Pakistan Security Brief
Pakistan Security Brief – September 20, 2010
Drone strikes continue to target Haqqani network militants in North Waziristan; tribal clashes intensify over irrigation water in Kurram; U.N. raises its appeal for Pakistan flood aid to $2 billion, several countries increase donations; 100,000 children affected by floods at risk of dying from malnutrition, 80% of homeless flood victims still without shelter.
A suspected U.S. drone strike on Sunday killed at least four militants when several missiles struck a house and two vehicles in the Datta Khel area of North Waziristan. On Monday, U.S. drones killed a total of at least 10 more militants in North Waziristan when missiles separately struck a house in Shawa village near Mir Ali and militants riding a motorcycle in Darzinda village outside of Miramshah. The attacks were all believed to have targeted members of the Haqqani network.
At least 34 people were killed and more than 700 homes in five villages were set on fire in the Shalozan area of Kurram Agency as tribal clashes over irrigation water intensified on Saturday. Locals report that more than 130 people have been killed since the fighting began a few days ago between members of the Bangash and Mangal tribes. Two children were also reportedly killed when government helicopters began shelling the area in a failed attempt to deter the fighting.
Security forces conducted a search operation in the Jamrud sub-district of Khyber Agency on Friday. Troops killed one suspect and arrested 21 others during raids on hideouts in the Wazir Dhand and Shahkas areas that resulted in the seizure of heavy weapons, drugs, and ammunition. On Saturday, security forces safely recovered a kidnapped hostage and arrested 25 suspects during a search operation in Bara sub-district. A large quantity of narcotics was also seized during the searches.
On Friday, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon issued a new appeal for countries and humanitarian groups to raise $2 billion to help Pakistan recover from its flood disaster. The request includes the U.N.'s initial aid appeal of $500 million and exceeds the U.N.'s previously largest request for aid of $1.5 billion in response to the earthquake in Haiti. Ban further called for an "urgent"international response to the floods in Pakistan during an international ministerial meeting on Sunday that was held to discuss the flood disaster and drew leaders from around 25 countries, including U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. At the meeting Ban said that the floods in Pakistan was "one of the biggest, most complex natural disasters faced in the history of the United Nations." Several countries announced increases in aid contributions during the course of Sunday's meeting. The U.S. raised its donations to around $340 million, the EU to $315 million, and Iran to $100 million while Britain announced that it would double its aid commitments to $210 million. Despite the announced aid increases, Oxfam International spokesman Louis Belanger called the meeting "yet another letdown by the international community" as he accused donor nations of "dragging their feet" by "postponing the delivery of much-needed humanitarian relief money."
Some donors are putting pressure on Pakistan to reform its tax system to help fund flood relief and reconstruction efforts and has called for the country to raise taxes on the country's rich. Pakistan currently has one of the lowest tax rates in the world at around nine-percent and a recent report estimates that less than two-percent of the population pays its income taxes while certain major economic sectors, such as agriculture, are completely tax exempt. On Sunday, World Bank President Robert Zoellick called on Pakistan to take steps to ensure "transparency, accountability and flexibility" in the distribution of its aid funding ahead of a meeting scheduled for October in which the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank will review a joint report assessing the flood damage. Pakistan is expected to endure harsh economic times in the wake of the flood disaster, with experts predicting inflation rates to increase as much as 20% in 2011 while economic growth is projected to drop from 4.5% to 2.5% or lower.
On Sunday, the Asian Development Bank has announced a $500 million loan to help Pakistan recover from its devastating flood disaster. The loan will fund the import of critical supplies for flood relief and reconstruction such as food, medicine, and farm equipment. The bank's president, Haruhiko Kuroda, said that the loan could also attract private sector financing which holds the potential to multiply the loan's value to as much as $2 billion.
Officials from UNICEF have warned that more than 100,000 flood-affected children under the age of five are at severe risk of dying from malnutrition over the next six months. An emergency nutritionist working for UNICEF in southern Pakistan said that the flooding in Pakistan has had a devastating effect on children who were on the "brink of being malnourished" prior to the disaster and warned that "there's just not the capacity to treat this level of severe acute malnutrition." The U.N.'s International Organization for Migration also reported on Friday that more than 80-percent of the 10 million people who have been left homeless by the floods are still without shelter and that current funds would only allow relief agencies to provide shelter for 50-percent of the homeless flood victims.
On Saturday Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif inaugurated the first model village designed to shelter flood victims in Khangarh district and said that locals affected by the flooding should expect to receive monetary relief compensation from the local government by mid-October. Sharif also toured other areas of Punjab in order to survey other areas of the province where more model villages can be built.
A girls' school in the Charkha Khel area of Peshawar sustained damage in a pre-dawn bomb blast on Saturday from explosives that had been placed on the building by suspected Taliban militants. Speaking prior to the attack, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Education Minister Sadar Hussain Babak said that Taliban bombings have destroyed more than 1,000 schools throughout the province and that the government will need at least Rs 5 billion ($58.4 million) to rebuild the schools.
The bodies of at least six militants killed in clashes between two rival militant groups were discovered in Darra Adam Khel on Sunday. The two factions reportedly exchanged heavy gunfire in the Ankhorwal graveyard area of the city on Saturday evening.
- On Saturday, Interior Minister Rehman Malik sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder requesting the release and repatriation of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui. Malik noted the public concern in Pakistan regarding the case of Dr. Siddiqui, saying that her release would create goodwill towards the U.S.
- At least 11 people were shot to death in Karachi over the weekend as part of the latest wave of target killings.