THE SECURITY BRIEF

Peace is Paramount

Vol. 8-Issue No 73

29th August, 2021

Editorial

Will the 34th Province Fall?

Afghanistan Map-Showing Panjshir

Taliban have captured 33 provinces of Afghanistan and have seized the power in Kabul. Only Punjshir, the 34th province is not in control of Taliban. The former Northern Alliance, once headed by Ahmed Shah Massoud, has reemerged as National Resistance Front, (NRF) against the Taliban government in Panjshir. Taliban reportedly dispatched hundreds of fighters to the Panjshir Valley, NRF stronghold, and surrounded it from three sides, as stated by Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid.

 NRF is headed by Ahmed Massoud, son of late Ahmed Shah Massoud, comprising Tajik fighters, militia fighters and former government soldiers. Amrullah Saleh, ousted Afghan Vice President, who declared himself the “acting president” of Afghanistan, has also joined Ahmed Massoud.

The Ahmed Massoud force is well-equipped as he claimed in his op-ed published in Washington Post that they have arms and ammunition stores, patiently collected since his father’s time, as well as the weapons brought to Panjshir by former Afghan forces. But he added that without help from the outside world, his fighters would not be able to withstand the Taliban’s siege for long. “We know that our military forces and logistics will not be sufficient,” he wrote. “They will be rapidly depleted unless our friends in the West can find a way to supply us without delay.”

He wooed the west for help as he claimed that he was fighting for their freedom too, as his father once claimed. He wrote, “ In 1998, when I was 9 years old, my father, the mujahideen commander Ahmad Shah Massoud, gathered his soldiers in a cave in the Panjshir Valley of northern Afghanistan. They sat and listened as my father’s friend, French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy, addressed them. “When you fight for your freedom,” Lévy said, “you fight also for our freedom.” My father never forgot this as he fought against the Taliban regime. Up until the moment he was assassinated on Sept. 9, 2001, at the behest of the Taliban and al-Qaeda, he was fighting for the fate of Afghanistan but also for the West”.

NRF Fighters

Formerly, the Soviet forces and Taliban had failed to dislodge Ahmed Shah Massoud and capture Panjshir in 1980s and 90s. Panjshir is a naturally well-fortified strategic valley, long and narrow, guarded from all sides by high mountains, with only one major point of exit and entry, besides narrow entrances, which makes it difficult to conquer.

A bloody battle for the 34th province is in the offing. But negotiated settlement is still an option.  An NRF spokesman told media that it is ready to resist any Taliban aggression but wants to negotiate with the group about an inclusive government. The Taliban have also said they want to handle the situation peacefully. At the same time, a large number of Taliban have encircled Panjshir.

It seems that instead of launching a direct and immediate attack, Taliban might lay a long siege and stop the supplies of food and essentials to the valley. The NRF has also expressed apprehension that is not clear if the force has the supplies and equipment to withstand a long siege by the Taliban.

According to some reports negotiations between the Taliban and Ahmed Massoud group are taking place in Kabul and in Islamabad as well. Though Taliban consider Ahmed Massoud as their avowed enemy and chances of long-lasting peace between them are little, rapprochement is not impossible.  

NATIONAL

TERRORISM/SECTARIANISM-AT A GLANCE

KPK

Four persons including a police constable Samiullah Khan were injured when unidentified attackers threw grenade from a moving car, on Basiakhel Police Station near Durrani Chowk on Banu-Kohat Road in Banu and managed their escape (21 August).

A Police Elite Force cop namely Javed Khan was shot dead by unidentified armed motorcyclists when he was going in a car on Banu-Dera Road, Banu. The attackers managed to escape (21 August).

Two tribal elders – Malik Fazal Hussain and Malik Muhommad Amin were killed and a child injured in an attack on them by the unidentified terrorists in Orakzai tribal district. The members of Mamozai tribe staged a protest over the murders and demanded of the government to provide security to them or allow them to keep arms for their protection. Urged for constant patrolling of security forces as the terrorists linked with TTP were mushrooming in the area (22 August).

Two persons were shot dead and one injured during separate attacks by unidentified terrorists in Hasokhel village, Hassan Khan in Haiderkhel village and injured Bismillah Jan in Norwak villege of MirAli tehsil repectively in North Wazirstan tribal district (23 August).

The security forces claimed to have killed a terrorist in exchange of firing during an operation in Boya area of North Wazirstan tribal district (23 August).

Punjab

Two persons and a minor girl were killed and 26 others injured as a result of grenade attack near a Jamia masjid on the Aushora procession and stampede in Jinnah Colony, Jail Road, Bahawalnagar. Police claimed to have arrested a suspect and started investigations to arrest his accomplices and facilitators. Later, a DSP, SHO and few other police men of Bahawalnager police were suspended due to their criminal negligence to prevent the incident. Government of Punjab announced to grant Rs one million to the families of each deceased, Rs one lac to the one who sustained serious injuries and Rs. 50000 to minor injured persons as compensation (19 August).

Balochistan

            Five suspected terrorists of defunct Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) were killed while three others managed to the escape in darkness during a raid on their hideout by the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) in exchange of fire in New Marri, Ganji area of Quetta. One sub-machine gun, three pistols, number of hand grenades, two motor cycles and maps were recovered from the hide out while the two slain terrorists were later on identified as Jameel and Muhammad Khan (17/18 August Night).

    Three boys – Aziz Haider and two others were killed and three more including a Chines man injured, when a suicide bomber blew himself, targeting the convoy of vehicles carrying Chinese nationals, near Fishermen Colony, East Bay on Express Way in Gawadar. The defunct Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) Majeed Brigade, claimed responsibility of the attack by its suiside bomber named Sarbland Baloch @ Umar Jan. The two boys including Aziz Haider were playing near the site of incident (20 August).

 A security forces’ Captain named Kashif was killed and two soldiers injured when their patrolling vehicle hit a roadside IED planted by unidentified terrorists in Tabo area of Ghick in Khuzdar district (22 August).

 Three coal miners identified as Hadiyatur Rehman, Gul Waheed and Abdul Wakeel were shot dead by unidentified terrorists in Marwar Coal Mines, 70 k.m away from Quetta. The attackers managed to their escape (23 August).

Seven suspected terrorists of a banned outfit (names not disclosed) were killed and three made good their escape, in exchange of fire during a tip-off raid on their hideout in Loralai district. A good quantity of arms & ammunition was also recovered (24 August).

Comments & Analysis: –   The targeted attacks on security officials/civilians continued in KP and Balochistan during the period under review. The security forces made efforts to tackle and neutralise them. The incident in Gwadar was aimed at targeting the Chinese citizens and security forces personnel to damage the CPEC projects and create instability in the area. The Chinese Embassy Islamabad condemned the incident, expressed sympathies with the families of the deceased children and demanded of the Pakistan government for carrying out thorough investigation, punish the culprits and take concrete steps to prevent reoccurrence of such attacks. The attack was reportedly carried out by BLA in Makaran division as their launching pads in Afghanistan are likely to be closed after the Taliban have taken control of Kabul.

SITUATIONER

Suicide Bombing in Gwadar

* Asif Iqbal

Suicide bombing integrates people with material devices to create a weapon both inexpensive and intelligent in the truest sense ~ Jeffrey William Lewis in ‘The business of martyrdom: a history of suicide bombing’

            In the previous security brief (Vol 8, Issue no 72, dated 18 August 2021), Security Dynamics in Balochistan vis-à-vis Afghanistan,three major points were highlighted:

  • Outsourcing by terrorist organizations and nexus between TTP and Baloch sub nationalists, especially BRAS.
  • Makran belt remains a ‘soft underbelly’ with reference to security and remains the favourite target of terrorists.
  • Renewed effort to undertake terrorist attacks in Southern Balochistan (Makran belt) by BRAS or its affiliates cannot be denied.

            On 20 August 2021, suicide bombing (SB) in Gwadar on a Chinese convoy, claimed by BLA (Aslam Achoo group/ Majeed Brigade), highlights Chinese (engineers, staff, workers, etc) engaged in CPEC being apparent target of terrorists as well as the sensitivity of their security. Two children were killed and three people, including one Chinese, were injured in the attack. This is a second such attack on the Chinese in the current month; Dasu attack had TTP prints and Gwadar attack has been claimed by BLA (Aslam Achoo/ Majeed Brigade). There is no doubt that the main aim of hostile intelligence agencies (HIAs) is to ‘create chaos through terrorism’ with an ultimate objective to disrupt CPEC.

            Previously, the phenomenon of suicide bombing was an active tool used by TTP only but now this modus operandi has been adopted by the Baloch insurgents, specifically those which are aligned with BRAS [BLA (Aslam Achoo/ Majeed Brigade), BLF and BRA (Gulzar Shambay)]. Interestingly, all the three organizations in BRAS are non-Sardar led organizations and their members are residing near Afghan border (Kandahar, Nimroz and Helmand) and Iran border (Kurasan and Sistan va Baluchestan). BRAS was formed possibly to articulate, streamline and synergize terrorist activities of Baloch insurgents and was kick-started with the necessary push and funding by none other than RAW, with facilitation from NDS, in pursuance of Doval doctrine. Infrequent move of BRAS leadership and their affiliates to India, may it be for medical support or meeting and getting fresh instructions along with cache of dollars, is an open secret. Also, the use of third country for such meetings cannot be denied. The nexus of TTP and BRAS is very much existent and apparently the ‘art of suicide bombing’ has been transferred and taught to BRAS in general and BLA (Majeed brigade) in specific, by TTP. This also gives rise to the circumstance that both terrorist outfits have joint training camps in Afghanistan.

            It is also important to note that there was a similar SB attack in Dalbandin, on 11 August 2018, on a bus carrying Chinese engineers working on Saindak project. It was claimed by BLA but purportedly the SB was son of Dr Allah Nazar (BLF head and chairman BRAS).

            On conducting in-depth link and pattern analysis of the SB attack in Gwadar with previous terrorist attacks in Balochistan, over the last 5 years, following essentials regarding a SB attack transpire:

  • Reconnaissance of the ‘target’ with a likelihood of at least 2-3 additional targets as per priority.
  • Availability of local facilitation cell or network.
  • Lodging and food during his stay in target area or area adjacent to the target area.
  • Mode of transportation and route adopted by the terrorist to reach the target site.
  • Possibly 2-3 months were taken to complete the terrorist cycle. A typical terrorist cycle takes at least 3 months to complete; from selection of target, reconnaissance, selection and earmarking of terrorist team, preparation, training, transportation of men and material, to the conduct of terrorist act. (A typical terrorist cycle is divided into six stages; target selection, planning, deployment, the attack, escape and exploitation.)
  • Access to information with reference to move of target; in this specific, the convoy carrying Chinese.
  • Nexus between terrorists and organized crime syndicates like drug smugglers; a relationship with interests and mutual benefits. It is an established fact that organized crime syndicates provide a ready-made base for terrorism.

            The above enumerated may already be under investigation by the law enforcement and intelligence agencies. This also needs to be considered that terrorists have targeted both ends of CPEC (Dasu in the North and Gwadar in the South) which portrays that HIAs may conduct terrorist activities in and around both northern and southern sectors/ ends of CPEC. Terrorist activities in the central sector are plausible but they would not cause significant impact because the centre always has laterals and alternate routes, but the ends (northern and southern) cannot be changed.

            Recurrence of such incidents in the future is a major possibility, especially in the context of current situation in Afghanistan. To avoid any future incidents, there is essential requirement to have re-appraisal of security and intelligence efforts; enhanced security measures and increased intelligence efforts with extensive source network. Offensive counter intelligence and counter terrorism strategies need to be adopted. Correspondingly, rejuvenated diplomatic exertions are obligatory for Pakistan, to pressurize Iran and Afghanistan for dismantling TTP and Baolch terrorist camps in their territories, and highlighting Indian linkages and role to the international fora in the terrorist activities and overall instability.

*The writer is a security analyst

Analysis

Post-Ashraf Ghani-NDS-era-terrorism in Balochistan: Causes and Factors


*Ejaz Hussain

Once hand in glove


India is always ahead in launching plans B and C and D—when it comes to state terrorism.
As long as it remains under control of RSS/BJP, Modi, Amit Shah, Rajnath, Doval, Goel and Rawat—Pak can’t expect from India ‘shantee’, especially in Balochistan.
Right from May 1998 when Pak robustly responded to India’s nuclear explosions—Indian Intel agencies began planning to destabilise Balochistan where Pak demonstrated its nuclear prowess.
Then RAW chief, Arvind Dave—who was later rewarded with gubernatorial posts of four states—was the first Indian super sleuth who approached Baloch separatists.
He was authorised by then Home Minister, LK Advani, $10 million and full autonomy to recruit, train and launch young trigger-crazy children of renegade Baloch leaders—Murries and Bugtis, later joined by some sectarian groups.
Pak did respond with conciliation and force.
The expansion of paramilitary forces—North and South FCs, and three combat divisions was a powerful response to the RAW-backed/funded separatists.
The establishment of Afghan NDS in 2002-03 made RAW’s job easy when with US covert support, India began training NDS agents with the single aim—destabilise, dismember and destroy Pakistan through Balochistan.
I don’t want to go into details as to what happened to Pakistan during last two decades—but the RAW-CIA-Mossad-NDS ‘bloody alliance’ killed more than 100,000 civilians in Pakistan and incurred collateral/economic damage in the range of $150 billion.
With the humiliating withdrawal of US troops, inglorious flight of Ashraf Ghani, ‘evaporation’ of NDS and advent of Taliban in Kabul—Team Modi is inexplicably frustrated and chagrined. However, they had planned to deal with this situation.
The RAW and IB External wings started launching fake think tanks/research centres/NGOs in key cities of North America, Europe, and MiddleEast—since 2003.
They currently have what I regard as political offices of RAW—in Zurich/Geneva, Vienna, Berlin/Bonn, Brussels, The Hague/Amsterdam, Paris, London, Dubai, Washington/NY, and Ottawa/Toronto etc.
According to some credible sources, there are more than 5,000 such fake intellectuals working for RAW in these cities.
They are using social media, TV channels, newspapers, research periodicals, organisations, academic institutions, and businesses in these cities—all in favour of India, and against China and Pakistan.
They are supported and assisted by global media networks under Hindu managements—BBC, CNN, SKY, Al Jazeera, Google, Facebook/WhatsApp, Instagram, Viber, Signal etc.
The RAW agents/centres in these cities provide means to Baloch separatists living (on political asylum).
The Baloch rebels that are carrying out terrorist attacks in Balochistan are being funded, armed and managed by RAW-Overseas.
Attending various international forums, I encounter these RAW agents, disguised as peace researchers and intellectuals. They are fomenting neo-liberalism/Islamophobia in Paris. They’re influencing nuclear regulator IAEA in Vienna. They’re lobbying for India in EU Parliament in Brussels and Strasbourg. They’re impacting on cases being heard at the ICC/ICJ at The Hague.
And they’re executing subtle conspiracy in London—the hub of world’s all evil planning and execution.
We all know that British PM and his Cabinet are under the Indian control—Priti Patel, Rishi Sunak, Suella Braverman etc.
But, given Gen QJB’s personal relationship with UK CDS, Gen Nick Carter—there’s a hope that this issue may be raised at the next Carter-Bajwa meeting.
London shouldn’t be used by anti-Pak forces.
I have had a few close interactions with Gen Carter on some conferences—he genuinely respects Gen QJB and has a little soft corner for Pakistan. Gen Carter is retiring in three months, he is also on a 9-month extension.

Dr.Ejaz Hussain is a political and security strategist, based in UK.

*The views and opinions expressed here are his own and do not necessarily represent the views of The Security Brief.

DEFENCE

Navel Chief Visits Jordan and Iran

Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Muhammad Amjad Khan Niazi visited Jordan and Iran on official tour, discussed the matters of mutual interest and enhancing bilateral relations during meetings with their respective senior Commanders and defence chief (20 & 24 August).

 Pakistan successfully conducted MLRS Test

Pakistan successfully conducted test flight of indigenously designed Fatah-1  (Guided Multi Launch Rocket System), carrying conventional warhead which enhances its capabilities of precision targeting deep in enemy’s territory. The president, CJCSC and COAS congratulated the Pakistani military scientists, engineers and technicians for their contribution in this regard (24 August).

 Pakistan-Kazakhstan Joint Military Exercise

Pakistan-Kazakhstan joint military exercise ” Dastyum-111″ started after an inaugural ceremony at National Counter Terrorism Center (NCTC) at Pabbi. It is being participated by personnel of the special forces of the two countries aimed at encompassing integrated drill in hostages rescue, compound clearance and close quarter battles etc. It had started with first exercise in 2017, second in 2018 and ongoing in 2021 (24 August)

Border Areas/Districts of KP and Balochistan

Arrests for anti-Taliban slogans and hoisting Afghan flags

A number of Afghan nationals chanted anti Afghan Taliban slogans and hoisted Afghan national flags of deposed President Ashraf Ghani’s period with music in Hayatabad and University area of Peshawar by closing a road on the eve of Afghan National Day. It was objected by local people which led to a minor clash. Police reached the site, cleared the road, registered four cases under various sections of Foreigners Act and arrested 194 Afghan nationals (20 August).

Two Arrested for displaying Afghan Taliban leaders’ pictures and flags

Two sign boards containing greetings to Taliban over their victory in Afghanistan and carrying pictures of Taliban leaders – Mullah Habitullah Akahwnzada, Mullah Abdul Ghani Bradar, Jamat e Islami Ameer, Suraj-ul-Haq and Senator Mushtaq Ahmed, were displayed in Shahi Bagh, Faqirabad area of Peshawar. Police removed the hoardings, registered case and arrested two persons named Sadiq Hussain and Rahimullah in connection with this act. The Ameer Jamat-e-Islami has been urging the federal government to recognise the Taliban rule for strengthening Pak-Afghan relations (23 August).

FOREIGN RELATIONS

Need to bridle TTP

The Federal Interior Minister Sheikh Muhommad Rasheed talking to media at Islamabad said that Afghan Taliban have given assurance that TTP would not be permitted to operate from Afghan territory for terrorist attacks on Pakistan. He vowed that CPEC is of great importance and nobody will be allowed to damage it (23 August). It is learnt that the leadership of Afghan Taliban has constituted a three members commission to inquire into Pakistan’s complaint about TTP operating from Afghan soil to carry out terrorist attacks on civil and military targets in Pakistan. Despite repeated assurances of Taliban leadership there has been no letup in TTP’s terrorist activities in Pakistan, since the Afghan Taliban came into power on 15 August. The whole world hopes that they will take action against various terrorist outfits including TTP, IS/ISKP, Al-Qaida and ETIM/TIP shortly to curb their activities once they establish their writ in the country.

New Heads of US Consulate Generals at Lahore/Karachi

Mr. William Makanole assumed the charge of US Consul General, Lahore in place of Ms. Catherine Rotriduge (23 August). Similarly, Mr. Mark Stroh assumed the charge of US Consulate General, Karachi. It is his second posting in Pakistan; previously he remained posted in the US Embassy Islamabad as the spokesperson from 2011-12 (25 August).

LOC and IO&JK (Indian Occupied Jammu and Kahmir

The situation remained peaceful at LOC during the period under review where the Pakistani and Indian forces are deployed readiness on the forward posts.

In IOJK, the Indian security forces continued their so-called anti-militancy drive against the Kashmiri youth and killed 8 persons including Wakeel Shah, Abbas Sheikh and Saqib Manzoor in fake encounters in Pulwama, Srinagar and other areas besides arresting dozens for their alleged links with militant outfits (20, 21 and 23 August). Police and Border Security Force (BSF) claimed recovery of 10 hand grenades from Karalpura, one mortar shell from Rajouri and fired at unidentified flying object like drone (UAV) in Amira sector of Jammu; CRPF personnel were injured in a grenade attack near Ali Masjid in Srinagar (23  & 24 August).

The ex-CM IO&JK and President PDP while referring to the Taliban take over in Afghanistan by ousting the US and NATO troops, in a statement warned the Indian government to learn lesson from the developments around and start talks with Kashmiri people and restore special status of IO&JK which was arbitrarily altered in 2019 by revoking Article 370 of the Indian Constitution (21 and 24 August).

The Indian government is concerned over the fall of Ashraf Ghani government in Afghanistan and fear a fall-out on the freedom struggle of the people of the valley. In an anticipatory move the Indian security forces and police have stepped up their fake encounters and arrests of innocent citizens. But at he same time they have feeling the pressure of sustained struggle of the Kashmiris, as Lt Gen Joshi, Commander of 15 Corps of Indian army at Srinagar, offered relief to the Kashmiri youth and lured them to give up their struggle.

Following some recent indications of possible ban on the two factions of Hurriyat Conference under the Preventive Act, the signboards of the head office of Ali Galini’s groups in Hadirpura, Srinagar were removed on 22 August. Condemning the recent killings of Kashmiri youth by the Indian security forces in fake encounters, the outgoing President Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Sardar Masood Ahmed Khan said that since 2019 the Indian security forces have killed 410 youth in fake encounters and arrested 2300 persons in 1200 cases under black laws in IJOK. Meanwhile, Barrister Sultan Mahmood was sworn-in as the new President of Azad Jammu and Kashmir on 25 August.

LAC/Indo-China Border

Indian and Chinese forces continued their deployment on the forward posts alongside LAC with heavy armaments in the rare positions and bases in back  to face any emergency situation during the period under review. Nevertheless, the situation remained peaceful in Ladakh sector along LAC. Indian forces reportedly conducted exercises in the rear areas facing Tibet sector. Despite 12 rounds of senior military level talks between the two sides, no considerable progress for disengagement of the troops on the frontline has been reported.

AFGHANISTAN

Terrorism/Violence

Three devastating bomb blasts at Kabul airport resulted in death of more than 170 persons including 16 US Marines, 20 Taliban and about 60 Afghans who had thronged there to get the opportunity to fly out of Afghanistan.

Besides this gruesome Kabul airport incident, the incidents of terrorism, targeted killings, blasts and general crime in Afghanistan have decreased considerably after Taliban grasped control of capital Kabul on 15th August. Three small mountainous districts in Baghlan, Badakshan and Takhar provinces fell to local anti-Taliban militias near to the Panjsher valley in the North Afghanistan. However, the Taliban regained them after bloody skirmishes. The only place left was Panjshir valley under the control of the son of famous Tajik leader Ahmed Shah Masud along with deposed Vice President Amarullah Saleh and former army chief Gen Haibatullah with heavy fortification and strength of 6000 strong ex-personnel of ANDSF and local militias. (26 August).

Evacuation operations at Kabul Airport

A grueling process of evacuation of foreign nationals and Afghans at risk is underway at Kabul airport.  So far over 100,000 persons have successfully been air lifted from Kabul Airport in continuous flight operations by the US and other nations under extremely risky environment. India airlifted its diplomats, staff and Afghan nationals, mostly utilizing its military base in Tajikistan as transit, UK airline lifted 11000 persons during the last 48 hours while France has completed it flight operation.

Earlier, the US, on the pursuance of European Union, reportedly approached the Taliban to extend the dated of pull out beyond 31th August but Taliban rejected the plea. A meeting was held between the CIA Chief William Burn, Special Envoy, Zalmay Khalilzad and Mullah Abdul Ghani Brader at Kabul in this regard. Eventually the US President Biden, talking to specially held G-7 meeting, said that US will make all out efforts to complete the flight operation within the limit of 31 August. Consequently, a large number of evacuees are being transported to Pakistan to stay in transit in hotels in Islamabad and Lahore from where they would be gradually flown to their destinations.  

Turkish officials have reportedly disclosed that Taliban have requested them to provide technical support to run the operations of Kabul international airport without any troops after withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan (25 August).

Afghanistan situation-What now and next

According to reports, Taliban leaders are holding meetings with Afghan political leaders including Dr Abdullah Abdullah, Hamid Karazai, Gulbuddin Hikmatyar to set up inclusive government in Afghanistan and start reconstruction process. Conversely, there are also reports that Hamid Karzai and Abdullah Abdullah are under house arrest in the latter’s residence. Russian President Vladimir Putin said that his country would not deploy forces in Afghanistan or become party to any conflict, having learned the lesson from the USSR era misadventure in Afghanistan (24 August).

The World Bank reportedly halted aid to Afghanistan. Earlier, International Monetary Fund (IMF) had halted Afghanistan’s access to IMF funds. World Bank Kabul-based team has been evacuated to Pakistan. Afghanistan is likely to undergo acute shortage of funds, food and medical supplies in the days to come and needs immediate relief on humanitarian grounds to prevent a catastrophe and disaster due to shattered economy. The life in Kabul and other cities are limping back to some sort of normalcy but it might take some time to be actually normal. Most of government employees have not resumed duties and banks are closed since 15 August despite Taliban announced general amnesty to everybody regardless of their past affiliation with army, police or Ashraf Ghani’s lobby. Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said that they want to maintain cordial relations with all the countries of the world.  Internally, they were persistently appealing to women, journalists and all others to undertake their duties in normal manner without fear (26 August).

Coronavirus Crisis Update

  • The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) reported 4,016 new coronavirus cases and 95 deaths in a single day across the country (26 August). Two days earlier the number of deaths was 141  during  24 hours, which was the highest single-day death toll recorded in nearly four months in the country. Pakistan had recorded 161 COVID-19 deaths in a single day on May 4.
  • Government of Pakistan has fixed the price of booster corona vaccine shot at Rs.1270, for the travelers going abroad.
  • KPK task force on coronavirus has decided to seek Pakistan Army’s help for the civil administration in Hazara division to control increase in the infection positivity rate. It also directed the police to ensure the people’s compliance with the standard operating procedures (SOPs) and non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) in the province. Official statistics show that KPK province recorded at least 25 deaths from Covid-19 and 605 new cases during the last 24 hours. A total of 4,909 people in the province have so far lost life to the virus since its outbreak early last year.
  • According to the data released by the NCOC, over 50 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines have been administered to the people across the country— something that the centre considers as a milestone.
  • 62,496 coronavirus tests had been conducted across the country over the last 24 hours (Saturday-26th), of which 4,016 cases were found to be positive. The breakdown of the total number of tests conducted over the last 24 hours, was as follows: Sindh, 21,585 tests; Punjab, 21,326; KPK, 10,523; Islamabad, 5,659; Balochistan, 1,460; Gilgit-Baltistan, 701; and Azad Jammu and Kashmir, 1,242.

Pakistan’s Security Barometer

Terrorism: TTP, its affiliates and BLA have stepped up their terrorist activities in tribal areas, and major cities of Pakistan; trying to take advantage of uncertain times after the withdrawal of the US forces from Afghanistan.

Threat Level: High – due to transition in Afghanistan. The intelligence agencies must take proactive pre-emptive measures to unearth the networks and sleeper cells and foil the evil designs of the terrorists.

Level of Sectarianism & Religious Extremism: Simmering through the society due to unbridled activities of the extremist sectarian and religious elements.

Border Situation:  Ceasefire at LoC. The Western border (Pak-Afghan), is becoming restive. Chaman border is closed by Afghan Taliban. Home grown terrorists, TTP, try to attack the check posts on Pak-Afghan border.

Health Security: The wave of Coronavirus is again on the rise. 

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 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. 

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

Editor: Dr. Naveed Elahi

Centre for Peace and Security Research. 131-Shadman II, Lahore.

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