Pakistan Security Brief

Colonel Imam reportedly dies of heart attack; U.S. drone strikes in North Waziristan; 10,000 demonstrate in Peshawar; IED explosion in Orakzai; Primary school blown up in Khyber; Zardari to make official visit to U.S.; Report on Eclipse Group; Human Rights Watch report warns of “grave” situation; Polio immunization drive launched; Qadri appears in court; Posner: U.S. concern over extremist elements; Zardari and Gilani: “decisive operation” needed; Former mayor of Hangu injured; Roadside bomb in Peshawar; Gas pipeline attacked in Balochistan.


“Godfather of the Taliban” Dies

  • Retired Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agent Sultan Amir Tarar has died in Waziristan, ten months after being kidnapped by militants. Known as Colonel Imam, the former spy is known for his role in channeling Pakistani support to the Afghans fighting the Soviets in the 1980s, and serving as Pakistan’s point man to the Taliban in recent years. He reportedly died of a heart attack while in captivity under the “Asian Tigers,” a group thought to have an affiliation with the Taliban.[i]



  • Three U.S. drone strikes in North Waziristan on Sunday resulted in thirteen deaths. The first two attacks took place in Datta Khel and the third in Mando Khel. An official in Miram Shah told AFP, “Preliminary reports said all of them were local militants but we are trying to get more information.” Elsewhere in Peshawar, more than 10,000 Islamic party activists demonstrated against the continuing U.S. drone strikes in the tribal region.[ii]

  • Three people were killed in a roadside bomb explosion on Saturday in Orakzai Agency. A local security official said that an improvised explosive device (IED) was detonated in the town of Ibrahimzai, killing two paramilitary soldiers and one civilian. The IED blast, which also injured seven, is believed to have been planted by militants.[iii]

  • A girl’s primary school was blown up by insurgents on Monday in Khyber Agency. Local security officials stated that militants fixed an IED on the outside of the school in Landi Kotal. No casualties have been reported.[iv]


U.S.-Pakistani Relations

  • President Zardari is set to make an official visit to the United States at the end of February, a month after meeting with President Obama while in town for Ambassador Holbrooke’s memorial service. Dawn alleges that President Zardari will request the transfer of drone technology while in meetings with government officials.[v]

  • The New York Times has published a commentary on Duane "Dewey" Clarridge, whose company the Eclipse Group was behind reports on Mullah Omar’s hospitalization last week. Over the past two years, Clarridge has sponsored private agents operating in Pakistan who have been tasked with finding information on the Taliban and militant fighters.[vi]


Human Rights Report

  • A report issued by Human Rights Watch warns of the “grave” situation in Pakistan, drawing attention to violence against minorities, missing persons, and human rights conditions. Of significant concern, the report declares that many militants arrested in operations in the tribal areas have not been prosecuted in courts, alleging military abuse.[vii]

  • President Zardari has commenced an emergency immunization drive on polio, aiming to immunize 32 million children under the age of five. Bill Gates is funding the drive through a $65 million donation by the Gates Foundation. Pakistan is one of just four countries where the disease is still prevalent.[viii]


Governor Taseer’s Assassination and Fallout

  • Malik Mumtaz Hussain Qadri, the man behind the assassination of Punjab governor Salman Taseer, appeared in court on Monday. During his preliminary trial hearing, Qadri confessed to killing the governor without outside assistance, and refuted alleged links between him and any extremist organizations. Qadri will return to court on February 1 for his indictment.[ix]

  • Visiting Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, Michael Posner, told the Daily Times of his concern that extremism is worsening in Pakistan. On the topic of the blasphemy laws, he stated that “any law which is discriminatory or is being used by some people to settle a score with others should be reviewed.” He affirmed that the U.S. is committed to assisting in the fight against extremist elements in Pakistan.[x]


‘Target Killings’ in Karachi

  • President Zardari and Prime Minister Gilani approved a “decisive operation” by the Sindh government against the perpetrators involved in ‘target killings’ in Karachi. Dawn has reported that the President and PM have directed that peace be restored in the city “at all costs.” The judgment was made at a meeting of Pakistan Peoples Party leadership which took place on Friday. The National Assembly is also set to begin debate over the situation in Karachi today.[xi]


Violence in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

  • The former mayor of Hangu, Ameer Afzal, was injured on Sunday when militants attacked the vehicle he was traveling in. Three people were killed in the ambush and four others injured. Following the incident the gunmen fled on motorcycles, but one of them was injured in an exchange of fire with police.[xii]

  • A roadside bomb exploded on Sunday in Peshawar, injuring three policemen and one civilian. The men were examining a body left on the side of the road at the time the IED was detonated. No group has claimed responsibility.[xiii]


Explosion in Balochistan

  • Militants blew up a gas pipeline in Dera Bugti on Monday, though local officials said that the gas supply to Balochistan would not be affected. Levies Force personnel cordoned off the area immediately following the attack and commenced a search operation for the culprits. Railway tracks were also attacked on Sunday, after unknown militants blew up tracks located in Naseerabad. Railway officials said that service would resume within 48 hours.[xiv]


[i] Declan Walsh, “Pakistan’s Godfather of the Taliban dies,” The Guardian, January 23, 2011. Available at
[ii] “Three US drone strikes kill 13 in North Waziristan,” AFP, January 23, 2011. Available at
[iii] “Three killed in Orakzai bomb blast,” Dawn, January 22, 2011. Available at
[iv] “Militants blow up school in Khyber,” Dawn, January 24, 2011. Available at
[v] “Zardari to visit US next month,” Dawn, January 24, 2011. Available at
[vi] Mark Mazzetti, “Former spy with an agenda operates a private C.I.A.,” New York Times, January 22, 2011. Available at
[vii] “Human Rights Watch: Pakistan,” Human Rights Watch, January 24, 2011. Available at
[viii] Declan Walsh, “Pakistan begins assault on polio with vaccinations for 32 million children,” Guardian, January 23, 2011. Available at
[ix] Pakistan governor’s assassination in court hearing,” AFP, January 24, 2011. Available at
[x] US concerned over extremism in Pakistan: Posner,” Daily Times, January 24, 2011. Available at\01\24\story_24-1-2011_pg13_3
[xi] “President, PM approve ‘decisive operation’ in Karachi,” Dawn, January 22, 2011, Available at
[xii] “Gunmen attack former mayor of Hangu,” Dawn, January 23, 2011. Available at
[xiii] “Four injured in roadside blast in Peshawar,” Dawn, January 23, 2011. Available at
[xiv] “Gas pipeline blown up in Dera Bugti,” Dawn, January 24, 2011. Available at
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