives and senior Pakistan leaders. During the meeting President Asif Ali Zardari thanked the U.S. for its support in Pakistan’s parliamentary elections, saying in regard to his party’s victory that “we are here because of you” while at the same time highlighting a common Pakistani concern that the U.S. “will leave us again.” Zardari also commented that U.S. aid to Pakistan had been primarily military in nature and called for more U.S. assistance for social development programs.
In an interview on Tuesday, General David Petraeus praised Pakistan’s efforts in the fight against militancy in the country’s tribal areas. General Petraeus acknowledged Pakistan’s “very impressive counter-insurgency operations” but said that “more clearly needs to be done in the tribal areas of Pakistan to weed out al Qaeda.” General Petraeus also highlighted the need for continued cooperation with Pakistani military leaders and said that he regularly meets with Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani every “45 or 60 days, at the most.”
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani reportedly refused British Prime Minister David Cameron’s offer add Pakistan to his trip to Afghanistan. Gilani was reportedly said that he did not want to be “tagged on” to Cameron’s Afghanistan visit. Relations between Pakistan and the United Kingdom have become strained following a comment made by Cameron while on a trip to India this year in which he said Pakistan “faced both ways on terror.”
- Pakistan Rangers detained hundreds of individuals following a search operation in Karachi on Tuesday. Paramilitary troops cordoned off Kunwari Colony in the Manghopir area of the city began conducting door-to-door sweeps of the neighborhood. While details regarding the operation are still unclear, one source indicated that at least three men belonging to “banned militant groups” were arrested during the searches. A local news report also claims that several members of the TTP hailing from North Waziristan were among those captured in the operation.