The Security Brief

Vol. 7-Issue No 58

04th May, 2021

Editorial

Yet Another Charlie Strikes

Charlie Weimers.

EU Parliament has adopted a resolution to review Pakistan’s eligibility for GSP Plus status in the light of the protests of Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) over blasphemy issue and more importantly Prime Minister Imran Khan’s alleged provocative statement on countering Islamophobia just as Holocaust denial is countered.

The resolution was presented by Charlie Weimers, who is a member of ‘Sweden Democrats’ described by Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven as “a neo-fascist single-issue party” with “Nazi & racist roots.” Charlie Weimers argued that GSP Plus for Pakistan was meant to empower women, generate economic activity, create jobs and incentivise Pakistan to adhere to International Conventions. The former Foreign Secretary of Pakistan, Jaleel Abbas Jilani reminded him through a tweet that if his Resolution was implemented it will add to joblessness and strengthen extremists that we want eliminated.

Charlie responded to him, “you are making a valid point. But this is it. We have been fed so many horrific stories regarding minorities from your country. This, that your PM campaigns to have the West adopt your kind of draconian anti-free speech blasphemy laws is an utter provocation.” Unfortunately, he again utterly failed to understand the point that insulting the Prophet of Islam does not fall in the ambit of freedom of expression, at least for us the Muslims. He finds PM Imran Khan’s statement provocative because he gave the example of the law to protect the denial of Holocaust. The idea was not to belittle the gravity of genocide but to highlight the need to be respectful to the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

The European Parliament claimed that there was an “alarming” increase in the use of blasphemy accusations in the country as well as rising number of online and offline attacks on journalists and civil society organisations. This claim is not wholly untrue. Blasphemy has been misused many a times and people have suffered due to it. The law itself does not contain anything that can be discriminatory against minorities. The figures show that more than 80% of cases registered under this law were against the Muslims. But this does not justify its misuse. The procedures should be transparent and stringent so that innocent persons are not implicated in the law that contains death penalty.

The Resolution also calls on the Government of Pakistan to “unequivocally condemn” incitement to violence and discrimination against religious minorities in the country, and expresses “deep concern” at the prevailing anti-French sentiment in Pakistan. Again, it is half-true. Yes, there are anti-French sentiments among the public. The government cannot control the sentiments. But it is totally incorrect that incitement to violence against minorities goes unnoticed by the government and law enforcement agencies. Apart from some rare incidents, the minorities enjoy full rights and protection in Pakistan.

The EU Parliament “calls on the Commission and the European External Action Service (EEAS) to immediately review Pakistan’s eligibility for GSP+ status in the light of current events and whether there is sufficient reason to initiate a procedure for the temporary withdrawal of this status and the benefits that come with it, and to report to the European Parliament on this matter as soon as possible”. This threat of withdrawal is, in fact, a provocation that can trigger greater resentment among the public in Pakistan. They would easily term it a trade-off between the honour of the Holy Prophet and the $ 3 bn which Pakistan earns due to its GSP Plus status. Notwithstanding the difficulty of the government, the decision would be very easy for the public,   

Charlie in his speech during the parliament’s latest session cited various incidents of members of religious minorities killed or imprisoned in Pakistan over accusations of blasphemy. As stated earlier the Muslim citizens fall prey to this law more often because of its misuse. Multiple improvements in the procedures have been improved to avoid the misuse. Charlie cited incidents of minorities but not the other people because they are Muslims. This discriminatory approach smacks of his jaundiced view and lack of understanding of the situation prevalent in Pakistan. There is however no second opinion that false accusers should be taken to task.

The Resolution urges the Pakistani government to take immediate steps to ensure the safety of journalists, human rights defenders and faith-based organisations and to carry out prompt and effective investigations in order to uphold the rule of law and bring the perpetrators to justice. Pakistan should ascertain the reasons of the concern of the EU Parliament on this aspect and must take effective steps to ensure the safety of these quarters.

The Resolution says that the GSP+ status “comes with the obligation to ratify and implement 27 international conventions including commitments to guarantee human rights and religious freedom. Pakistan must show earnestness to comply with these conventions in letter and spirit. Besides, taking advantage of this pressure, the policy of producing and patronizing proxies, religious and political, should be shelved once for all.

NATIONAL

TERRORISM/SECTARIANISM- AT A GLANCE

Sindh

Sr. NoIncidentKilledInjuredArrested
1.The police reportedly arrested one Nazeerullah from Manghopir Road, Karachi and recovered explosives and pistol from his possession (27th April).01

Comments & Analysis: – Sindh remained relatively calm. But the activists, sympathisers and sleeper cells of terrorists are well-entrenched in Karachi and other cities of Sindh. Nazeerullah’s father, Abdullah Khan, had close association with TTP spokesperson Ehsanullah Ehsan, which motivated him to carry out bomb attacks against the security forces.

KPK

Sr. NoIncidentKilledInjuredArrested
 1.The security forces raided and recovered huge quantity of explosive material, mortar shells, hand grenades and rockets from a location near Pak-Afghan border in Lowe Mamond tehsil of Bajpur tribal District (26th April).   
 2.A policeman Salahuddin was killed and the other Tasawar Khan injured after an attack on them by the armed motorcyclists in Wargha Banda area in Banda Daud Shah tehsil of Karak district (26th April)0101
 3.Unidentified gunmen shot dead one Muhammad Ikram @ Malik in Khazana area, Khar tehsil of Bajaur tribal district. He was a relative of a private secretary to a PTI MNA Gul Dad Khan. The attackers managed to escape (27th April).01
 4.Two security personnel Ijaz Ali and Fayaz Akhtar sustained injuries after a remote controlled IED wentoff, near Esha check post, on Miram shah-Mirali Road, North Waziristan tribal district (27th April).   In another incident, two people including a teenager were killed in separate firing incidents in Data Khel and Garyum areas. The attackers in both the incidents managed to escape (27th April).0202
5.Six Pakistani refugees (names not disclosed) who sustained injuries during a bomb blast in Guloon Camp, near border with Pakistan in Khost province of Afghanistan, were reportedly brought to Pakistan via Ghulam Khan border and admitted to a hospital for medical treatment in Miranshah, North Waziristan Tribal district (30th April).  06

Comments & Analysis: –TTP is carrying out terrorist activities as per its new strategy of IEDs and target killing of policemen. The attack on policemen in Karak was the third such incident in the district during the current month after unidentified assailants had shot dead a policeman, Farhad Khan in Mamond, and a civilian, Sayed Arif Khan in Yousaf Abad area on 15 and 22 April, respectively.

The Guloon Camp is inhabited by Pakistani refugees mostly from Datakhel tehsil of North Waziristan who had crossed over to Afghanistan after the military operation Zarb-e-Azb was launched in the area. It is learned that several persons of defunct terrorist organisations also resided in this camp.

Balochistan

Sr. NoIncidentKilledInjuredArrested
1.Unidentified armed assailants shot dead two pro-government persons, Syed Waris Zamarani and Dad Jan, in the Aabsar Koriwai area of Turbat town in Kech District (26th April).02
2.A constable identified as Hakeemullah was martyred and three others injured in a remote controlled IED blast targeting a police mobile in a bazar of Qila Abdullah city. The explosive was planted in a motorcycle parked there. No group claimed the responsibility. TTP is being suspected for it. The explosion took place when Prime Minister was in Quetta (28th April).02— 
3.Unidentified armed motorcyclists shot dead one Mullah Amin, in Newtown area of Kech district (30th April).01
4Levies force raided and recovered a large quantity of arms & ammunition from the hideout of terrorists in surf Nala area of Kohan, Kohlu District. The recovery included five hundred rounds, one mortar gun along with rounds, twenty-five BM twelve missile rounds, twenty-five RPGs, seven rounds and other weapons and ammunition (2nd May).     
5Unidentified armed motorcyclists shot dead a health worker Abdul Sammad near Kharan bridge area, Khuzdar District. The assailants managed their escape (2nd May).  01
6.Two Levy personnel embraced martyrdom when their official vehicle struck a land mine in Bandkey, tehsil Mushkay, District Awaran.  They were on a routine patrol (3rd May).   

Comments & Analysis: – The same strategy, targe killing of policemen and IEDs, adopted by TTP in KPK, is being followed in Balochistan. The pro-government elements are being targeted regularly. Four attacks on the pro-government elements have claimed five lives during the last two weeks. Terrorists and insurgents are using all tactics available in the toolkit.

NATIONAL

Defence/Security

Special Analysis

Remembering the Fiasco- Death of Usama Bin Laden

OBL Abbottabad Compound

On 2nd May 2011 (1st May, 2011 US) , Osama bin Laden, Chief of al-Qaeda, was eliminated by the US Naval seals in the raid named “Operation Geronimo” at his hideout in Abbottabad, KPK, Pakistan. A few hours later, a jubilant Barrack Obama announced the great victory, without mentioning Pakistan’s support in the operation. Pakistan also kept quiet and congratulated the US over the successful operation.

Two questions immediately cropped up and remain unanswered till date; How was OBL able to live in the most sensitive cantonment area of a garrison town for five years without being detected, and secondly, how the US managed to violate our air space and landed on the ground for a kinetic operation without the knowledge of our security and intelligence organisations. A commission was set up to enquire into it but the report has not been disclosed till date. However, some nuggets of information can help join the dots to make some sense of the entire scenario.

Pakistan accepted the humiliation of being ignorant about the raid that violated its territorial sovereignty but remained tight-lipped about its coalition, if any, with the US in this regard. The CIA, however, insinuated at this cooperation, in its article published on its website on April 30, 2016, ‘The mission’s success was the culmination of many years of complex, thorough, and highly advanced intelligence operations and analyses led by the CIA with support from partners across the Intelligence Community (IC).’

From 2001 till 2011, Pakistan intelligence agencies had conducted umpteen operations within Pakistan to apprehend the al-Qaeda operatives and commanders from different parts of the country. The then Military dictator, Gen.Pervez Musharraf had written in his autobiography, ‘In the Line of Fire’ that Pakistan apprehended a number of wanted terrorists, associated with al-Qaeda, and handed them over to the US. Pakistan was having very close intelligence liaison with the CIA and FBI.

As far the question of being unaware of the US raid on Abbottabad compound is concerned, some details are quite revealing in this context. The US raiding party had remained in Pakistan’s space for more than two hours. Various reports suggest that two stealth Black hawks and two Chinooks entered Pakistani airspace at approximately 11:20 pm, reached the OBL compound at 12:20 am, conducted the operation in less than 40 minutes and left the Pakistani airspace at 2:26am.   One of the ‘Black Hawk’ helicopters crashed in the compound of OBL and was destroyed by the US commandoes at 1:05 am, before leaving for Afghanistan along with the body of Bin laden. People gathered around the compound but were asked by the security personnel to stay away from the area.

 One US Seal had written in his autobiography that by the time they were still inside the compound, the news of blasts in Abbottabad had appeared on Twitter. According to BBC, an IT consultant, Shoaib Akhter, living in Abbottabad, unknowingly tweeted details of the US-led operation as it happened. He wrote that a helicopter was hovering overhead shortly before the assault began and said that it might not be a Pakistani aircraft. Athar’s first posting on the subject came at around 1am local time. He wrote: “Helicopter hovering above Abbottabad at 1AM (is a rare event).”

Despite this hullaballoo in the cantonment area of the garrison town, the Chief of Army Staff, General Kyani was apprised of the successful operation by the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen and the half-awake President of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardari, was informed by the US President Barrack Obama. Both congratulated the callers. None of the two expressed any surprise on the happening and resentment over the violation of the territorial sovereignty of Pakistan.  

President, Asif Ali Zardari was ready with his carefully drafted article, ‘Pakistan did its part’ which was published in The Washington Post the very next day of the incident. Its contents show jubilation, embarrassment, confession and denials in the same breath. A relevant extract is given below: –

‘ Pakistan, perhaps the world’s greatest victim of terrorism, joins the other targets of al-Qaeda — the people of the United States, Britain, Spain, Indonesia, Afghanistan, Turkey, Yemen, Kenya, Tanzania, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Algeria — in our satisfaction that the source of the greatest evil of the new millennium has been silenced, and his victims given justice. He was not anywhere we had anticipated he would be, but now he is gone.

Although the events of Sunday were not a joint operation, a decade of cooperation and partnership between the United States and Pakistan led up to the elimination of Bin Laden as a continuing threat to the civilized world. And we in Pakistan take some satisfaction that our early assistance in identifying an al-Qaeda courier ultimately led to this day.’

These facts can be interpreted in any way. Everybody can glean the answers of the two questions as per his/her own understanding. However, a more credible, categorical and correct answer can be found in the Abbottabad Commission report. The government must release it for sake of transparency which is an essential ingredient of a democratic order.

US Defence Secretary’s Telephonic Talk with COAS

Lloyd J Austin III

The US Defence Secretary Lloyd J Austin III held a telephonic talk with the Chief of Army Staff Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa. The two sides discussed matters of mutual interest and desire of both countries to continue cooperation for shared goals for regional security and stability. Lloyd Austin re-affirmed the importance of Pakistan for the bilateral relationship and expressed appreciated Pakistan’s efforts for Afghan peace negotiations (28th April).

Comments & Analysis: – The US Defense Secretary had visited New Delhi and Kabul in the recent past but refrained from coming to Pakistan. It was an intentional cold shoulder to Pakistan; not a very smart way to handle the critical stage of the Afghan issue. The new US Administration still thinks, though erroneously, that Pakistan’s arm twisting might help them get the desired results in Afghanistan. The ‘Do More’ mantra is still lurking in their mind. This policy might not work at this grave juncture when the US forces have started rolling out of Afghanistan, and Pakistan, the first neighbour of Afghanistan, is much needed for peaceful transition. If the US continues to see Pakistan from the lens of India and Ashraf Ghani, it is bound to get a jaundiced picture. The US should keep this thing in mind that Pakistan has suffered a lot due to incessant turmoil in Afghanistan. The burden of 3 million Afghan refugees, which is still not less than 2 million, caused demographic imbalance in the cities and resulted in a spike in crime and terrorism. The TTP, which has taken refuge in Afghanistan, keeps carrying out terrorist acts in Pakistan. The local supporters of Taliban, many of whom fought along with the Mujahideen during Soviet era, are a threat to the serenity of Pakistan. It is very clear that peaceful Afghanistan suits Pakistan. The US must acknowledge this aspect and then move forward to engage Pakistan in the Afghan peace process without malice.    

Pakistan-Afghanistan border reopened at Chaman

The Afghan security forces once again objected to the erection of fence in the Killi Luqman area of Pakistan and tried to create hurdles which led to closing of the border by both sides at Chaman for two hours. However, after the flag meeting, the border was reopened (27th April).

Comments & Analysis: – Pakistan has been erecting a fence at its border with Afghanistan for more than two years and around 90 per cent work on it has been completed. The remaining work is expected to be completed in the next couple of months. Pakistan is also erecting a fence along the border with Iran. The objective is to check illegal border crossing by smugglers/miscreants and infiltration of terrorists into the Pakistani territory. Pakistan cannot afford unchecked influx of Afghans into its territory which is likely to increase in the coming days.

Chinese Ambassador meets PAF Chief

The Chinese ambassador to Pakistan Nang Rong called on PAF chief, Air Chief Marshal Zaheer Ahmed Babar Sidhu at Islamabad and discussed matter of mutual interests and bilateral relations between the two countries. On this occasion, the air chief expressed satisfaction over the existing cooperation between the air forces of the two sides and hoped for strengthing the same in future (30 April)

Comments & Analysis:  Both the countries are closely associated with each others included number of projects related to military hardware, advance version of JF-17 fighter planes and joint exercises.

NATIONAL/FOREIGN RELATIONS

Pakistan ready to talk if India revisits August 5 moves: FM

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi during a talk to a media agency of Turkey, said that Pakistan could iron out differences and resolve outstanding issues through dialogue if India was willing to revisit its unilateral decisions on 05 August 2019 about the status of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu & Kashmir (IIOJK) on 05 August, 2019 which were totally in violation of international law and the UN Security Council Resolution (26th April).

Comments & Analysis: – Kashmir is the nuclear flashpoint between India and Pakistan. Modi government added further bitterness over the issue last year by bringing about unlawful constitutional changes in the status of IIOJK. It created further acrimony between the two countries. However, for the last more than a month, the situation at LoC is under control as the guns have fallen silent. But the excesses of Indian forces within IIOJK are continuing.

Tribal Districts

Jirga Threatens to attack police station if held elders not freed

A grand jirga of Zali khail wazir tribes held at Wanna, South Waziristan tribal District announced to raise three thousand armed lashkar and threatened to attack police station if the arrested Malik’s and elders were not released (1st May). The grand jirga was addressed by Malik Noor Ali Karma Zakhail, Malik Shereen Jan, Malik Muhammad Aslam, Malik Mir Dill, Malik Gu Zai and Malik Jang Wali. They alleged that the district administration failed to maintain law & order in South Waziristan was intentionally trying to sabotage peace by arresting the elders at the behest of certain elements.

Comment & Analysis: It is for the first time after the merger of FATA into KPK the police arrested sixteen prominent elders and Malik’s of Ahmed Zai Wazir tribes on the concocted charges of torching an ambulance and firing on a police party. The current volatile situation in tribal districts near the border with Afghanistan needs special attention at the higher level and such administrative actions should be takne after complete verification of the incident on merit with transparency. Any miscalculated action at the wrong time may provide opportunity to the terrorists and miscreants to exploit the sentiments of tribal people. Police and administration should be mindful of the culture and sensibilities of the tribal people.

CRIME/LAW & ORDER- At a Glance

1. A journalist named Abdul Waheed Riasani of Daily Azadi was shot dead on offering resistance to the armed robbers in the Bank Colony area near Lambrini Road, Quetta (26th April).

2. Two persons named Wazir Essani and Usman Essani were killed in an armed clash between two groups of the Essani community near Garhi Yasin Town, Shikarpur. Old karo-kari issue was the reported cause of the incident that has already claimed five lives (26th April).

3.  A landlord Muhammad Asghar and his two sons Aurangzeb and Waqas were allegedly shot dead while three others injured by their cousins over a land dispute at Doburji Malhiyaan, Sialkot (26th April).

4. Two suspected muggers including one identified as Adnan were killed and several passers-by hurt by the Pakistan Rangers during the exchange of firing in New Karachi. The robbers were making attempt to snatch cash and valuables from the travellers (26th April).

5. A police Sub-Inspector Muzaffar Ali Chandio who is facing multiple inquiries, tried to immolate himself outside the Central Police Office, Karachi but the officials on security duties saved him by putting-out the fire. He was later shifted to the hospital for burns treatment. Sindh police chief Mushtaq Mahar directed the officers concerned to provide all possible medical help to the injured. The police spokesman said an inquiry would also be carried out to know the causes that compelled the officer to take such an extreme action (26th April).

6..  A man named Muhammad Ikram was killed while his three other family members including wife and an infant, suffered burns when fireworks material dumped in a room of the house exploded at Qaimpur bazaar near Hasilpur, Bahawalpur district (26th April).

7.  Unidentified gunmen killed one Khalik Noor, in Mayil Koroona area of Bannu district. In another incident, unidentified armed motorcyclists shot dead Hafeezullah on Kurrum Garhi Road, near Bahadar Sher Kallay area of Bannu. Police registered separate cases of the two murder incidents (26th April).

8. Three people including two brothers named Saleemullah Khan, Muhammad Ramzan and Amir Khan were killed and one other injured in an armed clash between two rival groups over a property dispute at village Alam Khellanwala in Mianwali district (27th April).

9.  An unidentified gunman shot dead one Khalid Rind and wounded another at Pareshan Chowk, Faqeera Goth, Karachi. The same day, Pakistan Rangers and police in a joint raid arrested a suspected hitman Muhammad Sajid Ali in Pak Colony Karachi. He was allegedly associated with ‘Honda Civic Dacoit Group’ and involved in a number of robberies. His accomplices Waseem @ Commando, Javed and Amin were arrested by police during a robbery in February 2021 (28th April).

10. One Amir Ali surrendered to police after killing his opponent Qamar Anwar to avenge the killing of his brother in front of the court of Additional District and Sessions judge, Sargodha (28th April).

11. Five persons including three women identified as Anwar Ali, Raj  Wali, his two sisters and mother were killed and two others injured allegedly by their relatives over a family dispute at Banda Sheikh Ismail area in Nowshera district. The assailants managed to escape (28th April).

12. Police arrested an alleged rapist along with his accomplices on the charge of committing rape of his 15 years old step-daughter (names not disclosed) in Chak village 304/JB, Gojra tehsil, Toba Tek Singh district (29th April).

13. One Irfan Jatoi allegedly killed his two sisters- Maqsooda and Raheela, in Pir Usman Shah village, Akil area of Larkana district. Police registered the case (30th April).

14. Two persons – Noor Muhommad and his nephew Sadiq, were allegedly killed and three passers by injured in indiscriminate firing by their rivals over a property dispute in Bachy Pull area, Tangi tehsil of Charsada district (30th April).

15. Muhammad Ismail Jakhrani killed his wife Ghulam Fatima over a monetary dispute in Ali Nawaz Jakhrani village of Kandhkot, Kashmore District (1st May).  

16. A girl named Rabia Sonia was allegedly murdered in honour killing by one Ghulam Fareed along with his in compliances village chak 750 G-B. In another incident the body of a minor girl was recovered by police from Gogera branch canal tehsil Gojra District Toba Tek Singh. (1st May)

17. A woman and a man were killed allegedly for honour in Kotka Juma Khan locality in the limits of Saddar police station of Lucky Marwat District (1st May).

18.A suspect Fayyaz was allegedly killed by his accomplice during a police encounter near Chak Lashkari in Khariyan tehsil of Gujrat District. The accused was wanted in two dozen cases of heinous crime (2nd May)

19.One Shahid Hameed was arrested for allegedly assaulting a young girl in mohalla Docana Pandat in Haripur city. Police arrested the accused (1st May).

Crime Details 26/04/2021 to 03/05/2021

CrimesPunjabKPKSindhIslamabadBalochistanTotal
MurdersSialkot-3, Lahore (Ravi road)-3, Taxila-3, Bahawalpur-1,Rawalpindi1,Toba Tek singh 1 = 12Lakki Marwat-2, Swabi-1, Lakki Marwat-4, Karak-1, Swabi-1, Haripur2,Bajaur 1, Charsada-2 shangla-2 Swabi-1= 17Karachi-3, Garhi Yasin-2, Karachl-2,Dadu4,sukkur1, Larkana-2 =  14 Quetta-1, Khuzdar-2, Khuzdar-2 = 548
Gang rapeOkara-3,Sahiwal1 = 4    4
Robberies/ DacoitsRawalpindi – 1= 1    1
KidnappingOkara-3,=3    3
InjuredSialkot-3, Taxila-6, Taxila-1, Bahawalpur-3, Rawalpindi3, Sahiwal-3 = 19Swabi-1, Karak-1, North waziristan2, Haripur 6 =10Karachi-1, sukkur-5 =6 Khuzdar 9, = 944
Total Crime392720 14 

Source: Media & National dailies

REGIONAL

LoC/IIOJK

During the continued fake anti militancy drive by the security forces in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK), three youth identified as Majid Rakeeb, Waseem Ahmed and Ghulam Mustafa were arrested in Uri market of Baramula district who were intending to cross LoC after receiving a spoof call invitation (29th April).

Comments & Analysis: – No ceasefire violation has been reported by the either side at LoC during the period under review, whereas the Indian and Pakistani troops are deployed on forward posts.

LAC/INDO-CHINA BORDER

The Indian and Chines troops remained alert on their forward posts in Ladakh alongside LaC. The Chinese Defence Ministry spokesman Col Wu termed the recent allegations of India’s CDS Gen Bipan Rawat as completely inconsistent with the facts that China had tried to change the status quo alongside LaC in Ladakh (29th April).

Comments & Analysis: – The situation remained calm in various sectors of Ladakh alongside LAC. Despite bitterness with India on border disputes, the Chines foreign ministry has recently offered his country’s all possible support to India to combat the sharp increase of   Covid-19 cases there.

AFGHANISTAN

Terrorism/Violence

1. At least seven public protection force members were killed in a clash with Taliban at Mes Aynak copper mine in Logar province (26th April).

2.  The Ministry of Defence claimed to have killed at least 106 Taliban and wounded 48 others during clashes with the Afghan security forces in Ghazni, Wardak, Herat, Ghor, Balkh, Badakhshan, Takhar, Helmand and Kandahar provinces in the last 24 hours. Besides, 29 rounds of mines planted by the Taliban at these places were defused after detection. by Afghan security forces (26th April)

3. The Afghan Intelligence NDS chief Ahmed Zia Siraj said that the government contected 13 countries whose 408 nationals working for ISIS/ISKP are detained in Afghan prisons working for ISIS/ISKP and al-Qaida. He said that handing over of Aslam Farooqi, a key ISKP commander of Pakistan’s origion, will only be think subject to exchange with some Taliban prisoners lodged in Pakistan jails. Further said that out of them 299 belong to Pakistan, 37 to Uzbekistan, 13 to Tajikistan, 12 to Kirghizstan, 5 to Russia, 16 to China, 5 to Jordan, 4 to Iran, 3 to Turkey, 5 to Indonesia, 2 to Bangladesh, 4 to India and 2 from the Maldives (27th April).

4. According to the claim of Afghan authorities, six Taliban were killed in a blast during the course of making mines in Marwa village Pashtun Zarghun district of Herat province (27th April)

5. 16 persons including 13 students were wounded in a rocket attack that hit the venue of the Holy Quran recitation competition in Asadabad, Kunnar province. Afghan authorities blamed Taliban for this incident (27th April).

6. A vehicle carrying six employees of a Power distribution company DABS were wounded in a targeted IED attack in Islamabad city of Nangarhar province (29th April).

7. Seventeen Taliban insurgents were killed during a clash with the security forces in Arezoo area of Ghazni province (29th April).

8. Three police officials were killed in a mine blast at Deh Ghazi village of Charikar district. In another incident, the Afghan intelligence agency NDS, claimed to have recovered a heavy cache of arms and ammunition allegedly from a Taliban depot in the Charikar district of Parwsn province (29th April).

9. Seven civilians and two Taliban were killed in a clash with the Afghan security forces in a village Willan of Velly, Khinjan district of Baghlan province (30th April)

10.  Atleast 26 persons were killed and 60 others wounded after an explosive laden vehicle detonated in a building of Pule-Alam city of Logar province. The portions of the said premises were reportedly used by students from other cities and pro-government militia personnel for stay and transit purpose (30th April).

11.  Afghan security forces claimed to have arrested 10 ISIS/ISKP members during two separate raids in Jalalabad and Sarkhurd districts of Nangarhar province (30th April).

12.   Afghan security forces claimed to have killed 13 Taliban during a clash with them in Char Boldak district of Balakh province (30th April).

13. Eight Afghan security forces personal were killed and six others injured in an attack by Taliban on an army checkpoint in Wardhik District Badakshan province (02nd May).

15.Three police officers were killed and two wounded during a clash with Taliban in Qalat city, Zabul province. Nine Taliban were also killed in the said incident (1st May).

16.Tirma Kulzai, an influential militia commander of public uprising force was killed, along with other persons in a clash with Taliban in Rustak District of Taqhar province. According to media survey report Taliban allegedly conducted one forty one attacks mostly in Uruzgun, Zabul, Kandhar, Nangarhar, Badkshan and Taqhar province recently (02nd May).

17.      The Afghan Security forces claimed that US forces handed over a Helmand camp to them as they prepared to exit the country. US-led NATO forces on MAY first officially began withdrawing from Afghanistan on 1st May as per their agreement with the Taliban (2nd May).

Comments & Analysis: – Violence has increased all over Afghanistan since the US announcement of withdrawal of troops. Neither the Afghan government nor Taliban and other militant groups have disclosed any figure of the actual losses suffered by them or caused to the opponent. Several incidents of target killings and IEDs attacks have taken place without claiming responsibility from any side. Meanwhile, a pro Afghan government survey report revealed that 226 persons (69 civilians and 157 Afghan security personnel) were killed after 15 April as a result of attacks by Taliban in 24 provinces of Afghanistan. It is not known how many activities have been done by ISIS or other militias. 

Afghan Peace Process

Zalmay Khalilzad

The US special envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad held separate meetings with the Afghan Government’s negotiating team and Taliban leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Barather at Doha. He reaffirmed the continued efforts of the US for holding talks to bring peace, stability and future set-up in Afghanistan (29th April).

The Russian imitative of extended “Troika” comprising representatives of USA, Russia, China, Pakistan, as a part of extended support, had a meeting with Taliban and Afghan government representatives separately at Doha to discuss Afghan Peace process. They were assured of the compliance of the April 14 announcement by the United States and NATO that the U.S./NATO forces will begin a responsible withdrawal from Afghanistan by May 1, 2021 that concludes by September 11, 2021.Taliban spokesman Naeem Wardag said that the participants focused on significant issues particularly situation in Afghanistan, release of Taliban prisoners and removal of the names of Taliban from the UNO blacklist. He said that all the participants agreed to start practical work in this regard. Meanwhile, Fowzia Koofi, a woman representative in the Afghan government team said that achieving peace in Afghanistan is not an easy task and support of the international community especially Pakistan was important to use its leverage to bring Taliban on table for meaningful negotiations (30th April).

Comments & Analysis: Efforts are afoot at various levels and places to bring peace in Afghanistan. Ironically, focus is on Taliban and the present Afghan government, which makes sense because these are the two main parties in Afghanistan. But there are other stakeholders and spoilers too who can undermine the Afghan peace. The most important are the militias who are funded and aided by the CIA and other countries too. They will not be ready to give up the space and authority they have occupied over years. The CIA might like them to continue with their presence and activities to keep its influence in different parts of Afghanistan. This will result in bloody battles between the Taliban and the militias. Afghan government can support the militias against the Taliban.

Afghanistan has always been a divided country, ruled by many groups. The rulers mostly had their jurisdiction restricted to Kabul and some other main cities like Jalalabad and Qandahar. This arrangement might continue till the Taliban defeat all of them. In the past Taliban had established its writ in far-flung areas of Afghanistan. The militias were not pleased with Taliban. Abdul Rasheed Dostum was one of the important warlords who fought against the Taliban and is now part of the Afghan government. This aspect must be addressed in the peace talks to avoid unintended violence in the post-US withdrawal Afghanistan.

Corona virus Crisis Update

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Pakistan was registered to be 45,469 from 27th April to 03rd May, 2021 (Monday) after new infections were confirmed in the country.

The Province-wise breakup of the total 9,812 active cases and total deaths 962 during this period is as follows:

ProvincesTotal Active CasesTotal Deaths
Sindh4,03368
Punjab2,459582
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa2,238258
Balochistan23205
Islamabad Capital Territory75526
Gilgit-Baltistan0802
AJK8721
Total9,812962

Comments & Analysis: – The surge of coronavirus is still going strong in Pakistan. Vaccination process is getting better but still quite slow and much less than required. The government is vacillating over the decision of total lock-down. With Eid around the corner, the shopkeepers and people as well, tend to violate the SoPs.

Pakistan’s Security Barometer

Terrorism: TTP and its affiliates have increased their terrorist activities in tribal areas and some parts of KPK.

Threat Level: High – The threat level is high due to national, international and regional security environment. The intelligence agencies must keep the guards up and take pro-active pre-emptive measures.

Level of Sectarianism & Religious Extremism: Quite flared up. TLP’s violence and government’s acquiescence have paved the way for more religious extremism.

Border Situation:  Ceasefire at LoC. The Western border (Pak-Afghan), also largely remained calm.

Health Security: The third wave of Coronavirus pandemic is taking its toll in Pakistan. Lock-down is lackadaisical.

Social Unrest: Rising; primarily due to exorbitant price hike and political unrest. The constant rise in electricity, petrol tariffs, medicines and inflation has impacted all segments of the society. Especially the salaried class and poor people are the worst sufferers.

Freedom of Press: Pakistan has dropped three places in the World Press Freedom Index (WPFI), since last year- 144th out of 180 countries in the world. 

BOOK REVIEW

Multinational Enterprises & Terrorism

Direct and indirect impacts of terrorism pose serious operational and management challenges to Multinational Enterprises (MNEs) especially in Emerging Markets (EM). Emerging markets are popular destinations for MNEs because the developed markets are saturated. 

 Using real scenarios from seasoned managers and security managers of large MNEs, this volume explores the impacts of terrorism on them and offers strategies and solutions that can provide greater security to MNEs operating in areas afflicted with terrorism. 
This volume would be beneficial for managers, security managers, scholars and students.

About the Authors

Naveed Elahi is a PHD from King’s Business School, King’s College London. He has taught terrorism at the University of Punjab, Lahore and is the founder and President of Centre for Peace and Security Research, Lahore, Pakistan. He is the Editor of ‘The Security Brief’.
Pervez Ghauri is PhD from Uppsala University in Sweden where he also worked as Assistant and Associate professor. He has been Professor at Manchester Business School and King’s College London. At present, he is Professor of International Business at the University of Birmingham. He is the Editor-in-Chief of the International Business Review (IBR) and has published more than 30 books and 100 journal articles.

Note: The Security Brief is based on open-source media reports

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