Pakistan Security Brief
Pakistan Security Brief - October 17, 2009�
Day two of Operation Rah-e-Nijat (Path to Deliverance); Pakistani forces claim to have killed sixty militants, lost five soldiers; army captures Spinkai Raghzai, enters Tiarza, continues to face resistance at Sharwangi; TTP spokesman claims militants are beating army back; rumors circulate of Afghan Taliban lending assistance to TTP; TTP starts fundraising drive in parts of FATA and NWFP; NWFP government declares Swat-like aid program for IDPs; U.S. General Petraeus to visit Islamabad on Monday.
- On the second day of the Pakistani military operation against the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militants in South Waziristan, the army claims to have killed sixty militants at a loss of five of its own personnel. Army spokesman Athar Abbas said the military was encountering less resistance than expected, but qualified that the army was yet to move into the main TTP strongholds. According to media reports, security forces captured the militant-held town of Spinkai Raghzai on Saturday night and erected a checkpost not far from Kotkai, the alleged home of TTP leader, Hakimullah Mehsud. According to reports, troops moved into the town of Tiarza, but continued to face stiff resistance in the Sharwangi area for the second day in a row. Military aircraft also bombed the TTP strongholds of Ladha and Makin while troops continued to surround the towns and secure nearby strategic heights. Despite the communications blackout, a TTP spokesman was able to call the media to refute claims of the army's advance. Spokesman Azam Tariq claimed that the Taliban had beaten the army back and "had not conceded one inch of territory." Residents of the area reported that the military was facing tough resistance and was relying on air-support to attack militants entrenched in higher ground. Pakistani dailies The News and DAWN also carried reports suggesting the involvement of the Afghan Taliban on the side of the TTP; however, there is no concrete evidence as of yet to confirm the assertions.
- The TTP has allegedly started a fund-raising drive in Orakzai Agency, parts of Kurram Agency and Hangu district. Militants are "demanding cash for weapons, food and medicines" in anticipation of a protracted campaign in South Waziristan. According to one local, "many politicians, businessmen, drug barons and jewelers in Kohat, Hangu, Thall, Kurram Agency, Darra Adamkhel and Bannu" had been making periodic donations to the TTP cause.
- The government of Pakistan's North West Frontier Province (NWFP) has declared it will implement a relief campaign for those displaced by the fighting in Waziristan along similar lines to the one it launched for internally displaced people (IDPs) following the military operation in Swat. Authorities have started handing out cash-cards to families registering as IDPs. Authorities in Dera Ismail Khan and Tank report that over 12,000 families have recently registered as displaced by the fighting.
- General David Petraeus, the U.S. commander of CENTCOM, is supposed to travel to Pakistan on Monday for talks with senior Pakistani military commanders regarding the ongoing operation in Waziristan.�
Alamgir Bitani "Pakistani forces battle Taliban in S.Waziristan", Reuters, October 18, 2009. Available at http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUSTRE59E0GP20091018?feedType=RSS&feedName=worldNews
"Street fighting in Taliban bases", BBC, October 18, 2009. Available at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/8313317.stm
Sailab Mehsud , "Troops make steady gains in South Waziristan", Dawn News, October 19, 2009. Available at http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/pakistan/04-troops-pound-south-waziristan-militant-positions-qs-06
Najeeb Ahmad, "Al-Qaeda, Afghan and Pakistan Taliban join forces", The News, October 18, 2009. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/top_story_detail.asp?Id=25076