Pakistan Security Brief
Pakistan Security Brief –November 30 - December 1, 2009
Pakistani military operations in Orakzai, Kurram and Khyber agencies kill several TTP and LI militants; President Obama issues a warning and offer of partnership in a letter to President Zardari; a tribal militia in the Peshawar region calls for a military operation against the influx of Taliban; General Kayani and President Zardari make statements regarding post-conflict development in South Waziristan agency; the Pakistani military nabs a senior TTP lieutenant in Tank district; the TTP assassinates a number of political and tribal opponents across the northwest frontier.
- The Pakistani military claims to have killed sixty-one militants in its current operation in Khyber Agency of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). A spokesman for the military claimed that forces had taken control of Gurgurai, an area in Khyber where Lashkar-e-Islam(LI) militants had allegedly established a base of operations. The military also clarified that the targets of its operations in Khyber and Orakzai agency were the TTP and LI and that searches were underway for Tariq Afridi, the TTP chief in Khyber Agency, and Mangal Bagh, the leader of LI. The military claimed that after securing enemy strongholds in Khyber agency, it planned on marching into Orakzai agency from where it claims a number of militants are training and infiltrating into Peshawar and beyond in order to conduct terrorist attacks. In neighbouring Kurram agency, at least ten militants were killed in military operations on Monday. The military has launched operations in Kurram and Orakzai agencies, targeting fighters fleeing from its ongoing operation in South Waziristan agency.
- President Obama, in a letter to President Zardari hand-delivered by National Security Advisor Jim Jones, has called on Pakistan to do more in the fight against Al-Qaeda and the Taliban while warning that Pakistan’s use of insurgent groups to pursue its foreign policy objectives “cannot continue.” In the same letter, Obama offered increased strategic and economic ties with Pakistan and offered to help reduce tensions between India and Pakistan. The letter also assured Pakistan that the U.S. had planned to increase its efforts in Afghanistan and had no plans for an early withdrawal.
- In a sign of growing opposition to Taliban influence, members of a local tribal militia in the Frontier Region Peshawar area have called for a government operation to oust an influx of TTP militants from South Waziristan and local LI militants. The “Qaumi Lashkar of Adezai” has claimed that it is trying to combat the TTP influx but that it lacks the manpower, weapons and support necessary to do so effectively. Elsewhere, reports indicate that Taliban militants fleeing to Kurram and Orakzai agencies have encountered local ire as those militants fleeing the South Waziristan operation are seen by terrified locals as piratical outsiders. According to interviews with militant leaders in Orakzai, even the local Orakzai branches of the TTP have laid conditions on their provision of shelter to the migrant members of the South Waziristani TTP.
- Pakistan Army chief General Kayani on Sunday said that the army would conduct post-conflict reconstruction operations after it had established “an atmosphere conducive to safe return of displaced people.” Meanwhile, President Zardari has asked NWFP governor Owais Ghani to finalize a rehabilitation and development plan that includes shot- medium- and long-term reconstruction and rehabilitation goals.
- In its first success against an element of the TTP’s leadership, the Pakistani military claims to have arrested a senior lieutenant of TTP chief Hakimullah Mehsud. The military claims that TTP commander Abdullah Shah Mehsud, number seventeen on Pakistan’s list of twenty most-wanted individuals and carrying a bounty of $120,000, was arrested in the town of Tank on Saturday.
- Several opponents of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) have been assassinated in the last few days in Pakistan. On Monday, a leading politician in the Swat valley was killed in a bomb blast near Mingora. Elsewhere, in Bajaur agency, a pro-government tribal elder was assassinated on Friday in a bomb attack. The body of another pro-government tribal elder was discovered in Mohmand agency on Friday after he was kidnapped by alleged Taliban militants on Thursday.