Pakistan Security Brief
Pakistan Security Brief –May 5, 2010
Faisal Shahzad charged with several terrorism-related crimes; Hakimullah Mehsud threatens US, leaders of Pakistan in letter to Dr. Siddiqui’s sister; four men accused of carrying out 2008 Marriott bombing are released by an anti-terrorism court; US official outlines new strategy for drone strikes; police arrest four men, seize two trucks loaded with explosives; one year anniversary of Swat operation; two kidnapped FC men found dead in Khuzdar; NATO oil tanker destroyed in Balochistan.
Faisal Shahzad, the man arrested in the failed New York City bombing attempt, was charged with attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and several other terrorism-related charges in a federal court on Tuesday. While officials are still investigating Shahzad’s ties to militant groups based outside the US —more specifically with the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Shahzad admitted to training on the construction of bombs in Waziristan. Police in Karachi also arrested two people with connections to Shahzad, a friend and father-in-law. Pakistan’s army, however, does not believe the TTP was involved in the failed bombing.
Media sources obtained a letter allegedly written by TTP leader Hakimullah Mehsud addressed to the sister of Dr. Afia Siddiqui. In the letter, dated two months ago, Mehsud wrote that he intended to teach the US a lesson for Siddiqui’s incarceration, also including threats against Pakistani leaders as well.
Terror attack suspects released
An anti-terrorism court in Rawalpindi has acquitted and released the four men accused of perpetrating the September 20, 2008 bombing of the five-star Islamabad Marriott Hotel in which at least 50 people were killed and more than 200 were injured. The judge released the accused due to “lack of evidence”, adding that prosecutors had “badly failed” in presenting their case.
A US counterterrorism official has outlined a shift in the strategy of drone attacks in Pakistan that now focuses on hitting lower level al-Qaeda and Taliban personnel in addition to key operational infrastructure as opposed to primarily targeting only top al-Qaeda leaders. The official added that this strategy, which began in 2008 under President Bush and has since been expanded under the Obama administration, was implemented with the goal of directly supporting US forces in Afghanistan.
Police arrested four people after an inspection a checkpoint in Dera Ghazi Khan revealed the suspects’ two trucks to be loaded with explosives. The arrested men revealed in initial interrogation that they were transporting the explosives from Hattar in Punjab to the Sandak Project in Balochistan.
Today marks the one-year anniversary of the beginning of Pakistani military operations against Islamic extremists in Swat Valley.
A NATO oil tanker bound for Afghanistan was destroyed when a bomb attached to the vehicle detonated on Wednesday. The blast occurred north of Quetta, and there were no reported casualties.
The bullet-riddled bodies of two Frontier Corps personnel kidnapped from Khuzdar several days ago were discovered today. In a separate incident, a school teacher was shot to death by unknown gunmen in the Mastung area..