Pakistan Security Brief
Pakistan Security Brief – September 15, 2010
Third U.S. drone strike in 24 hours kills 12 militants in North Waziristan, cousin of Sirajuddin Haqqani believed killed in a previous drone strike; Al-Qaeda number two Zawahiri releases video criticizing the Pakistani government, issues a call to jihad; U.S. special envoy Holbrooke visits flood-affected areas of Pakistan; Musharraf to launch new political party on October 1; Afghan President Karzai arrives in Islamabad for high-level talks.
At least 12 militants were killed in a U.S. drone strike in North Waziristan on Wednesday, making this the third such attack in the past 24 hours. A volley of missiles struck two militant compounds in the village of Dargah Mandi on the outskirts of Miramshah. One intelligence official said that all of those killed were Pakistani Taliban linked to the Haqqani network while another security official said that members of the Punjabi Taliban were among the dead. No high-value targets were reported to have been present at the time of the attack. In addition, intelligence officials now believe that a top Afghan Taliban commander and first cousin of Sirajuddin Haqqani was among those killed in a U.S. drone strike in North Waziristan on Tuesday.
A roadside bomb blast struck a security forces convoy in Khyber Agency on Wednesday, wounding five soldiers. The convoy was en route to a Frontier Corps camp when it was hit by the explosion. Security forces cordoned off the area and began a search operation following the attack.
- A new video released on Wednesday shows Al-Qaeda’s second in command Ayman al-Zawahiri harshly criticizing the Pakistani government for its slow response to the flood disaster and calls upon Pakistanis to embrace jihad against the government. During the 44-minute video, entitled “A Victorious Ummah, A Broken Crusade: Nine Years After the Start of the Crusader Campaign,” Zawahiri claimed that “the primary concern of the ruling class in the government and army of Pakistan is filling their domestic and foreign bank accounts with dollars” at the expense of the Pakistani people. The tape was believed to have been made to coincide with the anniversary of 9/11.
Richard Holbrooke, the U.S. special envoy for Pakistan and Afghanistan, arrived in Thatta district on Wednesday as part of his scheduled visit to several flood-affected areas of Sindh this week. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said that the purpose of Holbrooke’s visit is to make an assessment of “what the most critical needs on the ground are” in order to help the U.S. establish how to best assist Pakistan with its flood relief and reconstruction efforts.
Hussain Haqqani, Pakistan’s ambassador to the U.S., met with Attorney General Eric Holder on Tuesday to discuss the case of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui. Haqqani reportedly demanded the withdrawal of the case against Siddiqui conviction. Holder acknowledged the high emotions in Pakistan surrounding the case but said that the legal proceedings would be carried out in accordance with U.S. law.
- Speaking at an investor conference in Hong Kong on Wednesday, former President Pervez Musharraf announced that he will launch a new political party in London on October 1 and also indicated that he is planning to run for a parliamentary seat in the 2013 general election. Musharraf said that the All Pakistan Muslim League would be set up with the goal of bringing about a “new political culture in Pakistan.”
- Afghan President Hamid Karzai arrived in Islamabad on Wednesday ahead of scheduled talks with top ranking Pakistani officials to discuss a wide-ranging set of bilateral issues. Karzai was greeted on arrival by Minister for Food and Agriculture Nazar Mohammad Gondal upon his arrival at Chaklala Air Base and is set to hold talks with President Asif Ali Zardari later in the day. During his visit Karzai will also meet with Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, and Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, among other Pakistani leaders.
Rising water levels at Manchar Lake flooded 25 more villages in the Sehwan and Johi areas of Sindh province on Tuesday. Local residents and workers of the irrigation department struggled to raise the embankment as irrigation officials decided on a plan to drain part of the lake into the Indus River.
Donations for flood relief in Rawalpindi and Islamabad have yet to resume following the pause during Eid-ul Fitr. Some relief officials said that donations were being made until the last day of Ramadan and are optimistic that funding will begin to return to its previous levels as people return to the cities following the Eid holiday. However, other relief coordinators remained doubtful that domestic aid will return to its previous levels, saying that most aid now comes from foreign sources. On Tuesday, Canada announced that it will contribute an additional $7.5 million towards flood relief efforts, bringing its total donations to just over $40 million.
Officials of the Karachi health department on Tuesday directed town health officers not to accept drugs or medication from any non-governmental organization or foreign donors that are providing medical supplies to health camps for flood victims which have been set up throughout the city. Health officials said that the order was given to avoid the duplication and misuse of medical resources and because it was unclear under which authority many of the NGO’s missions were operating. Government doctors have been directed to accept donations and medical supplies from foreign aid groups only after consulting with top-ranking health officials.
- Two activists belonging to the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) were killed in separate shooting incidents in Karachi on Tuesday. Meanwhile, police discovered three bullet-riddled bodies under a construction building in the Chowrangi area of the city and later seized a large arms and ammunition cache during a separate raid in Nazimabad.