Pakistan Security Brief

Al-Qaeda confirms bin Laden’s death; bin Laden was able to play an operational role; CIA had compound under surveillance; Pakistani intelligence official: bin Laden and al-Zawahiri had parted ways six years ago; Kayani may decrease U.S. troops to "the minimum level" in Pakistan; Bashir defends U.S.-Pakistani relations; Haqqani promises full investigation; Thousands stage protests against operation; Congress questions U.S. aid to Pakistan; Fifteen killed in drone strike in NWA; Clashes in Mohmand; Two would-be suicide bombers killed; Eight killed in Quetta.


Osama’s bin Laden’s Death: the Story Develops

  • Al-Qaeda has released a statement confirming the death of Osama bin Laden. The statement said that bin Laden’s blood “is more precious to us and to every Muslim than to be wasted in vain. It will remain, with permission from God Almighty, a curse that hunts the Americans and their collaborators and chase them outside and inside their country.” The statement also warned the U.S. not to harm bin Laden’s corpse or harm any members of his family. According to the release, an audio-taped message that bin Laden recorded a week before his death would be released soon.[i]
  • U.S. intelligence officials have concluded that Osama bin Laden was able to play an operational role in planning terror attacks from his residence in Abbottabad. The New York Times reports that “The documents taken at the Abbottabad compound, according to American officials, show that Bin Laden was in touch regularly with the terror network he created,” in contradiction to the common perception that he had been relegated to an inspirational figurehead role. Though there was no evidence of a specific plot, a handwritten notebook from February 2010 “discusses tampering with tracks to derail a train on a bridge, possibly on Christmas, New Year’s Day, the day of the State of the Union address or the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.”[ii]
  • According to unidentified intelligence officials, the CIA had bin Laden’s residence in Abbottabad under surveillance for months before the operation on Monday. CIA officers utilized cameras with telephoto lenses and infrared imaging equipment to survey bin-Laden’s hideout from a rented house in the neighborhood.  Unidentified officials said that the CIA operation “relied on Pakistani informants and other sources to help assemble a ‘pattern of life’ portrait of the occupants and daily activities at the fortified compound where bin Laden was found.”[iii]
  • A senior Pakistani intelligence official said that Osama bin Laden and the deputy leader of al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri, had parted ways six years ago. The official stated that “bin Laden had been sidelined because he no longer had the funds to support al Qaeda operations and that his popularity in the network was slipping.” U.S. officials have denied hearing of a split between the two men. However, another U.S. official said there was strong evidence to support the idea that bin Laden had funding issues.[iv]

The United States and Pakistan Respond

  • In reaction to the raid that killed Osama bin Laden on Monday morning, Pakistani army chief General Kayani reportedly has considered decreasing the number of U.S. military personnel in Pakistan to "the minimum level" and that similar raids in the future would result in an evaluation of further cooperation with the U.S. On Thursday, a statement released by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, said that it was up to Pakistan’s officials if they wanted U.S. military forces to remain in the country. The statement noted that Admiral Mullen “has repeatedly noted that the small number of US military trainers in Pakistan are there at the invitation of the Pakistani government, and therefore subject to that government's prerogatives.” Mullen has not yet been advised of any decision by the Pakistani military on the presence of the U.S. troops. Meanwhile, in an official response to the bin Laden operation, a press release from the Pakistani Army has warned India against conducting similar operations.[v]
  • On Thursday, Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir sought to dismiss the view that Osama bin Laden’s killing in the U.S. raid in Abbottabad had affected bilateral ties between the two countries. He stated, “The notion that Pakistan-US relations have nosedived, this is not quite our understanding. Pakistan considers its relations with the US as of high importance… I think the key word here for everybody to understand on the Pakistan-US track is that there is strategic convergence.” Bashir also defended the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency against charges that it may have been “in cahoots with [al-Qaeda].” Meanwhile, Hussain Haqqani, Pakistan’s ambassador to the U.S., has promised a full investigation into the allegations that active or retired Pakistani officials helped Osama bin Laden hide in Abbottabad.[vi]
  • Thousands of Pakistani citizens staged protests on Friday against the U.S. operation which killed bin Laden on Monday. Around 1,000 people demonstrated in Abbottabad, while hundreds others gathered in Quetta in a demonstration organized by the Jamiat-Ulema-e-Islam (JUI) political party. Meanwhile, 300 more people rallied in Multan and 400 demonstrated in Peshawar on behalf of the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI).[vii]
  • A bill introduced in the House of Representatives proposed that “no [U.S.] assistance can be provided to Pakistan unless the Obama administration certifies to Congress that Pakistan did not have any information about Osama bin Laden’s whereabouts.” However, various democratic and republic lawmakers have questioned what the impact of cutting aid to Pakistan would be. House Speaker John Boehner said, “It is not the time to back away from Pakistan… but rather a time to strengthen ties. It`s premature to talk of cutting aid, we both benefit from having a strong bilateral relationship.”[viii]


  • At least fifteen suspected militants were killed in a U.S. drone strike in the Datta Khel area of North Waziristan on Friday. The strike targeted a vehicle that allegedly was carrying foreign militants. At least one civilian died in the attack when a missile damaged a nearby home and restaurant. The Washington Post reports that “Friday’s strikes — the first since the U.S. helicopter raid on the compound of Osama bin Laden in northwest Pakistan on Monday — are likely to further stoke tensions between the two allies.”[ix]
  • On Thursday, one militant was killed and two others sustained injuries when security forces shelled suspected locations in Baizai sub-district of Mohmand Agency. Meanwhile, a shepherd was injured when a landmine exploded in Khwaizai sub-district in Mohmand on Thursday.[x]


  • Two would-be suicide bombers were killed in a clash with security forces in Dera Ismail Khan on Thursday. District Police Officer Mohammad Hussain said the men “were travelling in an explosive-laden Suzuki pick-up. Police targeted the vehicle and both the would-be suicide bombers were killed in it.” The vehicle had traveled to the area from Drazenda, along the Waziristan border. The vehicle failed to stop at the Draban checkpost and opened fire on the policemen, who returned fire and killed the two militants.[xi]


  • At least eight people were killed and fifteen others were rounded in an attack by militants in Quetta on Friday. The victims were in a neighborhood park in the Hazara area when the assailants opened fire on them. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.[xii]

[i] Erika Solomon, “Al Qaeda confirms bin Laden death and vows revenge,” Reuters, May 6, 2011. Available at
[ii] Mark Mazzetti and Scott Shane, “Data Show Bin Laden Plots; C.I.A. Hid Near Raided House,” New York Times, May 5, 2011. Available at
[iii] Greg Miller, “CIA spied on bin Laden from safe house,” Washington Post, May 6, 2011. Available at
[iv] Zahid Hussain and Keith Johnson, “Split Seen Between bin Laden, Deputy,” Wall Street Journal, May 6, 2011. Available at
[vi] “`Strategic convergence` with US continues, says Bashir,” Dawn, May 6, 2011. Available at
[vii] Sajjad Tarakzai, “Pakistanis protest over bin Laden killing,” AFP, May 6, 2011. Available at
[viii] Anwar Iqbal, “US bill proposes conditions attached to Pakistan aid,” Dawn, May 6, 2011. Available at
[ix] Karin Brulliard and Karen DeYoung, “Suspected U.S. strike kills 8 near militant hub in Pakistan tribal area,” Washington Post, May 6, 2011. Available at
[x] “Two `bombers` killed in Dera,” Dawn, May 6, 2011. Available at
[xi] “Two `bombers` killed in Dera,” Dawn, May 6, 2011. Available at
[xii] “At least eight killed in Quetta rocket attack, gunfire,” Dawn, May 6, 2011. Available at
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