Pakistan Security Brief
Pakistan Security Brief – June 25, 2009U.S. Senate approves significant five-year aid package for Pakistan, including $400 million in annual military aid; conflicting accounts persist regarding death of senior TTP commander during Tuesday’s major drone strike in South Waziristan; militants loyal to Beitullah Mehsud and slain rival Qari Zainuddin Mehsud reportedly clashed in Tank district bordering South Waziristan yesterday; local residents in South Waziristan reportedly facing food and water shortages due to military blockades and recent operations in the area.
- There continue to be conflicting reports following a drone strike on the funeral of a militant commander yesterday in South Waziristan. Most reports agree that Beitullah Mehsud left the area a short while before the strike took place, however, the rumored death of two senior Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan leaders, Qari Hussein and Sangeen Zadran, remains unclear. One report quotes eyewitnesses who claim neither militant was present, and others report that while it is likely Sangeen survived, Qari Hussein was killed in the missile attack. If this is the case it represents a huge blow to the TTP as many believed Qari Hussein to be the successor to Beitullah Mehsud.
- The Pakistani military continues its air assault in South Waziristan before an impending offensive. Meanwhile, civilians stuck in the area continue to suffer shortage of food, water and electricity caused by road blockades and operations. Many local residents have reportedly fled to safer areas.
- The U.S. Senate on Wednesday approved the tripling of aid to Pakistan to $1.5 billion per year for the next 5 years. Specifically, the bill funds “schools, the judicial system, parliament and law enforcement agencies.” It includes $400 million in annual military aid and comes on the cusp of a Pakistani military campaign against Beitullah Mehsud’s forces in South Waziristan.
- Without giving a firm confirmation, Minister for Information Mian Iftikhar Hussain stated that Shah Dauran, TNSM leader Maulana Fazlullah’s deputy, was “reportedly killed and two top commanders of the Taliban sustained injuries” in ongoing Swat operations. He said the search for his body continues amidst reports that it may already have been “buried by his companions.”
- The Qaumi Lashkar local militia conducting operations in Upper Dir says it has “successfully cleared majority of the areas of Dir Upper district of extremists” and that it had killed thirty-four militants in doing so. The leader of the militia said the entire district would be cleared “in a week’s time.”
- A gunbattle in the main bazaar of Tank between militant groups on Wednesday left one dead on each side. It is reported that Beitullah Mehsud’s fighters and those of the Abdullah Mehsud group traded fire the day after the slaying of the Abdullah Mehsud group’s leader, Qari Zainuddin Mehsud. It is reported that the Abdullah Mehsud group “was aided by supporters of the Turkistan [Bhittani] group during the clash.”
- Turkistan Bhittani made a statement the day after the killing of anti-Beitullah militant commander, Qari Zainuddin Mehsud, saying that his militia is “determined to uproot terrorism from Waziristan” and vowing to fight “until Beitullah Mehsud’s network was eliminated.”
 Pir Zubair Shah and Sabrina Tavernise, “Strike Reportedly Missed Chief of Pakistani Taliban by Hours”, The New York Times, June 25, 2009. Available at http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/25/world/asia/25pstan.html?_r=1&ref=asia Alamgir Bhittani and Pazir Gul, “Baitullah’s narrow escape in drone attack: Missile kills key trainer of Taliban suicide bombers”, Dawn News Online, June 25, 2009. Available at http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/front-page/baitullahs-narrow-escape-in-drone-attack-missile-kills-key-trainer-of-taliban-suicide-bombers-569
 Anwar Shakir, “Nervous wait in Pakistan tribal belt for army assault”, AFP, June 25, 2009. Available at http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5jM17fHTGMgES9208UE2ykfOwFd8Q
 Paul Eckert, “U.S. Senate approves bill to triple aid to Pakistan”, Reuters, June 24, 2009. Available at http://www.reuters.com/article/politicsNews/idUSTRE55N6RB20090624
 Khalid Kheshgi, “Shah Dauran probably killed: Iftikhar”, The News Online, June 25, 2009. Available at http://thenews.com.pk/top_story_detail.asp?Id=22921
 “Lashkar clears Dir Upper of extremists”, The News Online, June 25, 2009. Available at http://thenews.com.pk/top_story_detail.asp?Id=22928
 “TTP claims Zain’s murder: Taliban groups fight it out in Tank: two killed”, Dawn News Online, June 25, 2009. Available at http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/front-page/ttp-claims-zains-murder-taliban-groups-fight-it-out-in-tank-two-killed-569
 “Militant commander Bhittani speaks out against Baitullah”, Dawn News Online, June 25, 2009. Available at http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/pakistan/19-another-militant-commander-speaks-out-against-baitullah-01