Pakistan Security Brief
Pakistan Security Brief-November 30, 2010
Wikileaks revelations detail how world leaders view Pakistan; Haqqani and TTP representatives meet with Kurram Shia counterparts; Terror plot thwarted in Karachi; Indian cyber attack cripples Pakistani government websites; Unnamed military official offers candid views on U.S.-Pakistan relationship; Six dead in suicide blast in Bannu.
Diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks reveal that world governments have “strong doubts” about Pakistan’s ability to keep its nuclear weapons program out of the hands of terrorists and their sympathizers. While in the past, governments, including the United States, have publically voiced their confidence in Pakistan’s ability to protect its nuclear weapons, leaked cables from officials around the world demonstrate serious closed-door reservations. In one instance, Yuriy Korolev, a Russian Foreign Ministry official meeting with U.S. diplomats in Washington, detailed an incident in which militants killed and captured a number of workers from a Pakistani nuclear facility. Other cables from Russia and elsewhere detail the fear that some working in Pakistan’s nuclear program may share the same beliefs as Islamic extremists: “there are 120,000 to 130,000 people directly involved in Pakistan's nuclear and missile programs… there is no way to guarantee that all are 100% loyal and reliable.”
Israel wanted to keep President Musharraf in power to prevent the country’s nuclear program from falling into the “hands of an Islamic regime,” according to a cable between Meir Dagan, the chief of Israel’s Mossad, and U.S. Undersecretary Nicolas Burns. Citing numerous assassination plots, the Mossad chief feared that militants would soon succeed in killing Musharraf and that he had serious doubts the President could survive the next few years. In another confidential communiqué, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak called Pakistan a “nightmare” and said that “everything would change” if a truly Islamic government were to come to power in Islamabad. In the document, Barak also questions whether an Israeli counter-proliferation strike at Iranian nuclear installations might “backfire” by angering moderate Muslims in Pakistan.
Jasmine Zerinini, the head of the French Interagency cell on Afghanistan-Pakistan, alleged that Pakistan’s Chief of the Army Staff General Kayani deliberately stirred controversy to try to block the Kerry-Lugar bill that would have tied U.S. aid money to greater civilian control of military matters. Zerinini also believes that Kayani likes to exercise his power from behind the scenes, having learned from the example of his predecessor, former President Pervez Musharraf. Zerinini’s cables also expose her conviction that the West missed an opportunity in 2002 to “crush” the Afghan Taliban when it failed to get the Pakistani military to prevent the Taliban from taking refuge in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas.
Shia Muslims in Kurram agency are shielding extremist militants from U.S. drone strikes and allowing them to cross into Afghanistan to fight coalition forces. According to a report by the Associated Press, members of the Haqqani Network have negotiated a deal with local Shia tribes in which the network’s fighters would be given safe haven and passage into Afghanistan. In return, the Haqqanis have promised to mediate conflicts between Kurram’s Shia community and hostile Sunni militants who have targeted the community in recent years. As a part of deal with the Turi tribe, members from the Haqqani Network worked yesterday to mediate a peace agreement between the tribe and Sunni militants in Kurram that are linked to Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan. The talks, held yesterday in Islamabad, ended in failure because Sunni militants would only accept an agreement that allowed them unfettered access to Thall-Parachinar Road and the ability to travel to and from Afghanistan via Kurram Agency at anytime, a condition the Shias refused to grant.
Four members of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) were arrested in Karachi on Tuesday after authorities discovered they were planning attacks in the city. The suspects were captured in a raid by security forces in the Sohrab Goth area of Karachi. According to reports, three suicide jackets, rifles, pistols and explosives were recovered in the raid. A spokesman for Sindh police told reporters, “Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud sent them to Karachi to launch terror attacks.”
At least 36 Pakistani government websites were hacked by a group calling themselves the “Indian Cyber Army.” The hackers managed to gain access to a single server that hosted all of the affected government websites. Websites belonging to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Education, and Ministry of Finance were all impacted, and some of them featured messages venerating those killed in the Mumbai attacks. So far, no Pakistani government officials have commented on the incident.
In an interview with Dawn News, a senior Pakistani military official offered his candid views of the relationship between the United States and Pakistan. The official told reporters that Pakistan had fallen from the United States’ partner in the War of Terror to its “most bullied ally,” and that the current relationship between the two nations is “transactional.” The senior military officials, who asked not to be named, warned that the United States seeks “controlled chaos” in the country and the “real aim [of the US] is to de-nuclearize Pakistan.”
Six people were killed and another 17 were wounded after a suicide bomber attacked a police vehicle on Tuesday in Bannu. According to reports, the bomber approached the police vehicle on foot and then denoted his explosives when he was beside it. At least one police office was among the dead. A spokesmen for the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan has claimed responsibility for the attack.