Pakistan Security Brief
Pakistan Security Brief-October 29, 2010
New details emerge about D.C. terror plot suspect; NATO vehicles come under attack in Balochistan; U.S. Ambassador Munter makes visit first to Pakistan; Pentagon investigates network of private contractors spying in Afghanistan and Pakistan; Flood victims face new threats as winter season approaches.
D.C. Terror Plot
New details have emerged about Farooque Ahmed, the 34 year old naturalized American citizen from Pakistan, who plotted to bomb prominent Washington D.C. area metro stations. Reports confirm that Farooque moved to the United States from Pakistan in 1993 and became a citizen here ten years later. Federal authorities also report, that Ahmed told FBI agents posing as al-Qaeda operatives that after he traveled to Mecca next month for the Hajj, he would be “operational” and ready for martyrdom. Additionally, Farooque allegedly sought the opportunity to fight US forces in Afghanistan and Pakistan, learning martial arts and training with weapons and knives. Ahmed is charged with conspiring to support an al-Qaeda plot to bomb public transit and faces a maximum of 50 years in prison.
A driver was killed and a child was wounded after militants attacked two NATO supply vehicles on Friday in Balochistan. The first vehicle was attacked in Mangochar, some 12 miles from the capital city of Quetta. According to reports, gunmen on motorcycle opened fire on the vehicle and then set it ablaze after the driver fled. In the second incident, gunmen opened fire on a NATO container truck, killing the driver and wounding a 12 year old boy. No militant group has claimed responsibility for today’s attacks, but similar incidents in the past month have been linked to the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan.
Four Shia shop owners were killed after a car the men were riding in was attacked by gunmen in Quetta on Thursday. Police officials have confirmed the incident but report that no group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.
The newly appointed U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan, Cameron Munter, was in Karachi today where he visited the mausoleum of Muhammad Ali Jinnah (Quaid-i-Azam) and spoke to select media representatives. Munter told reporters that he was grateful for the warm welcome he received during his visit and that he was eager to “strengthen the bilateral ties between the US and Pakistan.” Munter emphasized that the United State was committed to supporting Pakistan’s role in the war on terror and that America seeks a long-term relationship with Pakistan based on mutual respect.
An internal government investigation has concluded that Michael D. Furlong, a senior Pentagon official, “deliberately mislead” top military generals and established a network of private contractors tasked with conducting spying operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The investigation also found that this network of “unauthorized” spies for hire, collected information in both countries that was given to top Pentagon officials and that was also used to justify strikes against militant targets in region. While private contractors are allowed to provide “atmospherics” or reports about a country’s political or tribal makeup, the Pentagon expressly forbids the hiring of contracted spies. Looking to stem the fallout, senior Pentagon officials have already conceded that “further investigation is warranted.”
A spokesmen for the United Nation’s, Adrian Edwards, told reporters on Friday that over a 100,000 Pakistanis will likely to be forced to spend the winter in relief camps. In many villages across the southern Sindh province, stagnant flood waters are preventing many victims from returning home. According to a report by the UNHCR, as recently as two weeks ago around a million people were still living in relief camps. However officials believe that that number is expected to fall substantially, as victims return home in preparation for winter. Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for Oxfam International warned that “the crisis is far from over” and that just three months after the floods, relief and recovery funds are already starting to dry up. Khan told reporters that dwindling funds are already impacting the availability of food and other much needed supplies.