Pakistan Security Brief
Pakistan Security Brief – October 8, 2010
Pakistani envoy, European intelligence officials say U.S. travel alert in Europe may be politically motivated; jihadist website reveals German militant connected with al-Qaeda plot in Europe was killed in drone strike earlier this week; top Pentagon officials “concerned” about ISI’s interactions with militant groups; TTP claims responsibility for Karachi suicide bombing.
Europe Terror Plot
- On Friday, Pakistan’s top envoy to Britain, high commissioner Wajid Shamsul Hasan, expressed his belief that the U.S. travel alert in response to the alleged al-Qaeda terror plot in Europe may have been motivated by “internal political dynamics,” including the upcoming mid-term elections. Hasan further said that “if the Americans have definite information about terrorists and al-Qaeda people, we should be provided [with] that and we could go after them ourselves.” Some European intelligence officials have voiced similar concerns that the White House might have issued the announcement for political gain. They criticized the United States’ vagueness regarding the plot, with one official saying that “to stitch together [the terror plot claims] in a seamless narrative is nonsensical.”
According to a Turkish jihadist website on Thursday, a militant from Hamburg, Germany with suspected involvement in the recently uncovered al-Qaeda plot in Europe was among four foreign militants killed in a U.S. drone strike in North Waziristan earlier this week. The website claimed that Abu Askar al-Almani, an alias for Shahab Dashti, is an Iranian-German who left Hamburg in the spring of 2009 to join the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU).
A bomb detonated inside a mosque belonging to the banned group Lashkar-e-Islam in the Bara sub-district of Khyber Agency on Friday. Although there were no casualties reported, the blast caused severe damage to the building.
On Thursday, Pentagon spokesman Colonel David Laplan revealed that senior U.S. defense officials have expressed concern about certain elements of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency’s interactions with militant groups. Laplan further said that although the ISI has “done a great deal in fighting terrorism” the Pentagon still remains concerned about “the strategic focus of the ISI”, adding that “elements of the ISI might be interacting with terrorist organizations in ways that aren’t consistent with what the government and the military are doing.”
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani will be part of a Pakistani delegation that is set to attend the next round of the U.S.-Pakistan strategic dialogue in Washington later this month. The talks will be held at the State Department and are scheduled for October 21-22.
- On Friday, Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani ordered an official inquiry into two video clips that allegedly depict Pakistani soldiers executing a group of blindfolded prisoners during last year’s military operations in Swat. Kayani stated that the inquiry will establish if the men in the clips, which were shot with cell phone cameras, were actually Pakistan Army personnel, pointing out that militants have posed as soldiers in the past. Kayani also said that “it is not expected of a professional army to engage in excesses against the people whom it is trying to guard against the scourge of terrorism.”
The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has claimed responsibility for yesterday’s suicide attack on a Sufi shrine in Karachi which killed at least eight people and left dozens more wounded. In an address to the National Assembly on Friday, Interior Minister Rehman Malik said that one of the bombers has been identified as a member of the Mehsud tribe and that the attack has been traced back to Waziristan. Security remains tight in Karachi as police have increased patrols throughout the city in the wake of the attack.
One person was killed and four buses were set ablaze in different areas of Karachi on Thursday evening during the chaos that ensued after yesterday’s double suicide bombing at the Abdullah Shah Ghazi shrine. A young man was shot to death and another man was wounded during a shooting incident on Nishtar Road while four public buses were set on fire in another part of the city. Gunfire could be heard throughout the city for several hours as shopkeepers and petrol stations closed down in response to the violence.
Mumbai Terror Attack
- On Thursday, Interpol announced that India has issued arrest warrants for five Pakistani citizens in connection with the 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai. The warrants were issued following a probe by India’s National Investigation Agency into the role of American David Headley in the attack. Headley plead guilty to taking part in planning the attack back in March. Among the five suspects named in the warrants are two Pakistani army officers, one of whom was allegedly Headley’s handler.