Pakistan Security Brief
Pakistan Security Brief – September 22, 2010
Twin drone strikes target militants in South Waziristan; police claim 30 militants killed in joint operation in Peshawar; U.S. Special Envoy Holbrooke says flood disaster has constrained Pakistan's ability to fight militancy; lake overflow in southern Sindh displaces 100,000 more people.
At least 14 militants were killed between two separate U.S. drone strikes in South Waziristan on Tuesday evening, both of which targeted militants belonging to the Maulvi Nazir group. In the first attack, seven militants were killed when two missiles struck a vehicle in the Khund area as it was crossing into Afghanistan. Another seven militants were killed when four missiles hit a militant compound in the Azam Warsak area later in the evening.
Helicopter gunships shelled areas of upper Kurram on Tuesday, killing five people and wounding four others. The attack was part of the government's latest effort to stop an ongoing conflict between tribal groups over irrigation water that has claimed nearly 150 lives over the past two weeks.
- On Tuesday, police claimed to have killed at least 30 militants in a series of gunfights that occurred during an ongoing "search operation" in Frontier Region Peshawar. Police Chief Liaqat Ali Khan said that the joint operation –which involved army, police, and paramilitary forces—began on Saturday evening and targeted militants in the towns of Paspanwa, Hasankhel, and Bora who were attacking and kidnapping members of the local peace committee. Three policemen were killed and five troops were wounded during the course of the operation.
Richard Holbrooke, the U.S. special envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan, said on Tuesday that Pakistan's flood disaster has constrained the country's ability to combat militancy due to the "tens of thousands of troops" which have been diverted to assist with flood relief efforts. Holbrooke further said that this diversion of forces was the primary reason that Pakistan has failed to respond to Washington"s requests to go after the Haqqani network in North Waziristan, noting that "the army has been the major factor in the rescue effort, and you can't do both things at once."
On Tuesday, U.N. spokesman Maurizio Guiliano said that a new surge in floodwaters starting at Manchar Lake in southern Sindh on Friday has displaced another 100,000 people. Giuliano further said that the lake burst has "completely washed away" houses and crops in Jamshoro district.
U.N. officials said on Wednesday that more than 10,000 schools have been either fully or partially damaged during Pakistan's flood disaster. The damaged schools, constituting between five and six percent of all schools in the country, have affected around 2 million students in a country already struggling to meet literacy goals and the U.N. has said that yet another large investment is necessary in order to rebuild the country's education infrastructure. On Wednesday, provincial authorities ordered the reopening of schools in flood-affected areas of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. Many flood victims are refusing, however, to vacate the school buildings that were being used as relief shelters.
- On Tuesday, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi called on the United States to "invest its political capital in trying to help seek an accommodation on Kashmir." Qureshi issued the request during his visit to New York at the U.N. session on Pakistan's flood disaster. Qureshi's comments came as Indian security forces imposed its tenth straight day of curfew in Kashmir amid protests and civil unrest that has claimed 107 lives since June.
Sino-Pak Nuclear Power Deal
- U.S. Under Secretary for Nuclear Security Tom D'Agostino said on Wednesday that the 46-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group should evaluate China's agreement to build two new nuclear reactors in Pakistan. D'Agostino's comments came in response to China's indication on Tuesday that it saw no need to seek NSG approval for the nuclear power deal.
- On Tuesday, police of Karachi's Criminal Investigation Department arrested an alleged "mastermind" believed to have been behind multiple incidents of targeted killings throughout the city, including several attacks that targeted senior police officers. The suspect, named Ishtiaq alias "Police Wala", was identified as a former police officer who was dismissed in 2009 for having a criminal record. A CID official said that Ishtiaq was wanted in connection with the murder of Inspector Nasir-ul-Hasan and Deputy Superintendent of Police Nawaz Ranjha as well as several other cases of targeted killings.