Pakistan Security Brief
Security forces launch operation against militants in Orakzai; US drone strike kills at least five in North Waziristan; Secretary Clinton comments on talks with Pakistan; Indian troops kill two men crossing Line of Control; isolated arrests around Pakistan.
Pakistani military forces began a fresh push into Orakzai on Tuesday evening to clear out areas held by the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). Taliban positions surrounding Kalaya, Orakzai’s administrative capital, are a main target of the assault. Paramilitary troops supported by jets, gunships and artillery assaulted Taliban positions and hideouts, and military officials are reporting that twenty-one militants have been killed so far in the Anjani area of Lower Orakzai. According to BBC Urdu, the military has also taken control of Anjari, Zera and Chamjanna areas of Orakzai. It further reports that the military has retaken the areas of Hashmat Khan Kili, Shna Nakah, and Mirobak in its push towards Kalaya. A bunker, an ammunition dump, and a terrorist training center were destroyed in the fighting. TTP forces arrived in Orakzai after they were pushed out of their strongholds in South Waziristan. The military has been preparing for an assault on the TTP’s new redoubt for months. The expectation of an operation in Orakzai had caused close to eighty percent of the local population to flee their homes months ago in search of safety. Click here for a map of Orakzai agency.
Missiles fired from a U.S. drone on Tuesday killed at least five militants. The missiles struck a vehicle parked near a compound on the outskirts of Miram Shah, the main town in North Waziristan. Recent reports indicated an increase in militant movement at the compound, and the dead reportedly included some Arab fighters.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reiterated the United States’ commitment to building deeper relations with Pakistan, but she also cautioned that a mutually beneficial relationship based on trust will not happen “overnight.” Secretary Clinton also said the U.S. will “consider” Pakistan’s request for civilian nuclear assistance. A Pakistani official also gave insight into what Pakistan’s approach may be regarding the Haqqani network should a grand bargain be made. While he said it was unlikely that contacts with the group could be completely severed, he said it would be possible to seriously curtail the group’s activities and movement. The anonymous official expressed fears, however, that the U.S. would abandon the region after the Pakistanis engage the Haqqani network militarily.
Indian troops guarding the Line of Control shot two suspected militants as the men entered Indian-controlled Kashmir from the Pakistani side. The incident on Wednesday happened one day after the United Jihad Council vowed to liberate Kashmir from Indian control.
Unknown gunmen riding a motorcycle shot and killed two people in Panjgoor town of Balochistan on Tuesday. Both of the casualties were reportedly laborers in the area. Police and security forces in Rawalpindi arrested more than 40 suspects during an operation on Wednesday, and police in Peshawar detained a suspected militant from Darra Adam Khel.