Pakistan Security Brief
Pakistan Security Brief – July 21, 2010
President Obama vows to increase cooperation with Pakistan; U.S. Special Operations Forces accompanying Pakistani forces on aid missions; 25 militants killed in Orakzai Agency; 14 people killed in Karachi violence; NATO to strengthen political ties with Pakistan; New York Times examines India-Pak water dispute; Pakistan’s Prime Minister addresses criticism of Afghan Transit Trade Agreement; top Pakistani counter-terrorism official resigns.
In a White House press conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron on Tuesday, President Barack Obama pledged to increase cooperation with Pakistan in the fight against militancy in the region, which he stressed would not be allowed to become a terrorist safe-haven. President Obama also applauded the signing of the Af-Pak Transit Trade Agreement, calling it a “historic agreement to increase economic opportunity for people on both sides of the border.”
According to a Wall Street Journal report, U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF) have begun accompanying Pakistani forces on aid missions throughout the country. Although U.S. forces are permitted to defend themselves, the missions are meant to be humanitarian in nature. U.S. forces have also been instructed to keep a low-profile. "This whole exercise could be counterproductive if people see U.S. boots on the ground,” a Pakistani official said. U.S. military officials say that these joint missions are meant to be trust-bulding exercises with the end goal of encouraging Pakistan's government to increase U.S. SOF's role in the country. 
At least 25 militants were killed on Wednesday in clashes with security forces in Orakzai Agency. According to sources, security forces are stepping up operations in Upper Orakzai’s Dabori and Alikhel regions. One soldier was killed and four others were wounded in Wednesday’s clashes.
Militants destroyed a private school in Pirwalkhel in Darra Adeam Khel on Tuesday. According to local sources, militants placed explosives throughout the building and destroyed it using a remote-controlled detonator. Security forces cordoned off the area and made several arrests in connection with the attack.
At least 14 people were killed in violence across Karachi on Wednesday. According to police sources, 10 people belonging to various political parties were killed by gunmen in areas including Gulistan-e-Johar, Malir, Surjani Town, and Shah Faisal Colony. In separate incidents, two youths were killed in Landhi Awami Colony and Rafa-e-Aam. Police believe the killings were linked to fighting between two political parties, Punjabi-Pashtun Ittehad (PPI) and the Awami National Party (ANP).
At a joint press conference, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Secretary-General of NATO Anders Rasmussen agreed to expand political cooperation in order to bring greater stability to country. The Secretary-General of NATO applauded Pakistan’s efforts in the tribal regions and recent signing of the Afghan Transit Trade Agreement: “It will promote peace and stability in the region and lead to economic development for mutual benefit of all countries of the region.” Gen. Rasmussen added that NATO “will not leave behind a vacuum [in Afghanistan] and create and unstable situation in your neighborhood.” 
A New York Times report on Wednesday examines the ongoing dispute over India’s plans to build a hydroelectric dam that could potentially threaten the water supply to Pakistan’s agriculture industry – one quarter of its economy and employer of half of its population. Water has become a growing source of tension in the region and threatens to derail delicate negotiations between India and Pakistan. Jamaat-u-Dawa, the charity wing Lashkar-e-Taiba, the militant group behind the 2008 Mumbai attacks, has said that it is closely monitoring the water dispute.
Indian Minister for External Affairs S.M. Krishna on Wednesday invited his Pakistani counterpart, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, to visit India in the near future. Talking to reporters, Krishna said that “(Qureshi’s) forthcoming visit will restore talks from where they broke down in Islamabad a couple of days ago.” Krishna also stressed the need for sustainable diplomatic relations and negotiations between the two countries. Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Qureshi mocked the Indian Army’s “theory of hegemony,” warning that Pakistan will respond to any imbalance, nuclear or otherwise, in the region. Addressing a seminar on the topic of India’s Cold-Start Doctrine, Qureshi said that the potential economic consequences of a regional imbalance are unacceptable.
Pakistan’s Prime Minister, Yousaf Raza Gilani, on Tuesday told reporters that the controversial Afghan Transit Trade Agreement (ATTA) is at the moment little more than a “broad-based understanding” awaiting final cabinet approval. In a separate press conference, Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira defended the agreement by reminding critics that “the Letter of Understanding has been signed for one way transit trade facility for Afghan goods up to Wagah border, and not for reverse trade from India.” 
The Director General of Pakistan’s National Counterterrorism Authority (NACTA), Tariq Pervez, resigned on Tuesday, citing personal reasons. The resignation was announced several hours after five militants attacked a military shooting range in Mardan District and amid a bureaucratic struggle over the jurisdiction of NACTA. The government appointed Pervez, a former officer of the Police Service of Pakistan and head of the Federal Investigation Agency, to lead NACTA shortly after its creation in 2009. According to sources, Pervez resigned due to frustration with NACTA’s lack of authority.