Pakistan Security Brief
Pakistan Security Brief – July 8, 2010
Terror plots in US and UK linked to senior al-Qaeda leaders in Pakistan; army says 70-percent of South Waziristan reconstruction complete, IDPs to return soon; seven injured in grenade attack, boys’ college damaged in explosion in Bajaur; fighter jets kill 15 militants in Orakzai; police arrest 14 suspected militants in Hangu; US-Pakistan strategic dialogue underway in Islamabad; extremists groups using social networking tools to spread their views; police arrest two TTP terror suspects in Lahore.
US officials have indicated that senior al-Qaeda leaders in Pakistan played an operational role in last September’s foiled terror plot which targeted the New York City subway system. The suspect who pleaded guilty in the case, Najibullah Zazi, is believed to have been recruited by Adnan El Shukrijumah, a Saudi-born al-Qaeda leader. Communications between the two men were facilitated by an al-Qaeda man in Peshawar known only as “Ahmad”, who also allegedly relayed messages between Shukrijumah and Abid Naseer, a Pakistani who was arrested by British authorities in northwest England on Wednesday and is accused of attempting to carry out terror attacks in Manchester. The US is currently seeking Nasser’s extradition and is receiving cooperation from the British government, according to an interior ministry spokesman.
Pakistani Army officials have announced that reconstruction work in South Waziristan is nearly 70-percent complete, including two 130 kilometer long roads linking the towns of Wana, Spinkai Raghzai, Jandola Godkai, and Makeen. Army Engineers are also constructing schools and health facilities on an emergency basis. Additionally, an Army spokesman indicated that internally displaced persons (IDPs) will be able to return to the area as soon as the registration process is finished.
Seven people were wounded in a grenade attack at the homes of two local journalists in Bajaur Agency on Wednesday. Witnesses said that unidentified attackers threw several hand grenades at the journalists’ homes, located near Bajaur’s headquarters of Khar, before fleeing the scene. Also in Bajaur, an explosive device planted at a boys’ college in Khar detonated on Wednesday, causing partial damage to the building. Two more bombs placed by the militants were successfully diffused by security personnel. The local administration has arrested twelve tribesmen in connection with the attack.
Security forces in Orakzai Agency killed 15 militants and wounded ten more in airstrikes which targeted militant hideouts in the upper part of the agency. (For detailed bi-weekly updates on the security situation in Orakzai CLICK HERE)
Police in Hangu district have arrested 14 suspected militants during a search operation in the Lakhtai Banda area. The arrests came after unidentified militants fired three rockets at the local Police Training College on Wednesday. In a separate incident, militants fired two rockets at a security checkpoint in Shahu Khel. No casualties were reported in either attack.
The latest phase of the strategic dialogue between US and Pakistani officials is underway in Islamabad and will focus on the improvement of intelligence sharing and cooperation in the war on terror. Interior Minister Rehman Malik, who inaugurated the talks, also told reporters that the government would fight for the release of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui.
Spreading the message
According to a Christian Science Monitor report, Facebook, Twitter, and mass texts are now being utilized by extremist groups in Pakistan to voice their hard line religious and political views. Groups such as Hizb-ut-Tahrir, a global Islamist party which denounces democracy, are using these social networking tools to spread messages condemning the US, the Pakistani government, and the Ahmadi community. This technology provides a new means for Hizb-ut-Tahrir and other banned parties to attempt to influence the minds of the younger generation from Pakistan’s growing middle class.
- On Wednesday, police in Lahore arrested two men belonging to the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and seized several important documents. Security officials say that the two men, believed to be residents of south Punjab, had come to Lahore from Waziristan and were plotting to carry out a major terrorist attack in the city.