Pakistan Security Brief
Pakistani military claims eighteen militants, two soldiers dead after third day of operation Rah-e-Nijat (Path to Deliverance); forces begin consolidating areas seized as they subdue Sharwangi and surround Kotkai; CENTCOM Commander General Petraeus and Senator John Kerry meet Pakistani General Kayani; U.S. and European couter-terrorism officials fear influx of westerners to Waziristan for jihadi training; Karachi police arrest Taliban commander in Karachi; Pakistan military airdrops leaflets into Waziristan urging Mehsud tribesmen to rise up against Taliban; reports that U.S. military is coordinating with Pakistan army including use of drones for Waizirstan operation.
- According to a report released by the Pakistani army, eighteen militants were killed in the last twenty-four hours. Two soldiers were also killed in the continued operation into South Waziristan against the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and other related militants. The offensive has slowed while the military consolidates the positions it has siezed. The military is reportedly enveloping the militant stronghold of Kotkai, the alleged hometown of TTP commander Qari Hussain. Security forces have secured Tor Ghundai, Sherwangi and Shishwarm and have begun securing the area south and southwest of Razmak, close to Makin (read more on the South Waziristan operation).
- Senator John Kerry and CENTCOM Commander General David Petraeus met separately with General Kayani to discuss the security situation in Pakistan and the controversial Kerry-Lugar bill. Once again Senator Kerry denied charges that the aid bill contains restrictions on the military and infringes on Pakistan’s sovereignty. Kerry is expected to meet with President Zardari and Nawaz Sharif later Monday.
- US and European counter-terrorism officials believe that a large number of western recruits are travelling to Pakistan and Afghanistan to train at Jihadi camps with extremists. Among the largest of these groups are individuals from Germany, from which there are believed to be thirty such cases in the past year.
- A suspected TTP commander was arrested on Monday in Karachi. The police chief said that the TTP were planning a “big attack but the city has been saved from major disaster.” Akhtar Zaman was picked up in a raid on a residence with three other individuals. Weapons were seized including an anti-aircraft launcher and suicide vests.
- A senior US official has reportedly told the Wall Street Journal that the US and Pakistani forces are working together on both sides of the Durand line to prevent militants from crossing the border or receiving supplies from Afghanistan. The official also said that the US military is assisting the Pakistanis with the help of drones and in intercepting electronic communications.
- The government air-dropped leaflets into South Waziristan encouraging the Mehsud tribe to rise up against the TTP. The letter from General Kayani made it clear that the operation was not against the Mehsud tribe but instead targeted only members of the TTP. In the open letter Kayani said he believed that the Mehsud tribe would raise a tribal militia against the TTP and foreign militants.