Pakistan Security Brief
Pakistan Security Brief – November 24, 2010
Pakistan Army to withdraw forces from Swat; soldier killed in roadside bomb blast in South Waziristan; EU signs deal to boost Pakistan’s counter-terror and law enforcement capabilities.
The Pakistan Army has approved the withdrawal of one of the two infantry divisions currently active in Swat. The 37th infantry division will withdraw from the region at an undisclosed date while the 19th infantry division will remain in Swat and take over security responsibilities for the entire district.
On Tuesday, the civilian government granted Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani final authority to determine the conditions under which a military operation in North Waziristan will be launched. The decision was reached during a meeting attended by General Kayani, President Asif Ali Zardari, and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani. The three officials reportedly discussed key security issues throughout the country and also rejected the United States’ request to expand drone operations into other areas of the country.
One Pakistani soldier was killed and another was wounded in a roadside bomb explosion in South Waziristan on Wednesday. The blast occurred while the soldiers were on foot patrol in the Tiarza area.
Shelling from helicopter gunships killed 14 militants and wounded six others in Orakzai Agency on Monday. The strikes destroyed four militant hideouts in the Kot Killay and Khadezai areas of Upper Orakzai. Security forces also seized a large quantity of explosives during search operations in the Torkanri, Narek, and Mazigarhi areas.
A Pentagon report issued on Tuesday acknowledged Pakistan’s increasing cooperation with NATO forces in Afghanistan. However, the report, which covered April to September of this year, also concluded that Pakistan still has “not produced measurable results” towards eliminating militant safe havens in the county’s tribal areas bordering Afghanistan.
Two NATO helicopters reportedly crossed into Pakistani territory for several minutes before flying back into Afghan airspace. The alleged encroachment occurred in the Landi Kotal and Torkham areas, although Pakistani officials are still unable to positively confirm where the breach of airspace occurred.
- Officials from Pakistan and the European Union signed a memorandum of understanding on Wednesday, a cooperative agreement in which the EU will provide 15 million Euros worth of technical and financial assistance to Pakistani law enforcement agencies in order to boost their capacity to combat terrorism. The program, which is scheduled to be completed in 18 months, seeks to improve the capabilities of Pakistan’s National Counter-Terrorism Authority (NACTA) as well as the capabilities of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab police forces.
Intelligence agencies submitted an official report to the Supreme Court on Wednesday in which they deny that they are holding 11 terror suspects who disappeared after being acquitted back in June. The prisoners, who were charged in connection with four cases of terrorism, disappeared from the Adiala jail after being released into the custody of intelligence agencies and have not been seen since. The Lahore High Court determined that any extension of the prisoner’s detention is illegal.
Jamaat-ud-Dawa, the front organization for militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba, is expected to enjoy a large financial boon from selling animal hides acquired during this year’s Eid-al-Adha, the Feast of Sacrifice. According to former Jamaat-ud-Dawa spokesman Abdullah Muntazir, the group earned around $1.2 million from hide sales in 2009 and “the revenue is likely to increase this year” due to the organization’s increased popularity stemming from its charity work in the wake of Pakistan’s flood disaster. 
- Interior Minister Rehman Malik rejected allegations that Pakistan’s fund distribution program for flood recovery is corrupt, calling the system “foolproof.” The government launched a compensation program in which flood victims will be able to withdraw an eventual total of more than $1,000 for flood relief assistance from local banks using electronic cards. Approximately 38,000 cases of fraud have been reported so far with some flood victims reporting that they have been denied cards while others claim that the cash payments have disappeared from their accounts.