Pakistan Security Brief

Pakistani army kills key al Qaeda leader, two others in North Waziristan; Drone strike kills senior al Qaeda leader, five others in North Waziristan; Terror-linked Islamabad girls’ madrassa expresses support for IS; Drone strike kills nine Pakistani Taliban militants in Afghanistan’s Kunar province; Pakistani airstrikes rumored to have killed Hafiz Gul Bahadur, 29 others in North Waziristan; U.S. forces repatriate key TTP commander from Afghanistan to Pakistan; IED kills soldier in North Waziristan; 12 militants killed in retaliatory attack by security forces in Khyber Agency; 400 militants have surrendered in Khyber, claims Pakistan army; Militant arrested in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa; JuD chief calls on mujahideen to liberate Kashmir from Indian rule, Twitter suspends his account;  Police arrest TTP militant, recover explosives in Islamabad; Army chief visits headquarters, reviews future phases of military operations; Pakistan refutes Indian allegations of Pakistani involvement in terror attacks in Indian-administered Kashmir; U.S. Secretary of State lauds progress in Pak-Afghan relations; U.S. Defense Secretary declares new plans for U.S. drawdown in Afghanistan; Jirga of elders from Pakistan, Afghanistan meets in Bajaur Agency; Kashmiri separatists call for strike ahead of Indian Prime Minister’s visit in Srinagar; Army approves phased repatriation of IDPs to North Waziristan; One PTI worker killed in clashes with PML-N workers in Faisalabad; IMF approves last loan tranche, claims Parliamentary Secretary for Finance.

Al Qaeda Leadership Deaths

  • On December 6, the Pakistan Army reportedly killed three al Qaeda militants, including al Qaeda global operations chief Adnan el Shukrijuma, his accomplice and local facilitator, in a raid in the Shin Warsak region of South Waziristan Agency. According to a statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), Shukrijuma had fled from North Waziristan due to the ongoing military offensive, Operation Zarb-e-Azb. A soldier was also reportedly killed and another injured in the raid. Shukrijuma, a naturalized American citizen born in Saudi Arabia, was among the five men charged with plotting an attack on the New York subway system in 2010.[1]

  • On December 7, a U.S. drone strike killed a senior al Qaeda leader identified as Umer Farooq alias Umer Ustad and Ustad Farooq, in addition to five other militants reportedly belonging to the Hafiz Gul Bahadur group, in the Khar Tangi area of Datta Khel sub-district in North Waziristan. Three other militants were also wounded in the drone strike. Farooq was reportedly the operational in-charge of al Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan since 2012 as well as the chief financial officer of al Qaeda in the region. Meanwhile, military sources denied that there was a drone strike inside Pakistani territory and declared that the media reports were not true.[2]

Islamic State in South Asia

  • According to a December 8 report in The News, the Lal-Masjid-run Jamia Hafsa madrassa for girls in Islamabad has expressed its support for Islamic State and its chief Abu Bakar al Baghdadi through a video which was released by the SITE Intelligence Group. The video reportedly depicts women urging Pakistani militants to join the ranks of Islamic State.[3]

Drone Strikes

  • On December 7, a U.S. drone strike killed nine alleged Pakistani Taliban militants in the village of Shiltan in Shigal district of Afghanistan’s Kunar province. According to Kunar police chief Abdul Habib Syedkhel, a senior Pakistani Taliban commander was among those killed. The militants reportedly belonged to the Swat region of Pakistan.[4] 


  • On December 7, Pakistan military airstrikes reportedly killed at least 30 militants belonging to the Hafiz Gul Bahadur group in the Mra Panga and Masdaq villages of the Datta Khel sub-district in North Waziristan. The airstrikes reportedly targeted Hafiz Gul Bahadur and his deputy Maulvi Sadiq Noor. The dead are reported to include Gul Bahadur, Sadiq Noor and Akhtar Muhammad, along with several other key commanders of the group. Military officials have not yet officially ascertained the identities of the dead militants.[5]  

  • According to a December 7 BBC report, the U.S. military confirmed that it “transferred custody” of three Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militants to Pakistan from its Bagram airbase in Afghanistan. According to Pakistani officials, senior TTP commander Latif Mehsud, his two guards and a broker were handed over by U.S. officials to Pakistani authorities. The other two militants have been identified only as Jafar and Aziz. Mehsud was the second-in-command to the the late TTP chief Hakimullah Mehsud. Latif Mehsud was captured by U.S. forces in eastern Afghanistan in October 2013. Meanwhile, Afghan presidential spokesperson, Nazeefullah Salarzai claimed that Mehsud was in the custody of the Afghan government and that the government was unaware of this handover. [6]

  • On December 7, an improvised explosive device (IED) killed one soldier and injured another in the Datta Khel area of North Waziristan. [7]

  • According to a December 8 report in The News, Lashkar-e-Islam and TTP militants attacked a security forces’ bunker in the Aka Khel area of the Tirah Valley in Khyber Agency. Twelve militants and four soldiers were killed in the encounter, while four other soldiers were injured.[8]

  • On December 6, Director-General ISPR, Maj. Gen. Asim Bajwa declared that more than 400 militants have surrendered so far as a result of the military operation in Khyber Agency.[9] 

  • On December 6, police forces reportedly arrested seven suspected criminals, including one militant, during a search operation in the Bargai, Takhtikhel and Walai areas of Lakki Marwat in Khyber- Pakhtunkhwa. Police forces also seized a hand grenade, a wireless set and ammunition from the suspected militant. [10]

  • On December 5, Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed asserted that Pakistani Mujahideen had a right to enter Indian-administered Kashmir to help liberate “oppressed” Kashmiris from Indian rule. Saeed also urged Islamic State militants to target Israel instead of targeting Muslim brothers in Syria and Iraq. Saeed made these remarks at the concluding session of a two-day JuD convention at the Minar-e-Pakistan monument in Lahore. JuD is banned by the U.S., the European Union, India and Russia as a terrorist organization affiliated with the militant Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT). On December 8, Twitter suspended the account of Hafiz Saeed. No official explanation was given by Twitter for the account suspension.[11]

  • On December 6, police arrested a suspected TTP militant in Islamabad and recovered large quantities of explosives, detonators and wires from his bag. The militant, Mukamal Khan, was a resident of Waziristan and had also spent time in Afghanistan.[12]  


  • On December 6, army chief Gen. Raheel Sharif visited the corps headquarters in Peshawar and reviewed the progress made in Operations Zarb-e-Azb and Khyber I. Gen. Sharif was also briefed about the next phase of these operations and the strategy being prepared for repatriating people displaced from North Waziristan. Gen. Sharif reportedly expressed satisfaction regarding the military operations and applauded the army’s sacrifices.[13]

  • On December 7, China’s State Councilor and Minister for Public Security Guo Shengekun met army chief Gen. Raheel Sharif and discussed issues of mutual interest, regional security and measures to enhance bilateral security and defense cooperation. The Chinese officials reportedly appreciated Pakistan’s fight against terrorism and successes achieved during the ongoing military operation in North Waziristan.[14]

  • On December 8, Pakistani and U.S. officials are expected to hold the 23rd meeting of the U.S.-Pakistan Defense Consultative Group in Washington D.C. The Pakistani delegation is headed by Secretary of Defense, Retd. Lt. Gen. Alam Khattak. The talks will reportedly focus on the post-2014 U.S. military strategy for the Afghan-Pak region and Pakistan’s fight against terrorism.[15]

Foreign Affairs

  • On December 8, Pakistani foreign office spokesperson Tasneem Aslam rejected Indian allegations that Pakistan was involved in recent attacks by militants in Indian-administered Kashmir. Aslam asserted that the allegations were an effort to malign Pakistan. Aslam further alleged that violence in Indian-administered Kashmir was a result of decades of repressive Indian policies. On December 7, the top army commander in Indian-administered Kashmir, Lt. Gen. Subrata Saha, declared that the attacks bore an “unambiguous clear link to Pakistan” and that it was not possible for non-state actors in Pakistan to operate without help from the official establishment. Furthermore, reacting to JuD chief Hafiz Saeed’s two-day convention in Lahore, Indian Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin declared that the provision of facilities to a designated terror entity by the Pakistani government was “nothing short of mainstreaming terrorism.”  Aslam also rejected what she termed “baseless allegations” about the “mainstreaming of terrorism.”[16]

  • On December 5, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry lauded the efforts of the new Afghan government in combatting money laundering and corruption, improving the country’s fiscal situation and fostering better relations with its neighbors, most importantly Pakistan. Secretary Kerry also said that an agreement signed between Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan on December 3 would supply much needed electricity from Central to South Asia.[17]

  • On December 6, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel visited Afghanistan and declared that the U.S. will delay the withdrawal of up to 1,000 troops from Afghanistan. Hagel added that U.S. forces in Afghanistan would fall only to 10,800 troops at the start of 2015 rather than 9,800 as originally planned. Hagel also expressed confidence in the ability of Afghan forces to defend Kabul from Taliban strikes.[18]

  • On December 6, a grand jirga of elders of the Mamund tribe from Pakistan’s Bajaur Agency and Afghanistan’s Kunar province was held in the border town of Tarkhoo in Bajaur Agency. The jirga was aimed at restoring relations between tribesmen affected by militancy on both sides of the border. The jirga reportedly discussed the law and order situation and a future course of action to maintain peace along the Pak-Afghan border. The elders also reached an understanding on devising a strategy to curb the movement of militants in the tribal regions.[19]

Indian-administered Kashmir

  • On December 8, Kashmiri separatists in Indian-administered Kashmir called for a strike ahead of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s campaign rally address in Srinagar, the region’s capital. This is Prime Minister Modi’s third visit to the region in a month. A daytime curfew was also imposed in some parts of Srinagar with police and paramilitary soldiers patrolling in armored vehicles. The third phase of voting for assembly elections in Indian-administered Kashmir begins on December 9.[20]

Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs)

  • According to a December 8 Express Tribune report, the army has given its approval to civilian authorities to start the phased repatriation of over one million internally displaced persons (IDPs) to North Waziristan. According to current planning by the army, IDPs will be allowed to return to areas which have been cleared of militants. The repatriation of IDPs is considered a sign of the near completion of Operation Zarb-e-Azb. The military, however, has not provided a time frame for the completion of the operation for “strategic reasons.”[21]

Domestic Politics

  • On December 8, violent clashes erupted between Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) workers and Pakistan Muslim League- Nawaz (PML-N) workers ahead of a scheduled PTI-led strike in Faisalabad. One PTI worker was killed and four others were injured during the clashes. The PTI’s leadership subsequently decided to suspend talks with the government.[22]


  • On December 5, Parliamentary Secretary for Finance, Rana Muhammad Afzal Khan, announced in the National Assembly that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) had approved the last loan tranche of $1.1 billion to Pakistan under the $6.6 billion loan program.[23]

[1]“Top al Qaeda leader killed in South Waziristan: ISPR,” Dawn, December 6, 2014. Available at
[2]“Air assault: Al Qaeda man among six killed in drone hit,” December 8, 2014. Available at
“Al Qaeda leader Umar Farooq killed in N Waziristan drone strike,” Dawn, December 8, 2014. Available at
[3]“Capital’s Jamia Hafsa declares support for Islamic State,” December 8, 2014. Available at
[4]“Al Qaeda leader Umar Farooq Killed in N Waziristan drone strike,” Dawn, December 8, 2014. Available at
“Nine Pakistani militants killed in Kunar drone hit,” December 7, 2014. Available at
[5]“30 killed as jets target Gul Bahadur,” The News, December 8, 2014. Available at
“Key commanders of Gul Bahadur group killed in Datakhel strikes: reports,” Dawn, December 8, 2014. Available at
[6]“Pakistan Taliban chief Latif Mehsud ‘repatriated’,” BBC, December 7, 2014. Available at
“Key Taliban commander, three others handed over to Pakistan: sources,” December 7, 2014. Available at
“US hands over senior Taliban leader, Latifullah Mehsud, detained in Afghanistan to Pakistan,” December 7, 2014. Available at
[7]“Air assault: Al Qaeda man among six killed in drone hit,” December 8, 2014. Available at
[8]“30 killed as jets target Gul Bahadur,” The News, December 8, 2014. Available at
[9]“Over 400 terrorists surrendered in Khyber Agency: ISPR,” December 6, 2014. Available at
[10]“Militant among seven held in Lakki,” December 7, 2014. Available at
[11]JuD call to arms to help Kashmiris,” December 6, 2014. Available at
“JuD chief Hafiz Saeed’s Twitter account suspended,” Dawn, December 8, 2014. Available at
[12]“Crime report: Police nab suspected terrorist over weekend,” Express Tribune, December 7, 2014. Available at
[13]“Army chief receives briefing on military operations,” December 7, 2014. Available at
[14]“China lauds successes achieved in Zarb-e-Azb operation,” Dawn, December 8, 2014. Available at
[15]“Pakistan-US talks on defence resume today,” Dawn, December 8, 2014. Available at
[16]“FO rejects Indian allegations implicating Pakistan in held Kashmir attacks,” Dawn, December 8, 2014. Available at
“Jammu and Kashmir Terror Attacks: ‘Unambiguous Pakistan hand,” Says Army,” NDTV, December 7, 2014. Available at
“Pakistan terms accusations of involvement in Indian Kashmir attacks ‘baseless’,” Express Tribune, December 8, 2014. Available at
[17]“US praises improvement in Pak-Afghan ties,” December 5, 2014. Available at
[18]“US confirms plans to delay Afghan withdrawal,” The News, December 7, 2014. Available at
[19]“Elders from Kunar, Bajaur meet for peace,” December 6, 2014. Available at
[20]“Kashmir region on lockdown for Modi visit,” Dawn, December 8, 2014. Available at
[21]“Winding up the offensive: Army gives nod for return of IDPs to N Waziristan,” December 8, 2014. Available at
[22]“PTI calls off talks with PML-N government,” Dawn, December 8, 2014. Available at
“Pakistan Clashes Leave at Least One Dead,” WSJ, December 8, 2014. Available at
[23]“IMF approves last tranche for Pakistan: NA told,” The News, December 6, 2014. Available at


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