Pakistan Security Brief
Pakistan Security Brief – September 27, 2010
NATO forces pursue targets across the Pakistani Border; U.S. Drones pound targets in North Waziristan; Top Pakistani government officials meet to address political instability; Masked gunfire attack mosque in Punjab; UN gears up for winter; U.S. wants more recognition for aid contributions.
At least 50 militants were killed over the weekend in NATO ISAF airstrikes across the Pakistani border. Three separate operations by piloted NATO apache aircraft crossed the Pakistani border in “hot pursuit” of insurgents. The first strike occurred on Saturday in North Waziristan as militants fled from an attack on a military outpost in Khost. A second strike occurred later that day when manned craft again targeted fighters in the same area. As many as 49 militants linked to the Haqqani network were reported killed in the two attacks. A third strike by NATO piloted aircraft occurred on Monday morning as helicopter gunships targeted militants in the Kurram agency. Exact causalities figures from the three attacks are still unknown, though NATO officials claim that no civilians were among the dead. Pakistani military officials have yet to publically comment on the cross-border air raids. NATO’s air campaign in Pakistan comes the same week that ISAF and Afghan troops began active combat operations in Kandahar.
Four militants were killed on Monday in a U.S drone strike in North Waziristan. The operation occurred in the Khush Hali village and it targeted a militant compound. Monday’s strike comes after U.S. drones killed as many as a dozen militants over the weekend in the North Waziristan tribal agency. A series of separate drone operations were carried out in a 24 hour period in the village of Asar village in the Datta Khel area, 31 miles west of Miramshah the administered headquarters of the agency. Four militants were killed on Saturday, when a U.S. drone fired several missiles at their vehicle after they left a known insurgent compound. On Sunday, another four militants were killed when drones fired three missiles at their vehicles. After the strike, militants arriving to the scene were also fired on by U.S. drones. The second round of drone fire left another three dead, bringing Sunday’s confirmed drone casualties to seven.
Internal Pakistani Politics
Pakistan’s top civilian and military leaders met at the President’s home on Monday to address Pakistan’s endemic political instability. Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen. Kayani, Prime Minister Gilani, and President Zardari met to discuss the flood situation and recent rumors of a military takeover. The men also addressed comments made by Secretary for Defense Production Abdul Jatoi who blamed the army for Benazir Bhutto’s assassination. Secretary Jatoi has since resigned from post. Despite the meeting, questions still remain about the strength of Zardari’s civilian government. Prime Minister Gilani has canceled a trip to Europe citing “pre-occupations” while at the same time the Supreme Court is deciding whether or not President Zardari will receive immunity for corruption charges. 
Two people were killed and another seven seriously injured in an attack on a mosque in Bahawlpur on Saturday. Officials report that three masked gunmen opened fire as worshipers gathered in the mosque’s courtyard to offer prayers. The gunmen fled the scene on motorcycle and authorities have not publically identified any suspects. Following the incident angry protestors took to the streets, burning tires and breaking windows, demanding that the government find those responsible. Members of the Jamaat-i-Islami have demanded that suspects be remanded into custody within three days.
A truck driver was killed and several vehicles were destroyed when militants attacked a NATO convoy in Balochistan on Saturday. The incident occurred in central Balochistan in the Mangochir area of Kalat. According to officials, militants armed with automatic weapons opened fire as the convoy passed through the area. Two supply trucks carrying fuel were destroyed in the attack.
On Friday, the head of the UN’s World Food Program called on the international community to immediately provide $180 million to feed six million flood victims through the end of the year. David Kaatrud warned that although the UN has called for a record $2 billion in aid, funds are needed immediately to prepare for the winter season. Kaatrud told reporters that as cold weather approaches, serious preparations will need to be undertaken to update existing shelters and to properly provision relief camps. 
- Officials in Washington are calling on aid agencies to advertise relief that is funded by the United States. American officials have called on international organizations and USAID to label goods provided by the U.S. in order to bolster US public diplomacy efforts. The United States has pledged nearly $350 million in disaster relief, and senior officials, including Richard Holbrooke, believe that labeling goods will help change local perceptions about America. A number of aid groups have resisted the effort, saying that such labeling would put them at risk from groups who have vowed to attack relief workers.