Pakistan Security Brief
Pakistan Security Brief – November 10, 2010
Pakistan continues criticism of U.S. support for India; fighter jets bomb Taliban positions in Orakzai; Pakistani military continues to face challenges in the FATA; former President Musharraf outlines political strategy for his return to Pakistan.
The Pakistani government passed a federal cabinet resolution on Wednesday harshly criticizing the United States’ support for an Indian seat on the U.N. Security Council. The resolution declared it “incomprehensible that the U.S. has sought to support India,” a country which Pakistan claims has a poor history of “observing U.N. charter principles and international law.” The resolution also accused India of being responsible for “gross and systematic violations of the fundamental human rights of the Kashmiri people.”
Former President Pervez Musharraf also criticized what many Pakistanis have perceived as U.S. favoritism towards India, saying that President Obama should have “given due importance to Pakistan” by including the country as one of the stops on his ten-day Asia tour. Musharraf said that not visiting Pakistan, which he says has been “fighting extremism and terrorism in a lead role and been a strategic partner with the U.S. on this issue,” will be viewed in Pakistan as the U.S. leaning more towards India.
Fighter jets bombed militant positions in Orakzai Agency on Wednesday, killing 15 militants and wounding at least 20 others. A series of air strikes targeted Taliban fighters in the Mamuzai and Garena areas of Upper Orakzai. Three hideouts were also destroyed during the attacks.
An article in the Financial Times outlines Pakistan’s challenges in combating militancy in the country’s tribal areas. Although the military claims to have “broken the back” of the Taliban in Orakzai Agency, security remains fragile as the military continues to fight to regain territory controlled by Taliban fighters under the command of Mullah Toofan, who is still at large. The article reports that civilians throughout the FATA continue to fear the Taliban while at the same time feeling disenfranchised by the government.
The office of President Hamid Karzai issued a statement on Wednesday declaring Afghanistan’s intent to work more closely with Pakistan towards combating militancy and extremism as well as building increased economic cooperation. The statement came after a phone call between Karzai and Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, who accepted Karzai’s invitation to visit Afghanistan for further talks. The trip will be Gilani’s first official visit to the country.
Two militants were killed in clashes with security forces during a search operation in the Matta area of Swat district on Tuesday evening. Eight militants were also arrested during a separate search operation in Upper Dir. A large cache of arms and explosives was also recovered during the operation.
While speaking at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York on Tuesday, former Pervez Musharraf outlined his political strategy for his return to Pakistan for the 2013 elections. Musharraf said that his plan is to mobilize the 60-percent of the Pakistani electorate that does not regularly vote and said that getting just 25-percent of these voters out to the polls held the possibility to break the “politics of dynastic rule that brings the country down.” Although admitting the difficulties he faces in the election, Musharraf remained confident that he has “an even chance” in the next elections and said that he has already seen a large show of support among younger Pakistanis.
On Tuesday, former President Musharraf accused India of trying to create an “anti-Pakistan Afghanistan” while fighting back at the assertions that Pakistan is not doing enough to fight Islamic extremists within its borders. Musharraf claims that he has personally seen photographs of “Pakistani terrorists,” a likely reference to Balochi separatists, meeting with Indian officials at embassies in Kabul. On the issue of militants crossing into Pakistan, Musharraf admitted his country’s faults but also said that U.S. and Afghan forces should take more responsibility for allowing militants to enter Pakistani territory.
Al-Qaeda Subway Plot
On Tuesday, Pakistani-born U.S. citizen Farooque Ahmed pleaded not guilty to charges that he attempted to aid al-Qaeda in bombing the metro rail system in Washington, D.C. Federal authorities arrested Ahmed in a sting operation last month after Ahmed was allegedly found to have been cooperating with supposed al-Qaeda operatives who were actually undercover law enforcement agents. Ahmed’s trial is scheduled to begin in April.
- Unknown gunmen set fire to a NATO fuel tanker in the Sibbi area of Balochistan on Wednesday. No casualties were reported in the attack.