Pakistan Security Brief

TTP pledges loyalty to Zawahiri as al Qaeda chief; Secretary Gates and Admiral Mullen emphasize crucial nature of U.S.-Pakistan relations; Twelve militants killed in second day of Bajaur fighting; Shahzad investigation commission delayed by controversy; Peshawar “shuts down” over fears of bombing; Forty-one killed in Karachi since Monday; Tribesman block NATO supplies in Balochistan.


  Reaction to Zawahiri Announcement

  • The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) pledged loyalty to Ayman al-Zawahiri as al Qaeda’s new leader and “vowed to carry out attacks against Western targets.” TTP spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan described Zawahiri as a “capable person” who would inspire new attacks on the West. Reuters reports that support from groups like the TTP could “determine” his ability to “strengthen an organisation that has lost steam since the Sept. 11 attacks a decade ago.”[i]
  • Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen responded to Zawahiri’s appointment with assurances that the U.S. would “capture and kill” Zawahiri as they did Osama Bin Laden. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates noted that Zawahiri did not have the “peculiar charisma” that enabled Bin Laden to lead al Qaeda. Gates and other officials also stressed the extent to which Zawahiri had been less operationally involved than Bin Laden, calling him an “armchair general.”[ii]

U.S.-Pakistan Relations


Violence against Journalists

  • Controversy has surrounded the commission formed to investigate the death of Pakistani journalist Syed Saleem Shahzad. Dawn reports that “questions have been raised” about whether or not the commission can be formed without the consent of Pakistan’s Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry. Information Minister Dr. Firdous Ashiq Awan, who announced the commission on Thursday in response to protests regarding Shahzad’s death, insists that the government is, by law, justified in forming such a commission without the consent of the Supreme Court. Asma Jehangir of the Supreme Court Bar Association accused the government of “committing undue interference in affairs of the superior judiciary.”[x]


  • Peshawar “shut down” on Thursday after rumors spread of a possible suicide attack on the headquarters of the Frontier Constabulary. In an unrelated incident, “police claimed to have arrested 15 suspected militants in two separate raids in Barikot sub-district and Charbagh in Swat district on Thursday.”[xi]



  • Hundreds of tribesman blocked a NATO supply route near the Afghan border in Balochistan. According to the BBC, the blockade at the Chaman border crossing lasted for at least four hours. The blockade was a response to a violent clash between tribesmen and Afghan border guards on Thursday. The blockade reportedly ended “after security officials held talks with tribal elders and assured them their grievances would be passed on to the Afghan authorities.”[xiii]
  • The News reports, “Quetta Police on Thursday arrested five Afghan nationals who crossed into Pakistan from Chaman without possessing legal travelling documents.” According to APP, “unidentified attackers blew up a 16-inch diametre gas pipeline in the Pirkoh area of Dera Bugti on Friday.”[xiv]


[i] “Pakistan’s Taliban backs Zawahri as Qaeda chief,” Reuters, June 16, 2011. Available at
[ii] “US: We will kill Zawahiri just like we killed Bin Laden,” AFP, June 17, 2011. Available at
[iii] “Gates, Mullen stress importance of U.S.-Pak ties,” Geo, June 17, 2011. Available at
“Obama to address Pakistan’s concerns,” Dawn, June 17, 2011. Available at
[iv] “US assured of steps to allay misgivings,” Dawn, June 17, 2011. Available at
“Compromised intelligence: ISPR denies security forces tipped off terrorists,” Express Tribune. Available at
[v] “Pakistan ‘blocking supplies to US base,’” Daily Telegraph, June 16, 2011. Available at
[vi] “US to replace two P3C Orion aircraft,” Dawn, June 17, 2011. Available at
[vii] “Twelve insurgents killed in Bajaur,” AP, June 17, 2011. Available at
“Pakistanis kill 11 militants near Afghan border,” AFP, June 17, 2011. Available at
[viii] “NWA tribesmen protest drone attack casualties,” The News, June 17, 2011. Available at
[ix] “Four vehicles gutted in blast,” The News, June 17, 2011. Available at
[x] “Saleem Shahzad commission a non-starter,” Dawn, June 17, 2011. Available at
[xi] “Peshawar shuts down over sabotage rumours,” Dawn, June 17, 2011. Available at
“15 militants held in Swat raids,” The News, June 17, 2011. Available at
[xii] “7 more die as violence continues to plague Khi,” The News, June 16, 2011. Available at
[xiii] “Pakistan tribes block Nato supply road to Afghanistan,” BBC, June 17, 2011. Available at
[xiv] “Quetta police detain five Afghans,” The News, June 16, 2011. Available at
“Gas pipeline blown up in Dera Bugti,” APP, June 17, 2011. Available at
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