Pakistan Security Brief

Prominent online jihadist explains al Qaeda pledge of allegiance to Taliban chief Mullah Omar; Kidnappings an increasingly significant source of income for the TTP; German government donates $1.3 million in aid to IDPs from North Waziristan; Obama administration officials pleased with Operation Zarb-e-Azb so far, but emphasize need to prevent Haqqani Network’s return; Sectarian assassination in Quetta kills two; VBIED injures four in Karachi; Indian troops reportedly fire upon Pakistani soldiers near Line of Control in Gilgit-Baltistan.

Al Qaeda and the Taliban

  • On July 28, prominent online jihadist and follower of al Qaeda chief Ayman al Zawahiri, Shaybat al Hukama tweeted his explanation of al Qaeda’s bayat or oath of allegiance to Mullah Omar. His tweets were made in reference to a video that al Qaeda’s media arm released of Osama bin Ladin discussing his bayat. Al Hakama explained that while all al Qaeda branches were required to swear bayat to Mullah Omar, they are free to work autonomously outside of Afghanistan. He later removed his tweets, saying “the brothers” had requested he do so. Though al Hakama claims not to be connected to any groups, previously he has acknowledged his ties to members of al Qaeda’s online media operation.  In earlier tweets he has been a harsh critic of the so-called Islamic State.[1]

North Waziristan Offensive

  • A Wall Street Journal article, quoting Pakistani law enforcement officials, reported on July 30 that as the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has splintered over the past two years, kidnappings for ransom and militant-related criminal activity has increased in major Pakistani cities. It also speculates that the TTP’s flight from its base in North Waziristan, prompted by military action there, may lead to an increase in such activity as well. Kidnapping gangs either sell victims to militant groups, which in turn demand higher ransoms, or receive protection from Taliban groups in return for a cut of the ransom. A Taliban spokesman denied that Taliban groups provide protection to kidnapping gangs, but said that the kidnapping and murder of the group’s enemies was justified. Crimes are usually committed within the ethnic Pashtun community, which is easily penetrated by Taliban militants.[2]

  • On July 31, the German government announced a donation of one million Euros ($1.3 million) in humanitarian assistance to internally displaced persons (IDPs) displaced from North Waziristan by Operation Zarb-e-Azb.  The aid will support the efforts of the UN’s World Food Program in Pakistan’s Federally Administrated Tribal Areas[3]

  • According to a Los Angeles Times report on July 30, Obama administration officials believe Operation Zarb-e-Azb has succeeded in disrupting militant strongholds in North Waziristan, but must prevent the Haqqani Network and other militant groups from regrouping and resettling in North Waziristan to be ultimately successful.  The United States government remains unconvinced and has still received no direct evidence from the Pakistani government that the operation has targeted the Haqqani Network.  The report speculated that Pakistan is taking action against the Haqqani Network now because a significant portion of U.S. counterterrorism funding to Pakistan requires U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hegel to certify that Operation Zarb-e-Azb has "significantly disrupted the safe haven and freedom of movement of the HAqqani network."[4]


  • On July 30, unidentified gunmen shot and killed two members of the Shia community in a suspected sectarian assassination on Spini Road in Quetta’s Hazara Town.[5]

  • Protestors continued to stage demonstrations on July 31 in Kurram’s Parachinar area, demanding the release of 23 tribal leaders and imam of a mosque whom police detained on July 28.  National Assembly member Sajid Hussain Toori advised the government and tribal leaders to address the issue through a Jirga.[6]

  • A vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) detonated near a cinema and injured four people in Karachi’s Nazimabad area on the night of July 30.[7]

Indo-Pak Relations

  • On July 31, Indian military troops reportedly fired on Pakistani security forces at the Line of Control in Gultri, Astore, Gilgit-Baltistan. The Inter-Services Public Relations reported that Pakistani troops effectively handled the incident and did not report any casualties from the incident.[8]


  • The Financial Times reported on July 31 on speculation within Pakistan that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s decision to deploy the army into Islamabad for three months in order to reinstate law and order is actually a cover for suppressing anti-government protests.  A political and national security pundit, Hasan Askari Rizvi, said that by deploying the army to Islamabad, the government is capitulating to the army and relying on the army for its survival.  Farhatullah Babar, a leader of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), said that Sharif’s decision represents a total failure of the civilian administration.  The article also alleged that with his decision, Sharif risks ceding political control to the military, whose generals have ruled Pakistan for much of its history as an independent state.  Sharif’s decision also accompanies his recent failure to end a nationwide energy crisis and nationwide power outages.  In an interview with The Financial Times, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) leader Imran Khan criticized Sharif’s performance as Prime Minister and said that Pakistani citizens are frustrated with the current energy crisis and employment problem.[9]

[1] Thomas Joscelyn, “Well-connected jihadist tweets, then deletes, explanation of al Qaeda’s oath to Mullah Omar. The Long War Journal, July 30, 2014. Available atP:
[2] Annabel Symington, “Splintering of Taliban Fuels Spate of Kidnapping in Pakistan,” The Wall Street Journal, July 30, 2014. Available at:
[3] “Germany announces €1m aid for NW IDPs,” Dawn, July 31, 2014. Available at:
[4] “Pakistan offensive disrupting militant attacks, U.S. says,” The Los Angeles Times, July 30, 2014.  Available at:
[5] “Two Hazara men shot dead in Quetta,” Dawn, July 31, 2014. Available at:
[6] “Protests staged over arrest of cleric in Parachinar,” Dawn, July 31, 2014. Available at:
[7] “Four injured in Karachi explosion,” Dawn, July 31, 2014. Available at:
[8] “Exchange of fire reported at LoC in Gultri sector,” Dawn, July 31, 2014. Available at:
[9] Farhan Bokhari, “Nawaz Sharif under pressure in Pakistan,” Financial Times, July 31, 2014. Available at:
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