Pakistan Security Brief
General Kayani’s term extended; State Department blacklists Haqqani Network; Mullah Fazlullah video released; video of Times Square bomber with Hakimullah Mehsud emerges; 16 militants killed Orakzai Agency; U.S. warns militant groups could incite war between India and Pakistan; 4 people killed in Karachi violence; Pakistan pleased with performance of Chinese frigates.
General Kayani’s Term Extended
Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on Thursday announced a three year extension in the term of Chief of Army Staff Gen. Ashfaq Kayani, who was due to retire in November of this year. During a televised address on national television, P.M. Gilani said that the country had reached a critical stage and that Kayani’s continued leadership is essential to the country’s fight against militancy. P.M. Gilani also said that the successful military campaigns in Swat, Malakand, and South Waziristan were only possible under the “dynamic” leadership of Gen. Kayani. Although U.S. Admiral Mike Mullen has often praised Kayani for taking “bold steps” against militant along the Af-Pak border, the Obama Administration says it is frustrated by his “failure to disown the Afghan Taliban.” Kayani's extention amounts to a full second term as the Chief of Army Staff. He will now retire in 2013, after both President Zardari and Prime Minister Gilani have completed their current terms in office.
The U.S. Treasury on Thursday blacklisted the Haqqani Network and froze the assets of three key leaders, including Nasiruddin Haqqani, allegedly involved in managing the group’s finances. Nasiruddin is a key leader of the network and brother of Sirajuddin Haqqani, who was blacklisted by the U.S. in March 2008. Some observers in Washington say that the Obama Administration’s decision to target three individuals shows “how it wants the reconciliation in Afghanistan to proves and who it wants excluded from the process.”
The U.S. on Thursday said Pakistan should aggressively investigate the Mumbai attacks and bring those responsible to justice. “There are things, clearly, that Pakistan must do. And certainly, continuing to investigate and bring to justice those who are responsible for the Mumbai attacks is an important element,” a U.S. State Department spokesperson told reporters in Washington.
The U.S. Special Envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan said on Friday that Pakistan is cooperating more in U.S. peace efforts in Afghanistan, but not to the extent sought by Washington. Briefing reporters in Britain after holding meetings with Britain’s Chief of Defense Staff and National Security Advisor, Richard Holbrooke cited several areas of progress, but added, “I don't want to mislead you ... it (cooperation) is not yet where we hope it will be." Holbrooke stressed that the Haqqani Network is a “real problem.”
A newly released 40-minute video obtained by the Associated Foreign Press appears to show Mullah Fazlullah, one of Pakistan’s most wanted militants, firing an AK-47 and addressing a group of suicide bombers. Fazlullah waged a violent two-year campaign to impose Sharia law in Pakistan’s Swat Valley, opposing education for women and beheading political opponents until Islamabad ordered in thousands of soldiers. In the video, Fazlullah blames the government for “promoting vulgarity and obscenity” and for terrorizing the people of Swat. It remains unclear when and where the video was recorded. Meanwhile, the Anti-Terrorism Court in Swat declared 50 suspects, including Fazlullah, as wanted terrorists.
The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Minister for Information, Mian Iftikhar Hussain, claims that a terrorist network has been disrupted and at least 100 suspected militants have been arrested during search operations throughout the province. Addressing a gathering in Regi Model Town on Friday, Hussain said that security forces would complete the operation within five days. Attributing success against terrorism to political developments in Pakistan, Hussain said it was now up to the independent judiciary to prosecute militants.
Times Square Bomber
A newly released video shows the failed Square bomber, Faisal Shazad, meeting the leader of the Pakistan Taliban, Hakimullah Mehsud. U.S. investigators were skeptical of Shahzad’s claims to have met face-to-face with Mehsud. However, Flashpoint Global Partners, a global security and terrorism consultancy, released a previously unpublished video on Thursday of a meeting between Shahzad and Mehsud. In the video, the two are shown shaking hands and hugging. 
Helicopter gunships attacked militant positions in Orakzai Agency on Friday, killing at least 16 suspected militants. The attacks targeted four hideouts in Upper Orakzai’s Ghundakai and Lapti regions. According to sources, militant commander Suleman Mehsood was also killed. On Thursday, at least 39 militants were killed in clashes with security forces in Ghalju.
U.S. officials warned on Thursday that militants groups might push nuclear-armed rivals Pakistan and India into military conflict if operations similar to the 2008 Mumbai attacks were to succeed. The chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, said that the Mumbai attacks demonstrated the “strategic impact” that small militants groups can have on the geopolitical situation in the region. Briefing reporters in Dehli, Richard Holbrooke said that Lashkar-e-Taiba is just one such militant groups looking to destabilize South Asia. “They seem to be growing closer together ... (and) their long-term objective is the same: to create the maximum number of problems between India and Pakistan ... to create a crisis,” Holbrooke said.
Addressing a gathering of press clubs in Sindh on Friday, President Asif Ali Zaradari said talks between the foreign ministers of Pakistan and India collapsed because of problems in India’s internal politics, but added that he was hopeful that they would resume soon. President Zardari also said that both countries ought to withdrawal forces from Siachen, as it incurring substantial costs.
At least four more people were killed in Karachi on Friday, bringing the death toll in the last four days to over 25. According to police sources, three bodies were found Friday morning in Natha Khan, Alfalah, Drigh Road. Also, political activist was killed by gunmen in Sarajani Town.
Pakistan’s Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Noman Bashir said on Friday that the Pakistan Navy is “deeply satisfied” with the performance of the two F-22P frigates it purchased from China. “We are very happy with the performance, and some technology is as good as of the Western countries,” the China Daily quoted Admiral Bashir as saying. Pakistan hopes to buy bigger ships with greater firepower from China and has proposed an agreement for strategic maritime cooperation with China in both military and commercial sectors. “The friendship between China and Pakistan is greater than the Himalayas and deeper than the ocean. We already made progress in air force and other areas. Now, we should further and expand the cooperation in Navy, a broadly-based relation,” Admiral Bashir added.[13