Pakistan Security Brief - June 29, 2009
Pakistan Security Brief – June 29, 2009
Pakistani military assaults continue in Waziristan after Pakistani Taliban militants ambushed a Pakistani military convoy in North Waziristan on Sunday; clashes continued in Kurram agency over the weekend between warring groups, reportedly stoked by militant activity; Pakistan has placed bounties of up to $615,000 on Beitullah Mehsud and other Pakistani Taliban commanders; banned militant groups including Lashkar-e Taiba have reportedly increased operations and recruitment in Kashmir; police reportedly killed Pakistani Taliban militants in Karachi on Saturday.
- As the Pakistan military continued to bomb militant locations throughout Waziristan over the weekend, clashes between the military and the militants intensified as Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) fighters aligned with local commander Hafiz Gul Bahdur ambushed a Pakistani military convoy in North Waziristan. The ambush reportedly killed more than twenty Pakistani soldiers and was followed by retaliatory airstrikes and an exchange of fire. Following the attack, a spokesman for Gul Bahadur claimed responsibility for the assault and another ambush last week in which four soldiers were killed. He also claimed that a peace deal between Gul Bahadur and the Pakistan government had been scrapped by the local Taliban shura “until the government stopped drone attacks and withdrew troops from North Waziristan.”
- Fighting continued to rage in lower Kurram agency, leaving twenty-five dead in clashes between warring groups over the last day after similar clashes left more than thirty dead last Friday and Saturday. Local residents attributed the sectarian clashes to the ‘movement of militants’ in the area. A local tribal leader claimed that “the influx of Taliban from Swat, Dir and other areas is worsening the situation,” asking the government to launch an operation in the agency similar to that in Malakand while assuring the government that local tribes would stand “shoulder to shoulder with our army and fight alongside our soldiers.”
- The Pakistani government has placed bounties on the heads of a number of Taliban commanders, including: Beitullah Mehsud ($615,000); his deputy Faqir Muhammad of Bajaur ($181,000); and Hakeemullah Mehsud, Qari Hussain Mehsud, Omar Khalid, Qari Shakeel and Commander Tariq Afridi ($123,000 each). The announced bounty for Qari Hussein indicates that the Pakistani military believes he survived last week’s drone attack.
- A government report, obtained by the BBC, alleges that “banned militant groups” are “expanding operations and recruitment in Pakistani-run Kashmir.” The report says that Harkatul Mujahideen, Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) are operating and recruiting unhindered in the region especially in Muzaffarabad and the Neelum district, tapping into lucrative businesses. Furthermore, “despite the fact that the groups mentioned are banned under Pakistan's terrorism act, the report does not advocate any action against them other than to keep an eye on their activities.”
- Police in Karachi reportedly killed five men suspected to be Taliban militants loyal to Beitullah Mehsud on Saturday. The raid that led to the shootout came after “a tip-off that militants were planning attacks in the city.” There have been growing fears that militants fleeing the fighting in the North-West have been infiltrating major cities like Karachi.
- Pakistani security forces continued their hunt for militants in Swat and claimed on Sunday to have arrested two commanders and a suicide bombing trainer. They also reportedly demolished twelve houses belonging to militants and arrested eight suspected Taliban in Lower Dir in addition to recovering a large weapons cache from the militants.
“Kurram clashes leave 33 dead”, Dawn News Online , June 28, 2009. Available at http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/front-page/kurram-clashes-leave-33-dead-869