Pakistan Security Brief
Pakistan Security Brief – July 1, 2010
Afghan military officers to train in Pakistan; new militant group born from 2007 Lal Masjid attack; proposed law to ban live coverage of militant attacks in Pakistan; Pakistani soldiers depart for training exercise in China; Pakistan’s Foreign Minister say IAEA permitted to inspect Sino-Pak nuclear deal; Admiral Mike Mullen defends Pakistan’s nuclear program; investigation launched into missing NATO containers; bombing near meeting of Zakhakhel leaders in Khyber Agency.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai has agreed to send a group of Afghan military officers to Pakistan for training, according to Washington Post report published on Thursday. The report also claimed that officials in both countries believe that U.S. efforts are faltering and President Karzai has begun to view Pakistan as a necessary ally in fighting and or negotiating with the Taliban. “This is meant to demonstrate confidence in Pakistan, in the hope of encouraging them to begin a serious consultation and conversation with us on the issue of the Taliban,” Rangin Dadfar Spanta, Karzai's national security adviser, said of the training agreement.
“New” Militant Group
An AP report profiles a terrorist group that Pakistani authorities believe emerged in response to outrage among many Pakistani Muslims over the July 2007 attack by security forces on Lal Masjid, or Red Mosque, a stronghold of Islamist militants. According to sources, the so-called Ghazi Force has already carried out several major bombings in Islamabad previously blamed on the Taliban. The “new” group is believed to be made up of relatives of students killed in the Red Mosque attack. Islamabad’s Inspector General of Police, Kalim Imam, said that the Ghazi Force was behind most the deadliest attacks in the capital in the last three years.
Ban on Coverage of Militant Attacks
A new law, if approved by Pakistan’s National Assembly, would ban live coverage of militant attacks and restrict coverage of "anything defamatory against the organs of the state". The new law would prohibit the media from broadcasting video footage of suicide bombers, bodies of victims of terror attacks, statements from Islamist militants, and any acts "which promote, aid or abet terrorist or terrorism." Critics, however, say that this new law could be used to curtail media freedom.
A Pakistani army contingent left for China on Thursday to participate in a joint counter-terrorism exercise, a military spokesperson said. According to an Inter Services Public Relations press release, the weeklong exercise will be conducted from July 1 to 7 at Qixtonxia, Yeuhuan, China. Senior military leaders from both countries will join the exercise, dubbed Friendship, to observe the counter-terrorism drills and simulations.
Speaking to reporters in Multan on Thursday, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said the International Atomic Energy Agency will be permitted to inspect the nuclear deal between Pakistan and China. Qureshi further said that the nuclear deal is intended to alleviate Pakistan’s energy crisis and stabilize the economy.
U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman, Admiral Mike Mullen, said on Tuesday at the Aspen Security Forum that Pakistan’s leadership takes “extraordinary efforts” to protect their “crown jewels,” or nuclear weapons. Admiral Mullen also defended Pakistan’s efforts to secure it nuclear arsenal and noted that Pakistan’s program is aimed at deterring a perceived threat from India, while those of Iran and North Korea are meant for destabilization.
Missing NATO Vehicles
Pakistan’s Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has launched an investigation into the disappearance of 40 NATO containers destined for International Security Assistance Forces (ISAF) in Afghanistan. At a news conference on Wednesday, FBR’s Chairman, Sohail Ahmad, said that the transportation contract was given to Luner Products based in Afghanistan. Mr. Ahmad said three employees of the company have been arrested and an investigation has been launched based on the information obtained from their interrogations.
No casualties were reported from a bombing on Wednesday near a convention of Zakhakhel leaders in Tirah Valley in Khyber Agency, local sources said. The meeting was convened to devise a joint strategy to cast out and ban entry to militants taking refuge in areas controlled by the Zakhakhel Afridi tribe. Sources said that security forces believe Taliban militants are launching attacks in Orakzai Agency fromTirah Valley.