Pakistan Security Brief
Pakistan Security Brief-October 19, 2010
Indian Intelligence report claims the ISI aided Mumbai attackers; Drone strike kills six militants in North Waziristan; Pakistani delegation to arrive in Washington for “strategic dialogue”; Militants kill three Pakistani soldiers on patrol in South Waziristan; Pakistan’s Foreign Minister says Iran does not need nuclear program.
Mumbai Terror Plot
According to a classified Indian intelligence assessment obtained by the Guardian, the Pakistani ISI was heavily involved in preparations for the 2008 terror attack that claimed 160 lives in Mumbai. According to the report, which is based on the interrogation of U.S.-Pakistani citizen David Headley, the ISI routinely met with senior members of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) prior to the attack. The report alleges that while the ISI provided funding and other forms of aid to LeT for the attack, it is unlikely that senior member of the Pakistani intelligence agency were aware of the true scale of the Mumbai operation before it unfolded. According to the report, the ISI’s supervision of LeT was often “chaotic.” The report claims that members of the intelligence service were mostly concerned with “bolstering” the strength of militant groups with strong links to the Pakistani state to “prevent their being marginalized by more extreme radical groups” .
Six militants were killed and another five injured late on Monday in a U.S. drone strike in North Waziristan. A vehicle and militant compounds were destroyed in the strike that occurred in the Datta Khel area of the tribal agency. Officials indicated that the militants targeted in the operation belonged to a contingent of fighters aligned to local Taliban commander Hafiz Gul Bahadur and that some of the dead may have been from Turkmenistan.
US Pakistan Relations
Pakistani officials are scheduled to arrive in Washington late today in preparation for a summit meeting with top U.S. officials slated for later this week at the State Department. The Pakistani delegation will be led by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, but much of U.S. attention will likely focus on the head of Pakistan Army Gen. Ashfaq Kayani, who many consider to be the most powerful figure in the country. It has been reported that at the meeting, the U.S. is expected to offer Pakistan an additional $2 billion dollars in security related aid. According to the New York Times, the new aid package will include American military equipment, programs to train Pakistani military officers at U.S. war colleges, and special training in counterinsurgency tactics. In return for the security aid, the American delegation at this week’s meeting will likely push their Pakistani counterparts for a greater commitment to cracking down on militants operating in North Waziristan and the country’s other tribal areas. Speaking yesterday at the State Department, spokesmen P.J. Crowley summed up the U.S. position ahead of this week’s meeting, “Pakistan has taken aggressive action within its own borders. But clearly, this is an ongoing threat and more needs to be done.”
Three Pakistani soldiers were killed and two others wounded on Tuesday in an attack by militants in South Waziristan. The attack occurred in Kalundar Kalay area of the agency, some 37 miles north of Wana, the agency’s administrative headquarters. According to reports, militants ambushed the soldiers as they were conducting a routine patrol of the area.
Iranian Nuclear Program
Speaking yesterday at Harvard University, Pakistani Foreign Minister Qureshi said that Iran has “no justification” to obtain nuclear weapons and urged Tehran to support U.S. efforts bring their nuclear program under international compliance. At the conference, Qureshi told attendees that Iran faces no “immediate threat,” unlike Pakistan which faces a serious threat from neighboring India. According to the foreign minister, Iran’s continued nuclear development threatened to destabilize the region and he hoped that relevant nations would come together to avoid to “another major crisis in the region."
148 Pakistani lawmakers have been suspended after they failed to properly disclose their sources of income. Those suspended were members of both national and regional parliaments. Some of those suspended by the electoral committee also held ministerial positions. In order to be reinstated, the lawmakers will have to provide information about how much income they generate and from where they money originates.
President Zardari has scheduled an emergency meeting for late Tuesday night with the core members of his party, the Pakistan People’ Party (PPP). The meeting is being held to discuss mounting tensions between the President and the judiciary.
Seven people were killed yesterday in the latest round of political violence to sweep Karachi. Security officials report that the seven victims were all killed in politically motivated target killings. As many as 59 people have reportedly been killed in violence relating to Sunday’s special election to fill the seat of murdered MQM member Raza Haider. Yesterday, Interior Minister Rehman Malik met with members of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and the Awami National Party (ANP) in an attempt to quell the bloodshed.
Militants on motorbike attacked and then destroyed two NATO resupply vehicles on Tuesday as they passed through Balochistan in route to Afghanistan. The attack occurred in the town of Dasht Bado, 160 miles south the provincial capital of Quetta. Tuesday’s incident was the second attack on NATO vehicles in Balochistan in the last 24 hours.
Speaking at a press conference in Islamabad, UN spokeswoman Stacey Winston reported that as many as seven million people remain without shelter in areas affected by this summer’s flood crisis. As the winter season rapidly approaches, UN officials are working overtime to provide new shelters for victims as well as update existing shelters to better withstand cold temperatures. Winston also told reporters that so far only 35% of the $2 billion dollars in aid called for by the UN has been funded by member states.