Pakistan Security Brief
Pakistan Security Brief-November 22, 2010
New details continue to emerge about EU terror plot; Drone strikes kill Taliban commander in North Waziristan; Pakistan denies U.S. request to expand drone operations; New details continue to emerge about EU terror plot; Pakistan “satisfied” with NATO’s 2014 timetable; militants clash with security forces over the weekend in Orakzai and Swat.
EU Terror Plot
German authorities are frantically searching for two “suspected suicide bombers,” who apparently returned to Germany six weeks ago after receiving training in North Waziristan. Intelligence officials believe that the men are preparing to carry out suicide attacks at heavily trafficked tourist destinations, and Germany’s parliament building, the Reichstag, has been named a likely target. German authorities are said to be “combing through travel and visa records and scrutinizing arrivals” at major airports and train stations, as the hunt continues for the suspected suicide bombers and any other would-be terrorists looking to enter Germany to carry out attacks. It is believed that a “second group” of terrorists may still be trying to gain entry into Germany in order to carry out Mumbai-style raids.
Five militants were killed on Monday, in the most recent U.S. drone strike in North Waziristan. According to reports, missiles fired from U.S. drones targeted a car and motor bike that were being used by militants in the Khushali area of the tribal agency. Security officials are working to establish the identity of those killed, in order to determine if any high value targets were among the dead.
Nine militants, including a local Taliban commander, were killed in a U.S. drone strike in North Waziristan on Sunday. The strike occurred in Khaddi village in Mir Ali sub-district, and targeted a militant compound. According to Pakistani security officials, one of the dead was a Taliban commander, known locally as “Mustafa,” who allegedly had links to Sadiq Noor, a major Taliban figure in North Waziristan.
Pakistan has reportedly denied a request by the United States to expand its drone operations inside Pakistani territory. According to an article in the Washington Post, the United States requested permission to expand its drone operations beyond the tribal areas, in order to target known Taliban locations around the city of Quetta in Pakistan’s Balochistan province. The United States believes that the areas surrounding Quetta are being used by the Taliban as a rear operating base for insurgent activities in Afghanistan and that many high-value targets linked to Mullah Omar’s Taliban currently reside in the area. A spokesman for Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry, Abdul Basit, said in reference to Islamabad’s decision to reject the U.S. request, “We are allies of the United States in the war against terror….However, Pakistan will not compromise on sovereignty."
Pakistan’s Foreign Minister, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, told reporters that Pakistan is “satisfied” with NATO’s plans to hand over security responsibilities to Afghan forces by 2014. The Foreign Minister’s comments came after NATO announced at a summit, held this weekend in Lisbon, that it plans to hand over control of the country’s security to the Afghan government by 2014. While Qureshi tentatively accepted the timetable for a NATO drawdown in Afghanistan, he warned that any actual reduction in NATO forces must be, “in line with ground realities and the ability of the Afghan authorities to resume the responsibility of their security.”
According to a report by the Washington Post, Pakistani efforts to restore order to South Waziristan remain “challenged” a year after the military carried out a massive campaign to route militants from the tribal agency. Although militants linked to the Tehrik-e-Taliban have successfully been pushed out of major bases in the agency, Pakistan’s security forces still must contend with “an indigenous enemy that blends in easily, a vacuum in local governance, a skeptical population and….a desolate border that insurgents easily cross.” Moreover, there is growing fear that if the Pakistani government decides to conduct a military operation in North Waziristan, the tenuous gains made in South Waziristan will be put at risk.
At least 15 militants were killed in Orakzai on Sunday in clashes with security forces. Using artillery, Pakistani security forces targeted militant hideouts in the Hazeri and Koy Kaley areas of the agency.
A government primary school for girls was destroyed by militants in Khyber agency on Sunday. The school was located in the Landi Kotal area of the agency. Although the school was completely destroyed, no injuries were reported.
Armed men torched 10 NATO oil tankers on Saturday morning in Peshawar. According to reports, as many as 18 men broke into a depot where NATO trucks were parked and poured gas on some of the vehicles before igniting them. In addition to the 10 vehicles that were completely destroyed, another 24 NATO resupply trucks were also damaged in the attack. Security officials are investigating the incident and are working to determine the identity of the attackers. 
Five militants were killed while another 100 suspected militants were arrested in the Swat valley over the weekend. The five militants were killed during clashes with security forces in Tootano Bandai in Kabal sub-district. Elsewhere, security forces carried out a major search operation against suspected militants in the Chaparyal area of Matta sub-district. The operation reportedly netted over 100 suspected militants, who now being interrogated by officials.