Pakistan Security Brief
Pakistan Security Brief – June 10, 2010
US drone strike kills at least three militants in North Waziristan; Amnesty International report says four million in Pakistan living under Taliban rule; clashes between militants and security forces continue in Orakzai; militants ambush two security checkposts in Mohmand; Punjabi Taliban claims responsibility for attack on NATO supply vehicles; drone attacks in 2010 shown to have increased in frequency and accuracy; federal court sentences Pakistani-American to 15 years for aiding al-Qaeda; top officials in Punjab and Balochistan separately deny possibility of military operations in their respective provinces; one killed in Karachi bomb blast.
Two missiles fired from a US drone reportedly struck a militant compound in the village of Norak, North Waziristan, killing at least three militants. The identities of the victims and the precise death toll have not yet been ascertained.
A new report issued by Amnesty International claims that four million people in northwest Pakistan are living under the rule of the Taliban, calling the FATA a “human rights free zone” for people which have been “effectively abandoned by the Pakistani government.” The report went on to say that the nearly one million people displaced by fighting in the region are “in desperate need of aid” and urged both Pakistan and the Taliban to allow more freedom for aid workers so that they can provide better food, supplies, and medical services for the displaced. Abdul Basit, a spokesman for Pakistan’s foreign office, responded to Amnesty International’s charges by saying that Pakistan is “not denying that there are problems there” but also said that the government was “sparing no effort” to protect people living in the affected areas.
Ground troops in conjunction with helicopter gunships carried out attacks against Taliban fighters in Orakzai Agency, killing ten militants and destroying several hideouts. On Wednesday, as many as 20 militants were reported killed and five soldiers wounded in clashes in Upper and Central Orakzai. (For bi-weekly updates on the security situation in Orakzai CLICK HERE)
At least 40 militants and two soldiers were reported killed when heavily armed militants launched simultaneous attacks on two security checkposts in Mohmand Agency on Wednesday. A spokesman from the Mohmand chapter of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed that as many as 10 soldiers had been killed and several others had been kidnapped during the assaults. However, military officials denied the spokesman’s claim and said that the fighting had resulted in only two soldiers killed and six more wounded, adding that no soldiers had been kidnapped and that all the soldiers who went missing during the clashes have been accounted for and have since returned to their posts.
NATO supply vehicles
The Punjabi Taliban has claimed responsibility for Tuesday’s attack on a fleet of NATO supply vehicles in Islamabad which left at least seven people dead and more than 80 trucks severely damaged. In addition, at least two suspects have been arrested by police teams which have been dispatched to Fateh Jang and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa in order to investigate the attack. Despite the destruction caused by the raid, a Pentagon spokesman said on Wednesday that the attack will have a minimal overall impact when it comes to disrupting the flow of supplies to NATO forces in Afghanistan.
A new article indicates that US drone strikes in the tribal areas of Pakistan have increased in both frequency and accuracy, killing a higher number of militants and militant commanders and a lower number of civilians. According to information from the New America Foundation’s drone database, approximately 87-percent of those killed in drone strikes in 2010 were militants, up from 43-percent in 2008 and 62-percent in 2009. Additionally, 13 militant commanders have been reported killed in drone strikes since January 2009, compared with a total of 15 militant commanders killed in total over the previous five years of the program.
A federal court in Manhattan sentenced a Pakistani-born American to 15 years in prison on Wednesday for providing aid to al-Qaeda. Syed Hashimi was arrested at Heathrow Airport in June 2006 and later extradited to the US on the charges that he allowed an al-Qaeda member to stay in his London apartment, let the man use his cell phone to contact other al-Qaeda associates, and also stored rain gear and bedrolls which were allegedly due to be sent to al-Qaeda in Pakistan.
Military operations dismissed
Punjab’s law minister, Rana Sanaullah, has dismissed the possibility of a military operation in South Punjab, saying that the Taliban are only recruiting in cities like Lahore and Faisalabad and that training was being conducted in the FATA, not Punjab. Similarly, Balochistan’s chief minister, Nawab Muhammad Aslam, said on Wednesday that a military operation in his province was also “not on the cards”, adding that such an operation would not be justified since the security situation in Balochistan is better than in other provinces.
A roadside bomb blast in Karachi’s Naval Colony has killed one policeman and wounded four others. Police have cordoned off the area and begun an investigation into the attack. This latest bombing incident comes as the Rangers, a paramilitary security force, announced that they have recently arrested 53 criminals and seized large quantities of weapons as part of special operations in the city, adding that the suspects had been handed over to local police jurisdictions for further investigations.