Pakistan Security Brief
Security forces continue to battle militants in Orakzai; Interior Minister Rehman Malik announces specifics about Operation Rah-e-Nijat; US and Pakistani officials conclude meetings; Army chief General Ashfaq Kayani willing to forgo military aid; militants destroy school in Bajaur; Pakistan extends deadline for housing Afghan refugees.
Pakistani security forces battled militants for the third day in Orakzai on Friday. Over one hundred militants attacked and seized a military checkpost on the outskirts of Orakazi’s main town, Kalaya, killing five Frontier Corps (FC) personnel, including a Lieutenant Colonel. Militants used mortars and automatic weapons in the pre-dawn ambush that also wounded fifteen other FC soldiers. The military counterattacked with air and artillery support and retook the checkpost, killing twenty-seven militants in the process. Officials on the ground reported that some of the dead militants appeared to be Uzbeks. The TTP hosted a significant cadre of Uzbek militants in South Waziristan. Those militants fled with the TTP to Orakzai following their ejection from South Waziristan during Operation Rah-e-Nijat.
Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik claimed on Friday that security forces killed 823 militants during Operation Rah-e-Nijat. Mailk said the dates used to tally the deaths ranged from October 17, 2009 until February 20, 2010.
US and Pakistani officials concluded their first round of meetings on Thursday, and the US agreed to assist Pakistan on several different issues—upgrading three thermal power plants, stimulating direct foreign investment, increasing Pakistani access to US markets and expediting the transfer of military hardware, among others. While US officials were silent on a specific nuclear agreement akin to India’s, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that the U.S. was “committed to helping Pakistan meet its real energy needs” and offered to help push legislation that would secure USAID funding to help develop Pakistan’s thermal generation capacity.
Army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani announced on Thursday that “in order to make sure that Pakistan’s economy and energy needs are met, we are willing to forgo the military equipment that we have asked for.” Following the conclusion of dialogue with US officials, he also reiterated that Pakistan’s economy and energy needs are the most important issues facing Pakistan.
Suspected militants destroyed a girls’ school in Nawagai sub-district of Bajaur Agency on Thursday. Officials claimed that 77 schools, including the school from Thursday’s attack, have been blow up in the area.
Pakistani officials in Islamabad agreed to accept Afghan refugees for another three years in designated housing villages or communities. The deal will affect nearly 1.7 million refugees from Afghanistan who are delaying a return to their home country due to security concerns.