Pakistan Security Brief

White House counterterrorism chief John Brennan claims al Qaeda is weakened; 80 percent of insurgent bombs in Afghanistan composed of Pakistani fertilizer; US and Pakistan attempt to ease tensions; Pakistani and Indian troops exchange fire in Kashmir; Armed gunmen kill seven in Lower Kurram; Pakistani Army clears 80 percent of Mohmand; US State Department report condemns Pakistani prosecution efforts of suspected militants; Senior naval officer and three others killed in Karachi; President Zardari favors the development of China/Eurasian corridor; Energy shortages effect Pakistani economy.

Al Qaeda in Decline

  • White House counterterrorism chief John Brennan claimed that last week’s drone strike which killed Atiyah Abd al Rahman, al Qaeda’s second-in-command, delivered a “huge blow” and bolstered recent U.S military efforts further diminishing al Qaeda’s operational strength. The statement was the first official confirmation from the White House of Rahman’s death. Brennan cited recent U.S drone attacks as vital to disrupting al-Qaeda’s operational capacity, saying, “If they’re worrying about their security… they’re going to have less time to plot and plan”. [1]

Pakistani Fertilizer in Afghan bombs

  • The U.S military claims that 80 percent of insurgent bombs used in Afghanistan are composed of fertilizer smuggled across the border from Pakistan.  Last year, Pakistan’s largest plant, Pakarab Fertilizers Ltd., produced enough calcium nitrate fertilizer to build 140,000 bombs. The U.S began talks with Pakistani government officials and Pakarab a year and a half ago but the talks have yet to result in any regulation on the distribution or sale of calcium ammonium nitrate fertilizer. [2]

U.S.–Pakistan Relations

  • Pakistani military officials have requested that the U.S. sign a “memorandum of understanding” where the U.S. would agree to disclose the number of CIA operatives in Pakistan, notify Pakistan of planned drone strikes, and promise to loop-in Islamabad of operational plans if the U.S. locates al Qaeda chief Ayman al Zawahri in Pakistan.  The agreement seeks to cool tensions between the two countries that have increased in the wake of the bin Laden raid. U.S officials claim that they cannot commit to any specifics on paper that could limit future operations, but raised the possibility forging a bilateral statement of principles which would identify shared interests and goals.  [3]

Exchange of Fire across Line of Control

  • Late Wednesday night, Indian and Pakistani troops exchanged fire across the Line of Control, the border separating Indian- and Pakistani-administered parts of Kashmir, resulting in the death of three Pakistani paramilitary troops and one Indian officer. While each side has accused the other of firing first, according to the article it is unlikely that the incident will impact recent initiatives between the two countries to improve relations. [4]


  • Armed gunmen opened fire on a bus traveling from Alizai to Parachinar in the Lower Kurram agency. Local officials claim that of the 16-18 people on the bus, seven were killed in the attack, while one was wounded. The victims were all Shias. There has been no claim of responsibility so far. [5]

  • Corps Commander Peshawar Lt. Gen. Asif Yasin Malik claimed that the Pakistan Army had cleared 80 to 85 percent Mohmand agency of militant presence. The army has begun clearing the area of land mines to allow internally displaced people to return to the area. 72 soldiers were reportedly killed during the operation. [6]

Pakistani Courts Acquitting Terrorism Suspects

  • A 2010 US State Department report published last week criticized Pakistan’s efforts in the war on terror, saying it was “incapable of prosecuting terror suspects.” According to the report, although Pakistan actively prosecutes suspected terrorists under its Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC), the ATC’s acquittal rate of suspects was 75 percent. The report also criticized Islamabad’s failure to outlaw militant Islamic terror groups that avoid bans by simply changing their names as well as the government’s failure to close loop holes which have allowed terrorists to launder money. [7]

Violence in Karachi

  • A senior Pakistani naval officer was killed in Karachi on Thursday. Lt. Commander Nasir Nafees was fatally shot as he exited the Noor Islam mosque in Northern Karachi. Police are investigating whether the shooting is linked to Nafees’ investigation of the militant attack on the naval base PNS Mehran. [8]

  • Violence continues in Karachi during the second day of Eid. Three people were killed in separate incidents across the city on Thursday. Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah has announced that an operation mounted by a coalition of police and paramilitary Rangers will work to restore order in Karachi. [9]

Sino–Pakistan Relations:

  • Pakistani President Asif Zardari addressed the China-Eurasia Economic Development and Cooperation Forum in Xinjiang saying, “Pakistan is for enhanced rail, road and air connectivity in the region as it is the key to regional development”. In his address, Zardari emphasized the need to build a China/Eurasia corridor. He went on to emphasize the important economic and diplomatic relationship Pakistan enjoyed with China and offered assistance with China’s counterterrorism efforts in Xinjiang. [10]

Pakistan’s Energy Woes

  •  As a result of power shortages, the Pakistani government has implemented rolling blackouts across the country. Earlier this summer, government officials announced that it will take at least seven years to build up electrical generation capacity to support the entire country. The black outs have taken a huge economic toll on Pakistan’s textile industry and have resulted in plant shutdowns and layoffs. In Faisalabad, Pakistan’s textile capital, 200 of its 4,000 textile plants have closed over the past three years due to the blackouts. [11]

[1] Kimberly Dozier, “Counterterror chief: al-Qaida on ‘steady slide,” AP, August 31, 2011. Available at
[2] Chris Brummitt, “Pakistani fertilizer fuels Afghan bombs,” AP, August 31, 2011. Available at  
[3] “Pakistan, US struggle to define their relationship,” Dawn, September 1, 2011. Available at  
[4] “Three Pakistani soldiers killed in border Indian border firing,” Dawn, September 1, 2011. Available at   Lydia Polgreen, “Indian and Pakistan exchange fire in Kashmir,” NYTimes, September 1, 2011. Available at  
[5] “Gunmen kill seven passengers in lower Kurram,” Dawn, September 1, 2011. Available at  
[6] “Army claims 80 per cent of Mohmand cleared,” Dawn, September 1, 2011. Available at  
[7] “Pakistani court lets 3 out of every 4 suspects go: US State Dept,” Express Tribune, September 1 2011. Available at
[8] “Eid violence: Naval officer killed in North Karachi” Express Tribune, September 1, 2011. Available at  
[9] “Eid Killings: Three bodies picked up across Karachi,” Express Tribune, September 1, 2011. Available at  
[10] “Pakistan supports revival of Eurasian corridor: Zardari, “ Dawn, September 1, 2011. Available at  
[11] Alex Rodriguez, “Pakistan power shortages keep growth prospects dim,” LA Times. August 31 2011. Available at,0,3820777.story  
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