Pakistan Security Brief

U.S. drone strike kills top al Qaeda leader in Pakistan; Army Gen. Jack Keane urges President Obama to “target Taliban leaders” in Pakistan; Congressman Dana Rohrabacher says congressional hearing on Balochistan not a “stunt;” U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan says NATO supplies being transported through Pakistan’s airspace; U.S. State Department says Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline is “bad idea;” Pakistan’s High Commissioner to Britain urges UK to condemn U.S. drone strikes; Afghan and Iranian leaders to attend counter-terrorism summit in Pakistan; Pakistani military operation in Kurram agency makes progress; Pakistan’s Supreme Court says prime minister’s appeal is in contempt of court; Prime Minister’s Secretariat hushes up anthrax investigation; Fewer foreign fighters joining Afghan-Pakistan jihad.


U.S.-Pakistan Relations

  • On Thursday, a U.S. drone strike targeted a compound in Miram Shah, North Waziristan, killing five militants, including senior militant commander Badar Mansoor. According to a Pakistani intelligence official, Mansoor ran a militant training camp in North Waziristan and sent militants into Afghanistan to fight. Mansoor was the “de facto leader of [al Qaeda] in Pakistan,” and “his death is a major blow to Al-Qaeda’s abilities to strike in Pakistan,” said the official.  A Western counter-terrorism expert said Mansoor was one of the U.S.’s main targets in Pakistan, because he served as the link between the Pakistani Taliban and the al Qaeda leadership in Pakistan. He was also responsible for attacks in Karachi and one on the minority Ahmadi community in Lahore, in which nearly 100 people were killed. The strike was the second U.S. drone attack in the past two days.[1]

  • Army Gen. Jack Keane, longtime adviser to U.S. commanders in Afghanistan, urged President Obama to “change strategy and target Taliban leaders ensconced in Pakistan” using drones and covert tactics. Gen. Keane recommended that the CIA and NSA “focus spies, communications intercepts and satellites on Taliban commanders inside Pakistan,” and then kill the commanders using Predator drones once they are located. Up to this point, the U.S. has not targeted Taliban leaders in Pakistan, many of which are in Quetta and Peshawar.[2]

  • The U.S. Committee on Foreign Affairs’ Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations convened a congressional hearing about Balochistan on Wednesday. Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, who organized and chaired the hearing, stressed that the hearing was not a “stunt,” but an attempt to learn more about a region of the world that is important to U.S. national security. Witnesses from Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch cited a number of statistics, detailing the many human rights violations, such as disappearances and targeted killings occurring in Balochistan. Several congressmen stressed the need to support the Baloch nationalist movement, while others such as Rohrabacher even suggested breaking ties with Pakistan.[3]

  • On Thursday, U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter told journalists that NATO supplies are still being transported to Afghanistan through Pakistan’s air space, even though Pakistan cut off the ground supply routes after the NATO attack on a check post in November 2011. The U.S. and Pakistan need to continue a dialogue to resolve their issues, said Munter, who hopes that the relations between the two allies will normalize soon.[4]

  • U.S. State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said in a media briefing on Wednesday that the U.S. thinks the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline is a “bad idea,” and Washington is working with the Pakistanis “on other ways to meet their energy needs.”[5]

International Relations

  • Pakistan’s High Commissioner to Britain Wajid Shamsul Hasan told the UK’s Sun on Wednesday that U.S. drone strikes are “war crimes” that are “little more than state executions.” Hasan warned that Pakistan “has the means” to retaliate if necessary, and he urged Britain’s prime minister to condemn the strikes and help stop the killing of civilians. He said the U.S. needs to realize that the strikes are counter-productive, since “there is so much animosity” that Americans are probably “the most hated people in the minds of the people in Pakistan.” The high commissioner also added that Pakistan would side with Iran if “aggressive” Israel attacks it, because it “wouldn’t like to be seen as part of Israel’s campaign against any country.”[6]

  • Pakistan’s foreign ministry announced on Thursday that a two-day counter-terrorism summit will be held on February 16 and 17 in Islamabad. Both Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will attend the event. Pakistan’s foreign ministry spokesperson Abdul Basit stated that the trilateral summit will highlight regional issues including counter-terrorism, organized crimes, and drug trafficking.[7]

  • On Wednesday, Chairman of the Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan Javed Agha said that the currency fluctuations resulting from sanctions on Iran has put an increased strain on trade. Agha stated that the association is having problems opening lines of credit through agents in Dubai as it has traditionally done. On Tuesday Indian exporters said that “Iranian buyers had defaulted on $144 million in payments for rice imports.” Pakistani government officials also remarked that Iranian importers are having a difficult time settling payments for “critical imports.”[8]


  • On Wednesday, the Pakistan Army said that it has made major progress in Operation Azmari Ghero, the ongoing military operation in Kurram agency launched in November 2011. Chief of Army Staff Gen. Ashfaq Pervez Kayani recently visited the troops in Kurram and received a progress update. Sixty-nine soldiers and about 160 militants have been killed in one of the most intense operations carried out recently. Although the militants still have control of some areas towards the Tirah valley, the army has managed to sever an important militant supply route between the valley and North Waziristan, said an officer.[9]

  • According to U.S. and European security officials, fewer foreign fighters are joining the Afghan-Pakistan jihad in the wake of Osama bin Laden’s death. Several experts, including Frank Cilluffo of the Homeland Security Policy Institute, attribute the decrease in numbers to the success of U.S. drone attacks and a lack of available funds and resources. According to Hafiz Hanif, an Afghan who trained in northwest Pakistan, “the number of foreign fighters there was dwindling…when new people came they brought new blood, enthusiasm and money. All that has been lost. Now leaders seem to spend all their time moving from one place to another for their safety.”[10]

  • A grenade attack killed four people in Quetta on Wednesday when two assailants on motorcycles threw a grenade at a car with four people inside.[11]

  • Unidentified gunmen kidnapped a driver of a trailer in the Dhadar area of Bolan district, Balochistan on Wednesday.[12]

  • Geo News reported an explosion near Airport Security Force (ASF) headquarters at Karachi’s Jinnah Airport on Thursday.[13]

Domestic Politics

  • On Thursday, Pakistan’s Supreme Court heard Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani’s appeal to the court’s charges of contempt.  Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry stated that “the appeal itself was in contempt of the court,” and the court directed Gilani’s counsel, Aitzaz Ahsan, to remove certain “objectionable” paragraphs from it. The chief justice added that the charges against Gilani would be dropped if he agreed to send a letter to Swiss authorities requesting that the money laundering case against President Asif Zardari be reopened. The court adjourned the hearing until Friday, giving Gilani’s attorney until 10:30 a.m. to complete his arguments.[14]

  • The issues of rights violations and forced disappearances in Balochistan were discussed in Parliament on Tuesday, with “senators walking out and the government admitting the precarious situation in the province.” In the Upper House, all PPP senators walked out of the session during a heated debate over the “deteriorating situation in Balochistan.”[15]

  • On Thursday, Pakistan’s Supreme Court postponed the public hearing involving the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) until Friday. The court has ordered the ISI to “produce seven men it's accused of holding since 2010 and [explain] the deaths of four other detainees.” The hearing was delayed because the court’s earlier scheduled proceedings took longer than expected.[16]

  • According to Dawn, the Prime Minister’s Secretariat directed the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to “hush up” the October 18 case, in which a package containing anthrax was sent to the prime minister’s residence.  A senior officer with the capital police reported that his agency “had been asked to keep away from the investigation.” The Prime Minister’s Secretariat stated that the investigation is closed, and that the sender of the anthrax package was discovered to be an associate professor at Sindh University, Jamshoro.[17]

  • On Thursday, the “memogate” commission directed the Attorney General to “once again write to Research in Motion (RIM) for releasing Blackberry data,” and ordered the foreign ministry to “present details regarding any existing agreement between Pakistan and Canada” regarding the exchange of information. Mansoor Ijaz, Pakistani-American businessman and central player in the memogate scandal, has requested that the memogate commission dismiss former Pakistani ambassador to the U.S. Husain Haqqani’s application to close his right of evidence.[18]

[1] Jibran Ahmad, “U.S. drone strike kills senior militant in Pakistan: officials,” Reuters, February 9, 2012. Available at
Emmanuel Giroud, “Pakistan Al-Qaeda chief ‘killed by US drone,’” AFP, February 9, 2012. Available at
[2] Rowan Scarborough, “General: ‘Use drones to kill’ the Taliban in Pakistan,” The Washington Times, February 8, 2012. Available at
[3] Anwar Iqbal, “Rights violations shame Pakistanis at Congress hearing,” Dawn, February 9, 2012. Available at
[4] “‘Pakistan’s air space being used for Nato supplies,’” Dawn, February 9, 2012. Available at
[5] Anwar Iqbal, “Iran gas pipeline a bad idea, says US,” Dawn, February 8, 2012. Available at
[6] “Wajid issues chilling warning to US over drones,” The News International, February 9, 2012. Available at
[7] “Pakistan to host counter-terrorism summit involving Afghanistan, Iran,” AFP, February 9, 2012. Available at
[8] “Pakistani traders shy from Iran as sanctions hurt,” Reuters, February 9, 2012. Available at
[9] “Military claims severing militants’ supply route,” Dawn, February 8, 2012. Available at
[10] “Afghan/Pak jihad said to attract fewer foreign fighters,” AFP, February 9, 2012. Available at
[11] “Four injured in Double Road grenade attack,” The Express Tribune, February 9, 2012. Available at
[12] “Man kidnapped from Dhadar,” The News International, February 8, 2012. Available at 
[13] “Karachi: Explosion near ASF headquarter,” Geo News, February 9, 2012. Available at
[15] Ijaz Kakakhel and Tanveer Ahmed, ”Tempers high in NA, Senate over Balochistan issue,” Daily Times, February 9, 2012. Available at\02\09\story_9-2-2012_pg7_1
[17] Munawer Azeem, “Anthrax case hushed up?” Dawn, February 9, 2012. Available at
[18] “Memo Commission directs Attorney General to write to RIM again,” Geo News, February 9, 2012. Available at
Faisal Kamal Pasha, “Mansoor Ijaz seeks dismissal of Haqqani’s application,” The News International, February 9, 2012. Available at
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