Pakistan Security Brief
TTP suicide car bombing targets police residential complex in Kohat; two U.S. drone strikes kill at least 14 militants in North Waziristan; military says Orakzai is 90-percent clear of militants; UN says ten million flood victims still without shelter; Interior Minister Rehman Malik says Balochistan chief minister granted authority to deploy Frontier Constabulary forces.
On Tuesday, a suicide car bombing at a police residential complex in Kohat killed at least 20 people and wounded nearly 100 others. The bombing damaged approximately 300 buildings in the area and completely destroyed all 35 houses in the complex. At least six policemen were killed in the attack but authorities in Kohat said that most of the victims were women and children. On Wednesday, a spokesman for the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Ihsan Ullah Ihsan, claimed responsibility for the bombing and warned that the TTP will continue to target government and security forces personnel. In a separate incident on Tuesday evening, two police vans were also struck by an IED explosion in Hangu district, killing one police officer and wounding two others.
A spokesman for the Swat Taliban, Hasan Airabi, took credit for Monday’s bombing of a girls’ primary school in Kalam. Airabi said that the Taliban bombed the mosque as a response to the military’s raids on several mosques throughout the region.
At least 14 militants were killed in two suspected U.S. drone strikes in North Waziristan on Wednesday. The first strike hit a militant compound in the village of Dande Darpa Khel, killing at least 10 militants. The house which was targeted reportedly belonged to Maulvi Azizullah, a member of the Haqqani network. At least four more militants were killed during a second drone strike when two missiles struck a vehicle in the town of Datta Khel.
The Pakistan Army claimed on Tuesday that its operation in Orakzai Agency has cleared 90-percent of the militants from the region. Brigadier Pervez, the commanding officer in charge of the operation, said that the military had killed around 600 militants and arrested 250 others and that 60 soldiers had lost their lives during the five and a half month long operation. Pervez further said that all militant hideouts had been cleared from the areas near Tira and that “11,000 out of 30,000 families [are] returning to their homes in the agency.” (For detailed information on the operation in Orakzai CLICK HERE)
The Sindh government has decided to implement a “flood tax” to finance flood reconstruction efforts in the region. Sindh is expected to undergo serious economic hardships in the coming year, particularly in its agricultural sector. The flooding washed away large areas of farmland and killed more than a million heads of livestock. On Tuesday, Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani met with Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani to discuss rescue and relief efforts in flood-affected areas throughout the country.
Floodwaters breached an embankment at Johi Taluka on Tuesday, submerging 25 villages and affecting around 20,000 people. Residents of the nearby town of Dadu are also on alert after the floodwaters changed direction and headed towards embankments bordering the town.
- On Wednesday, Interior Minister Rehman Malik announced that the chief minister of Balochistan had been given the authority by the federal government to grant police powers to Frontier Constabulary forces for the purpose of bringing law and order to the province. Malik told reporters on Tuesday that the government was planning for a military crackdown in Balochistan in response to the target killings, bombings, and other acts of violence which have plagued the province in recent months. Malik also denied earlier reports that he said that the crackdown would be in the style of last year’s military operation in Swat Valley but did indicate that one of the goals of such an operation would be to eliminate terrorist groups such as Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, which has been credited for recent suicide attacks in Quetta and Lahore.
- Two people were killed and eight others wounded in an explosion near a market in the Hub Chowki area of Karachi on Wednesday. The source of the explosion has not yet been determined.