Pakistan Security Brief
Indian fire kills Ranger in Punjab; Indian National Security Adviser wants to talk to Pakistan even if attacks against India do not stop; NSA reportedly involved in intelligence gathering for drone strikes; Taliban claims al Qaeda is still strong in Afghanistan; Bomb defused in Peshawar; Local officials blame TTP offshoot for Dera Ismail Khan bombing; Imran Khan expresses sadness over assassination of provincial minister, still wants TTP talks.
The Pakistani military claimed that a member of the paramilitary Punjab Rangers had been killed by Indian firing across the border near Chaprar, Sialkot district, Punjab on Thursday. Pakistan alleges that the firing was unprovoked.
At a speech on Tuesday, Indian National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon said that India should negotiate with the “saner” elements in Pakistan even if terrorist attacks against India continue. He said that the perfect conditions for talks with Pakistan will never exist, and that talking to those in Pakistan willing to negotiate would weaken the extremists. He also responded to a group of retired diplomats who advised Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to refuse to meet with Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, saying that the “self-styled experts…betray a lack of self-confidence.”
U.S. Drone Strikes
On Wednesday, the Washington Post reported that the National Security Agency (NSA) participates in intelligence gathering that leads to American drone strikes. The NSA reportedly helped find Hassan Ghul, an al Qaeda leader who was killed in a drone strike in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) in 2012. According to information provided by Edward Snowden, the NSA intercepted emails by Ghul’s wife that revealed his whereabouts. The report also confirmed that the U.S. had killed Ghul, a fact which had been suspected but never officially acknowledged by the United States.
U.S. Withdrawal from Afghanistan
On Sunday, the Afghan Taliban released a statement claiming that the United States has been defeated in Afghanistan and that President Barack Obama is trying to hide this fact from the American people. The Taliban also mentioned al Qaeda, saying that the group was the United States’ excuse for invading the country in 2001, and the dismantling of the group is the excuse for leaving it now. The Taliban went on to say that al Qaeda has not, in fact, been destroyed in Afghanistan. The Afghan Taliban rarely makes direct reference to al Qaeda in its statements.
On Thursday, a Bomb Disposal Squad (BDS) received information about a suspicious package near a road in the Hayatabad Phase 6 area of Peshawar. The package was determined to be a bomb and the BDS successfully defused it.
In the aftermath of a suicide bombing in Dera Ismail Khan on Wednesday that killed ten people including a Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa provincial minister, officials have blamed a Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) offshoot in the area called the Gandapur Group. However, the spokesman for Ansarul Mujahideen, a TTP-allied group, claimed responsibility for the attack.
On Wednesday, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Imran Khan responded to the assassination of one of his party’s provincial ministers in a suicide bombing, saying that he was “stunned” and “devastated”. He also said that the government should not “drift into inaction” with respect to talks with the TTP promised at the September All Parties Conference (APC).