Pakistan Security Brief
Pakistan Security Brief: December 9, 2010
North Waziristan tribesmen protest U.S. drone campaign; Swat Taliban reportedly regrouping in Mohmand Agency; Taliban claim responsibly for Kohat suicide blast.; British authorities hold suspects in Imran Farooq’s murder.
Dozens of tribesmen from North Waziristan staged a silent protest in Islamabad today to oppose the United States drone campaign in Pakistan’s tribal areas. Witnesses report that the tribesmen identified themselves as the relatives of civilians who had been killed or wounded by U.S. drone strikes. According to the Associated Press, many of the protesters carried anti-American signs and threatened to sue the U.S. for millions of dollars in compensation.
A new report warns that Taliban militants ousted from the Swat Valley are regrouping in Mohmand tribal agency under a new leader. The Express Tribune reports that a militant named Qari Abdul Jabbar may have taken over the leadership of the Swat Taliban from Mullah Fazlullah and that his cadre of 300-400 fighters is currently planning a renewed campaign of guerrilla warfare for next spring. Asked about the growing Taliban faction in Mohmand, an unnamed Pakistani intelligence official affirmed, “It is not worrying at the moment…But it can be another headache for Pakistani anti-terror agencies if it keeps on getting bigger.”
The government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Wednesday approved a new security plan to protect “sensitive” districts during Muharram. The new plan gives Pakistani government officials the authority to call in army personnel and helicopter gunships in order to “maintain law and order.” The sensitive districts subject to the security plan include Peshawar, Dera Ismail Khan, Hangu, Kohat, Haripur, Mansehra, Abbottabad, Nowshera, Mardan, Bannu, Lakki Marwat and Tank.
A spokesman for a Taliban faction in Darra Adam Khel phoned local reporters to claim responsibility for yesterday’s suicide blast that killed 15 people in Kohat. According to the spokesman, who identified himself as Usman Ali, the Taliban targeted the bus because it was being used by Shias from Orakzai and warned that, “more such attacks would follow.” The bus was taking internally displaced people from Orakzai back to the agency following the conclusion of military operations against the TTP in parts of the agency.
A new report soon to be released by the Campaign for Innocent Victims in Conflict (CIVIC)¸claims that Pakistani authorities are overlooking the issue of civilian casualties and that their oversight is costing them credibility among citizens. The CIVIC report details that more civilians were killed in Pakistan during 2009 than in neighboring Afghanistan and alleges that the Pakistani military has used disproportionate force in the fight against Islamic extremists. According excerpts from the report, “Pakistani military operations, particularly artillery shelling and airpower, cause significant civilian losses” where “for two or three militants [the military] crushes the whole village.” The CIVIC study also cautions that while the Taliban play a significant role in causing civilian causalities, most citizens “placed the blame squarely on the Pakistani and US militaries.”
Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Mohammad Aslam Raisani told reporters on Wednesday that the Taliban were in Balochistan but insisted that they were “peaceful” and only in the province to get a religious education. The Chief Minister also informed reporters that because the Taliban in Balochistan are not terrorists, he sees no reason for the United States to carry out special operations forces raids or drone strikes in the province. Separately, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi al-Alami claimed responsibility for Monday’s attempted assassination of Chief Minister Raisani.