Pakistan Security Brief
Pakistan Security Brief – September 23, 2010
U.S. official confirms reports of CIA-trained Afghan paramilitary force operating against the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Pakistan; security forces continue their operation against the Taliban in Frontier Region Peshawar; 30 suspects arrested in search operation in Khyber; China announces another $200 million in flood aid.
On Wednesday, a U.S. official confirmed one of the claims chronicled in Bob Woodward’s upcoming book, “Obama’s Wars”, which reveals that the CIA currently runs a 3,000-man “elite” paramilitary force made of Afghan fighters which conduct covert counterterrorism operations against al-Qaeda and Taliban militants in Pakistan. The official said that the Counterterrorism Pursuit Teams were “one of the best Afghan fighting forces and [have] made major contributions to stability and security” but added that the teams were “designed exclusively for intelligence collection” missions in Pakistan and said that they do not engage in “lethal action.” Pakistani officials have uniformly denied the reports. Foreign Ministry spokesman Abdul Basit told reporters that his office was “not aware of any such forces” while military spokesman Major General Athar Abbas said that the reports regarding the existence of such a force were “not true”, adding that any foreign troops or militia operating on the Pakistani side of the border would be “fired upon.”
Speaking befre members of the Council of Foreign Relations in New York on Tuesday, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi asked the U.S. to take steps to pursue a long-term economic partnership with Pakistan. Querishi said that allowing “enhanced access for Pakistani products, with all the liberating effects of freer trade and commerce” should be viewed by the U.S. as a national security issue as well as an economic issue, saying that the move would “score an important and perhaps decisive victory in the struggle for hearts and minds.”
Security forces continued their ongoing operations against Taliban fighters in Frontier Region Peshawar on Wednesday as the death toll rose to 52 militants killed. A local tribal leader, Dilawar Khan, indicated that most of the Taliban had fled the area and that the operation will be concluded within the next three days. Khan also said that the Taliban were implementing their own form of law and order on the area’s tribal residents, adding that around 50-percent of the region’s populationhas “migrated to safer places due to the fear of the Taliban.”
At least 30 suspects have been arrested and two insurgent hideouts destroyed during a search operation in Khyber Agency’s Bara sub-district on Wednesday. The operation was launched after two security personnel were killed in a roadside bomb attack which struck their convoy earlier in the day. Frontier Corps forces also destroyed six houses during “action against militants” in the Akakhel area and imposed a curfew throughout Bara sub-district.
Security forces began a search operation in Mohmand Agency on Wednesday after militants blew up a girls’ school in the Yakka Ghund area of Qasim Khel. Authorities said that 102 suspects were arrested during the operation, including 11 individuals wanted for their involvement in “subversive activities and having relations with militants.”
- China’s Premier Wen Jiabo announced on Wednesday that China will deliver an addition $200 million in emergency flood assistance to Pakistan. Wen made the announcement during a UN anti-poverty summit in New York amid criticisms that China was not doing enough to help in the Pakistan flood relief effort, including calls from U.S. Special Envoy Richard Holbrooke for China to “step up to the plate.” China’s had previously donated $47 million to help Pakistan recover from its flood disaster.
- The three-day death toll in Karachi’s latest wave of violence rose to 26 on Wednesday as at least four more people were reported killed in various shooting incidents throughout the city. In response to the tenuous security situation in Karachi, the Sindh Home Department has formally extended the Sindh Rangers’ tenure of power within the city limits through December 19. Home Minister Dr. Zulfikar Ali Mirza has ordered the police and Rangers to cooperate in their activities towards improving the law and order situation in the city.