The Security Brief

Vol. 6-Issue No 45

13th January, 2021

Editorial

ISLAMIC STATE’S FOOT-PRINTS IN PAKISTAN

The brutal killing of 11 Hazara shias in Kuchh, Balochistan on 4 January, 2021, was carried out by the terrorist organization, Islamic State, (IS) as claimed by it. IS has gained good foothold in Afghanistan and is called Islamic State in Khorasan ISK). Khorasan includes Pakistan and India too. In Afghanistan it has become well-entrenched and strong enough to take on Afghan Taliban, though not in a sustained manner. It has carried out terrorist attacks in Kabul and other cities of Afghanistan.

 ISK has its traces in different parts of Pakistan too. Rather after the Operation Zarb-e-Azb, many militants of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), who had fled to Afghanistan, joined ISK in Kunar province of Afghanistan. ISK had started distributing its literature in big cities of Pakistan and recruited some volunteers too. Mostly the recruits were from TTP and some disgruntled members of other organizations like Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jamaat-ud-Dawa, the Haqqani Network, and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU). 

Pakistan has been ambivalent and in self-denial about the presence of IS in its area. In Feb 2016 the Director General Intelligence Bureau had told a parliamentary panel that Islamic State was coordinating with militant groups and that hundreds of people had left Pakistan to join its fight in Syria. But very next day the Foreign Office denied it in a media statement. According to the Centre of Strategic & International Studies, since January 2017, ISK has carried out 84 attacks against civilians in Afghanistan and 11 in Pakistan. Two years ago, Counter Terrorism Department, Punjab conducted many raids in cities like Lahore, Sialkot, Gujrat etc and arrested the activists linked with IS. Since then there was not much news about the presence of IS in Pakistan.

The kidnapping and murder of Hazaras in Kuchh, Balochistan by IS-K militants, as claimed by itself, has once again created the scare of the palpable presence of the terrorist group in Pakistan. It is a point of concern that IS has the propensity to attract the trained militants of other militant and extremist groups as it did at its inception in this area. It mainly recruited TTP militants, who were annihilated in Pakistan and were readily available to join any group that wanted to create trouble in Pakistan. Even the first head of IS in Afghanistan was Hafiz Saeed from erstwhile FATA who was active member of TTP. He was later killed in a drone attack in Afghanistan.

At this point in time, when action is being taken against groups like Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) etc, to meet the requirements of FATF, its hardened militants can join hands with IS. There are reports that in the past JuD members joined IS in Afghanistan. In near past, when government clamped on the jihadi parties, trained members of JuD started carrying out attacks on LEAs on their own. There are all the chances that again these elements can become active members of ISK or be their sleeper agents and supporters.

It is imperative for the intelligence agencies to immediately undertake the arduous task to carry out the audit of the proscribed organizations, trail their disgruntled members and keep a close watch on the 4th schedulers to avoid any surprise attack from them. Simultaneously, the deradicalisation program, which was introduced for a brief period, must be reintroduced in a sustainable manner.

NATIONAL

TERRORISM/SECTARIANISM- AT A GLANCE

Punjab

Sr. NoIncidentKilledInjuredArrested
1.The Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) Punjab during an intelligence-based operation arrested seven terrorists – affiliated with defunct outfit Sipah-e-Muhammad (SMP) from Sargodha and recovered weapons, parts of IED, including explosive material, detonators, and safety fuse from their possession (06th January).07
2.District civil defence bomb disposal squad defused an Indian anti-tank mine weighed 18 pounds, recovered during loading of a sand in a drain near Pindi Dewani village Zafarwal tehsil of Narowal District (10th January).  

Comments & Analysis: – It is learnt that the mastermind of the network, Muhammad Iqbal @ Medan Baloch caste Baloch, had been directing the SMP network from a neighbouring country and was planning to kill the leadership of the opposite sect. Main aim of the terrorists was to spread violent sectarianism in the country in order to create chaos. He is reportedly staying in the neighbouring country with the support of its Intelligence Agency. The Interpol will be approached to arrest the mastermind.

Sindh

Sr. NoIncidentKilledInjuredArrested
1.A dead body of a suspected militant identified as Luqman Khan was recovered by police form bushes near Sawan Mor off the Northern bypass, Karachi. Police is investigating the case (04th January).  01
2.Pakistan Rangers and Sindh police arrested one Muhammad Waseem alias Waseem Bhaya a suspected person linked with Lyari-gang war from Old Sabzi Mandi area in Karachi (04th January). 01

Comments & Analysis: – The deceased Luqman hailed from Swat area of KPK and was reportedly linked with militants. He was missing since 2019 from Pirabad area of Korangi town Karachi. It needs to be checked whether he was one of the missing persons or not. 

KPK

Sr. NoIncidentKilledInjuredArrested
1.Frontier Constabulary (FC) sepoy, Fazal Waleed was killed due to targeted firing on a Pakistani security check post in Mohmand tribal District, across the border from Afghanistan (06th January).01
2.Three children (three brothers) were killed and their two neighbor children injured after a hand grenade went- off while they were playing with it in Zangli village, Khoat Road in Peshawar district (06th January).0302
3.The Tor Ghar police recovered an anti-aircraft gun and hundreds of rounds from Maly Yar village which was supposedly buried there by the terrorists (06th January).   
4.Kohat police seized a heavy cache of weapons hidden in the secret cavities of a car coming from Peshawar, during the search at Kohat Tunnel Check point. It contained 46 9- MM pistols, 03 AK-47 rifles, 06 M-16 rifles silencers and 50 charges. According to the police sources, the weapons were being smuggled to Miramshah (07th January).01
5.The Dir Scouts on a tip-off recovered heavy cache of arm and ammunition including 06 rocket launcher shells, 02 hand grenades, 38 rounds of 12.7mm, 455 rounds of machine guns, 04 shell fuses, a machine gun barrel, 02 mortar shells and 01 kg of commercial explosives dumped in deserted place of Jabagae andhari area (08th January). 

Comments & Analysis: – Pakistan has repeatedly protested over the incidents of firing from Afghanistan side on the check posts inside Pakistan. It seems that the  A security fence being erected by Pakistan on the borders with Afghanistan to prevent to movements of terrorists and smugglers across the border, is not acceptable to the terrorists as well as some quarters within the Afghan government.

Balochistan

Sr. NoIncidentKilledInjuredArrested
1. Islamic State (IS) reportedly claimed the responsibility of the killing of eleven coal mine labourers of Hazara Shia community near the Mach town, Balochistan (04th  January).         —
2.Five persons were injured in an explosion at the Cinema Bazar un Turbat, Kech District (10th January).05

Comments & Analysis: – Reportedly seven out of 11 slain Hazaras were Afghan nationals. IS has a good foothold in Afghanistan. They managed to plan the killing of Hazaras in Pakistan through their local supporters.       

The explosion in Turbat is believed to have been carried out by the terrorists, most probably the outlawed Baloch separatist groups including BLA, to target the FC check post.          

MINORITIES

SC orders reconstruction of Temple in Karak

The Supreme Court bench, headed by the Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed on a suo-moto notice, ordered for reconstruction of the temple (05th January). The minority community members expressed satisfaction over the suo motu notice taken by the CJP.

Comments & Analysis: –The CM, KP has announced to constitute a committee to make assessment of the damage done to the temple and the extent of expenses to reconstruct it. The committee will report within 10 days.  Meanwhile, the Police has arrested 48 accused including Maulana Sharif, Maulana Mohammad Haleem, Maulana Matiullah and Maulana Imdadullah in connection with the desecration and destruction of the temple.

TLP warns of protest if French envoy not expelled

Maulana Saad Rizvi

The newly appointed Chief of Tehreek-e-Labaik Ya Rasool Allah (TLP), Maulana Saad Rizvi s/o late Allama Khadim Hussain Rizvi, while addressing a large gathering on the occasion of the “chehlum” of his father said that they were bound to honour the agreement with the government to take certain steps for the honour of the Prophet (pbuh) till 17th February. He warned that thereafter, they will be free for future course of action, if government failed to fulfil its promises as per the agreement (02nd January).

Comments & Analysis: – The late Khadim Rizvi before his death, signed an agreement with the Government on 19th November, 2020 to end its protest in Islamabad on the publications of caricatures of the Prophet (pbuh) in France. According to the agreement, the Government would get a decision made by the Parliament regarding expulsion of the French Ambassador within three months. Further, it would not appoint Pakistan’s Ambassador to France; releasee all the arrested workers and will not register any case against the TLP leaders or workers even after it calls off the sit-in. The last two demands were met immediately but a decision on the first two is still pending.

DEFENCE/NATIONAL SECURITY

China-Pakistan air exercises

Pakistan and China Shaheen-lX air exercises concluded. The Chinese analysts talking on Chinese Central Television (CCTV) stated that the said exercises benefited both sides; Chinese pilots could learn from their Pakistani counterparts, and China’s J-10C and J-11B fighter jets were used to simulate India’s Rafale and Su-30 fighter jets in mock battles (04th January).

Comments & Analysis: – The joint exercises started w.e.f 07th December, 2020 in Pakistan and continued for about 20 days. China sent its warplanes including J-10C, J-11B fighter jets, KJ-500 early warning aircraft and Y-8 electronic warfare aircraft and Pakistan used  JF-17 and Mirage III fighter jets. According to the CCTV report unlike previous Shaheen series exercises, this time both the countries comprehensively deployed aviation forces and paratroopers, and added real combat-oriented training courses like maritime training for the first time.

Corps Commanders Conference at GHQ

The 238th Corps Commanders Conference was held at the General Headquarters, Rawalpindi under the chairmanship of Chief of Army Staff (COAS), General Qamar Javed Bajwa. The forum undertook a comprehensive review of regional and domestic security environment with special focus on the situation along the borders, internal security, situation on the eastern and western borders, LoC and atrocities being committed by the occupant forces on the people of Indian Held Kashmir (IHK) with regard to their right of self-determination under the UN resolution and other professional matters of the army (05th January).

Comments & Analysis: – Corps Commanders Conference expressed satisfaction over positive developments in Afghan peace process and efforts made for regional peace and stability. The participants paid special tribute to all Shuhada and their families for supreme sacrifices rendered for peaceful and secure Pakistan, especially, the recent incidents in Balochistan observing that sacrifices would not go waste. Also expressed determination that the terrorists and their abettors would be defeated at all costs.

Pakistan successfully tests multi-launch rocket system Fatah-1

Pakistan successfully tested the indigenously developed guided multi-launch rocket system Fatah-1, reported ISPR (07th January).

Comments & Analysis: The rocket system is capable of delivering a conventional warhead up to a range of 140 kilometres. It will give capability to Pakistan Army for precision target to impede the advanement of enemy troops before reaching the borders.

Pakistan-USA discuss over strategic defence dialogue

A US delegation led by Assistant Secretary of Defence for indo-pacific security affairs David Helvery visited GHQ Rawalpindi. They held discussion with the senior military officials headed by Chief of General staff Lt. Gen. Shahid Shamshad Mirza to hold consultation on Pakistan-US strategic level defence dialogue (08th January).    

Comments & Analysis: – Pakistan and USA have been cooperating in defence field since long. According to ISPR the issues ranging from regional security to deepening of bilateral defence and security, and military to military level cooperation were discussed during the meeting.

DG ISPR press conference

Inter Services Public Relations DG major Gen. Baber Iftikhar, while addressing a press conference at Rawalpindi, said that no organized terrorist infrastructure existed in Pakistan today as the country fought successfully against the internal and external challenges. He said that 371,000 operations have been conducted in the last three years under operation Radd-ul-Fasaad and the armed forces had successfully eliminated the illegal arm and ammunition. He further said that during the war against terrorism in the last 20 years more than 80 thousand terrorists were killed besides eliminating or arresting 1100 Al-Qaida terrorists for the global peace. He further said that border fencing along 2611 km long Pak-Afghan border will be completed mid-2021 and fencing with Iran border will also be completed within one year. He also condemned the Indian network Brussels based EU DisinfoLab being operated by Srivastava group along with fake NGOs for spreading anti-Pakistan propaganda and false stories about minorities and women (11th January).

Comments & Analysis: – No doubt TTP and likes have been annihilated through  sustained military operations, however the terrorists keep trying to regroup and carry out terrorist activities throughout Pakistan. There is a need to keep the guards up and implement the National Action Plan in letter and spirit.

COURT HEARINGS/DECISION

Rape victims: LHC declares virginity test method illegal

Lahore High Court Judge, Justice Ayesha A Malik, Judge, Lahore High Court In the 30-page verdict, the judge observed that the test carried out for the purposes of ascertaining the virginity of a female victim of rape or sexual abuse is unconstitutional and unscientific having no medical basis. Therefore, it has no forensic value in cases of sexual violence. The practice goes against the right to life and right to dignity, enshrined in Article 9 and 14 of the Constitution, and it offends the personal dignity of the female victims (04th January).

Comments & Analysis: The learned judge directed the Provincial Government to take necessary steps to ensure that the practice of such virginity tests was banned from the medico-legal examination of the rape and sexual abuse survivors. The court issued verdict in petition challenging the use and conduct of virginity test.

Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi sentenced to 15 years in jail

Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi

Mumbai attack mastermind and Lashkar-e-Taiba operations commander Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, leader of Jaamat-ut-Dawa, was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment to in connection with a case related to terror financing (08th January).

Comments & Analysis: – Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi was on bail in the case since 2015. The ATC convicted him for commission of offences in the said case registered by the CTD under different sections of the Anti-Terrorism Act 1997 with a fine of Rs.100,000 each on three counts. He was sent to prison to serve the sentences. Earlier, he pleaded before the court that he was falsely implicated in this case.

IHC heard writ petition on Dr. Afia Siddiqui

File photo

Islamabad High Court Judge (IHC) Justice Amir Farooq heard the writ petition filed for the release and repatriation of Dr. Afia Siddiqui who is undergoing imprisonment in USA. The learned court termed the Foreign Ministry report presented on Dr. Afia Siddiqui unsatisfactory, directed the Federal Government to submit a progress report and summoned an officer of the Foreign Secretary level at the next hearing (11th January).

Comments & Analysis: – In 2010 a US Federal Court in Manhattan had sentenced Dr. Afia Siddiqui to 86 years’ imprisonment for the attempted murder of US military personal in Afghanistan. In May, 2020 Fowzia Siddiqui the sister of Dr. Afia had also filed a plea in the Sindh High Court regarding the threat posed by Covid-19 to Dr. Afia Siddiqui in the US jail.

CRIME/LAW & ORDER

  1. An eight years old Madarasah student Mobasshar was allegedly tortured to death by his teacher Qari Imran Yaqoob in village Chak 214-EB Bangla Basti Sadar, Vehari District (03rd January). 
  2. Three armed robbers attempted to snatch cash and other valuables from Inspector Asad of ASF and his friend in Sachal area, Scout Colony Karachi. When the robbers were fleeing, two out of them were shot dead by the Inspector (04th January).
  3. Swat District police arrested three motorcycle thieves and recovered eight motorbikes from their possession, stolen from different locations in Mingora (04th January).
  4. The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) arrested six members of a gang including an Afghan National Safi Ullah for making fake Pakistani Computerized National Identity Cards (CNIC). FIA also recovered Afghan passports and NADRA tokens from their possession in Dera Ismail Khan (05th January).    
  5. A cattle trader Javed Brohi and his son Tanveer were shot dead by unidentified motorcyclist near Ibrahim Shah village, PS Kadhan of Badin District (05th January).
  6. Police arrested seven persons including Waqas, Nadeem, Sajid and Allah Dita for digging up the grave of Baba Gharib Shah Wali, in Kotli Pathana village of Kasur District (05th January).
  7. The Kasur District police claimed to have arrested a notorious gangster Aslam wanted in over forty cases of robberies, murder and kidnapping along with his accomplices (05th January).
  8.  Zain Ali Effendi, grandson of Hassan Ali Effendi who was the founder of Sindh Madrissatul Islam school during the British rule, was killed while resisting a robbery at his house in Karachi (07th January).
  9. The dead body of a missing child Arslan was found in a drain near Ashiani Interchange in Chungi Amarsaddu area of Lahore (07th January).
  10. A group of enraged lawyers stormed the Municipal Corporation (MC) office in Faisalabad and ransacked it after one of their colleague Advocate Shafqat Hameed was allegedly tortured by some employ of MC (07th January).
  11. A mentally ill person committed suicide after killing his wife and fourteen years old daughter over a family disputer in Killi Niaz Muhammad Baracha village, Dalbandin, Chagai District (09th January).
  12. One Shaukat Ali employed as a guard in a house in Gulberg-II, was found killed in the said house while his cell phone and motorcycle were missing (09th January).
  13. The railway police arrested a passenger of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Karachi Passenger train at Taxila and recovered rupees 18 lac fake currency notes from his possession (09th January).
  14. Police arrested four persons during an attempt of robbery in a house at G-6 sector of Islamabad (09th January).
  15. A police head constable Noor Ali Shah was shot dead by an unidentified armed suspected person during his attempt to arrest him in Thakot Bazar of Battagram (09th January).
  16. A super store owner Shahid Imran Channa was killed and his manager Muhammad Nawaz Jatoi and a customer Kaloo Abbasi injured on resistance during an attempt of robberies by armed persons in Housing Society, airport road, Sukkur (10th January).
  17. The police arrested three suspects in the gang rape of a minor girl after kidnapping her from Sova Aasil village to Changa Manga forest, District Kasur (10th January).
  18. One Naimat Khan and his wife Shahida were shot dead by their rivals due to personal enmity in Nehal village, Akora Khatak in Nowshera District (10th January).
  19. Police registered cases against five lawyers who allegedly restored to aerial firing to celebrate the victory of their candidate in the District and Bar elections in Faisalabad District (10th January).

Crime Details 03/01/2020 to 11/01/2021

CrimesPunjabKPKSindhBalochistanIslamabadAJ&K
Murders(Sahiwal-5, Gujranwala-2, Gujar Khan-2, Taxila-2, Toba Tek Singh-3, Sahiwal-5, Sheikhupura-1, Gujranwala-1, Taxila-1, Rawalpindi-1, Lahore-2, Rawalpind-2, Taxila-1, Lahore-1, Muzaffargarh-2, Nishtar Colony-1, Ferozewala-3, Tibbi City-1, Sundar-1, Model town-1, Lahore-1, Taxila-2, Toba Tek Singh-1) =43(North Waziristan-1, Lakki Marwat-1, Shangla-1, Lakki Marwat-1, Buner-1, Mansehra-2, Peshwar-3, Peshawar-1, Batagram-1, Kohat-1, Nowshera-2, Swabi-2) = 17(Karachi-2, Karachi-1, Sukkur-2, Nawabshah-2, Karachi-1, Badin-1, Karachi-1, Nawabshah-3, Thatta-2, Karachi-1, Baldia town-1, Sukkur-1) =18(Quetta-11, Machh-11, Chagai-1) =23(Islamabad-1, Islamabad-1) =02(AJ&K-2) =02
Gang rape(Kala Shah Kaku-1, Nishtar Colony-1) =02     
Robberies/ Dacoits(Bahāwalnagar-1, Rewaz Garden-1, Gujjar Pura-1, Garhi Shahu-1, Lower Mall-1, Green town-1, Manawan-1, Rang Mahal-1, Ichara-1, Manga Mandi-1, Ching-1, Satu Katla-1, Shadbag-1, Township-1, Shahdara-1, Defence-1, Shalimar-1, Valencia-1, Gujjar Pura-1, Sanda-1, Defence-1) =21(Shangla-1, Peshawar-1) =02    
Kidnapping(Rewaz Garden-1, Manawan-1, Nishtar Colony-1, Nawab town-1) =02     
Police encounter  (Larkana-1) =01   
Injured(Lahore-1, Gujranwala-9, Toba Tek Singh-9, Sahiwal-7, Shumali Chaoni-2, Toba Tek Singh-30, Tibbi City-1, Lahore-5) =64(Karak-2, Peshwar-2, Swat-26, Swabi-2) =32(Sukkur-2, Nawabshah-10, Thatta-2, Sukkur-1) =15 (Chagai-1, Gwadar-5) =06 (Muzaffarabad-6, Muzaffarabad-2) =08
Grand Total1325131290202
Source: Media & National dailies

REGIONAL

LoC/IHK

  1. The tension remained palpable on LoC where Pakistan and Indian troops a deployed on forward posts. The Indian army recently conducted exercises in Poonch and Rajouri Districts of occupied Jammu and Kashmir alongside LoC (07th January).
  2. A fourteen years boy Ali Haider resident of Mirpur, Azad Kashmir who reportedly had inadvertently crossed over LoC near Rangar Nala in Poonch on 31st December last year was handed over to Pakistan army by the Indian army (08th January).
  3. The building of Madrissa Islamia Arbia Darul-Islam, Bhagwanpura, Noor Bagh in Srinagar was gutted in a massive ablaze in the night. According to the authority’s fire was caused by a shot circuit (08th January). The dead body of one Abdul Qayyum Khan a citizen of Srinagar who went missing a day ago was found inside the washroom of a local Mosque (09th January).
  4. Muhammad Khalil and his wife Faryad Bibi resident of Bhimber District, Azad Kashmir were injured due to unprovoked ceasefire violation through mortars shelling by the Indian army in Baroh and Khanjar sectors along LoC (09th January).          

Comments & Analysis: – Indian security forces continued their fake anti-militancy drive in the valley. According to a report of Kashmir media service during such fake anti-militancy operations, 14 persons were killed, 05 custodial deaths, 48 injured, 198 civilians arrested and two women gang raped in the month of December 2020.

According to ISPR Indian troops has committed 38 ceasefire violations since January 01st. Last year 22 civilians were killed and other 260 wounded in different areas of Azad Kashmir during ceasefire violations by the Indian troops.

LAC/INDO-CHINA BORDER

  1. The status-quo continues between Indian and Chinese troops in Ladakh alongside LAC. The Indian Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said that India and China had maintained communication at the ground level to avoid any misunderstanding and misjudgment even as discussion continue for achieving complete disengagements in the all-friction areas in Ladakh (08th January).
  2. Earlier the Chinese Defence Ministry spokesperson Col. Tan Kefei had stated on 31st December last month in Beijing that China and India are negotiating to hold the ninth round of the military level talk on the disengagements of front-line troops added that his country is willing to continue to maintain a military and diplomatic communication with India.
  3. Indian military authorities handed over back a Chinese army soldier to China at Chushul-Moldo in Ladakh along LAC. He was apprehended for crossing the disputed border between the two countries at South of Pangong lake in Ladakh on 08th January (11th January).         

Comments & Analysis: –The two countries are inconstant communication through diplomatic and military channels. The two sides also agreed during the last round of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination (WMCC) was held on 18th December last year in which they agreed to hold next round of military commanders meeting to resolve the dispute.

AFGHANISTAN

Terrorism/Violence

  1. Five peoples were killed and two others wounded including head of the Ulama Council Mirwais Karimi injured after explosion in Sayyad Market, Kapisa Province (03rd January).
  2. Three Afghan security forces personnel were killed by unidentified gunman in Ghazni city (03rd January).    
  3. Two policemen were killed and three others wounded after a roadside an IED explosion in Sabzi Mandi area, Jalalabad city of Nangarhar Province (04th January).
  4. Nine Taliban were killed after an airstrike of the Afghan security forces in Batipur District of Nangarhar Province (04th January).
  5. A former Jihadi Commander Asad Ullah was shot dead by unidentified gunman in Karta-Baba Yadegar in Balakh Province (04th January).
  6. A Taliban Commander was killed and two others wounded airstrike by the Afghan security forces in Saeedabad District of Maidan Wardak Province (05th January).
  7. The Afghan police arrested nineteen peoples involved in armed robberies carrying illegal weapons and theft from Kabul city and recovered three pistol, AK-47, drugs and a car from their possession (05th January).
  8. Afghan security forces claimed to recovered a consignment of explosives along with suicide wests that reached Nangarhar allegedly from Pakistan for the use of Taliban. Two persons were arrested in connection with transfer of consignment (05th January).
  9. An Afghan air force pilot Arash Siyar was shot dead by unidentified gunman in Kabul city (06th January).  
  10. Five persons of a family were killed and five more wounded after an airstrike by the Afghan security forces in Lashkar Gah city of Helmand Province (07th January).
  11. Four security forces personnel person including Naqibullah Sultanzai, police Chief of Ghurian District were killed during an attack by Taliban on District Governor complex in Herat Province (08th January).
  12. Three persons including Zia Wadan spokesperson for the Public Protection Force were killed due to blast of magnetic IED planted in their vehicles in Kabul city (10th January).
  13. Twenty-nine Taliban were killed after airstrikes by the Afghan security forces in Farah Province (10th January).
  14. Afghan special forces claim to have killed seventeen Taliban and recaptured the Kelajai area and cleared Baghlan-Balakh Highway in Baghlan Province (10th January).

COMMENTS & Analysis: – Violence in Afghanistan includes clashes between Afghan security forces and Taliban, attacks and target killings of civilians by IS/ISKP and other terrorist groups in Afghanistan. Afghan authorities attempt to see Taliban and alleged Taliban-IS nexus almost behind every incident and attack. Afghan Government has reportedly established local militias in different parts of the country by providing arms and ammunition to them for fighting Taliban. Out of them one such group of militias comprising 300 armed men started defensive operations against Taliban in the Imam Sahib District of Kunduz Province. Its commanders Abdul Khaleq and Saad Gul Naseri stated that the Taliban made peace with USA and did not approach the nation. District Governor of Imam Sahib assured Government’s support to them to defend their properties, villages and local level.  

– Chinese Foreign Ministry denies NDS allegation

The Afghan National Directorate of Security (NDS) Chief Ahmad Zia Saraj, in a briefing to Wolesi Jirga (Parliament) stated that a group of Chinese nationals was arrested for their alleged involvement in espionage in Kabul. He however, did not provide further details due to what he called “a sensitive issue”. The Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hus denied this allegations and said that China has always maintained good relations with Afghanistan (05th & 06th January).

COMMENTS & Analysis: – Afghan Presidential official avoided to make any comment into the matter while the Taliban spokesperson denied any nexus. Some quarters are of the opinion that the Indian media tried to create hype over it which seemed to be an attempt to malign China and to undermine Taliban-US agreement.

INTERNATIONAL 

IRAN/MIDDLE EAST/AFRICA

Iran starts producing enriched Uranium 

An Iranian government spokesman Ali Rabie reportedly stated that the process of producing 20 percent enriched uranium started in Fordow Enrichment Complex near Qom. It was later also confirmed by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Twitter (04th January).

Comments & Analysis: – The announcement added to international concern that Iran is not interested in revitalising the JCPOA, commonly known as the nuclear deal. US spokesperson reacting to this announcement said that Iran‘s enriching uranium to 20 percent at Fordow is a clear attempt to increase its intention of nuclear extortion. Apart from this the office of the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted on 04th January that Israel would not allow Iran to develop nuclear weapon.

Iran issues notice to 48 US officials including Trump through Interpol

Iranian judiciary spokesman Gholam Hossein Esmaili during a press conference at Tehran announced issuance of “red notice” by making a request to the international police organisation (Interpol) to arrest Donald Trump and 47 other US officials for allegedly playing a role in the assassination of Gen. Qassem Soleimani, last year (05th January).

Comments & Analysis: – Gen.Qassem Soleimani head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, was assassinated on 3rd January, 2020, in a US drone strike in Baghdad. It was the second Iranian request for an international arrest warrant after last year June for Trump and dozens of US officials in the Pentagon and US Central Command, among other organisations. On the other hand, the France-based Interpol rejected Iran’s request, saying its constitution forbids it from undertaking any intervention or activities of a political, military, religious or racial character.

Deadly terrorist attack at an Aden airport, Yemen

In a bomb attack on Aden airport in yamen, 22 people were killed and more than 50 injured when an aero plane carrying members of the newly formed Yameni cabinet from Saudi Arabia landed at the airport. Later the same day another blast took place near the presidential palace where the cabinet members were reportedly earlier shifted for their safety (31st December, 2020).

Comments & Analysis: – It is learnt that the Aden airport terminal was targeted with three mortar shells by the unidentified persons. Yamen has been devastated by a conflict that escalated in 2015, when a Saudi-led coalition of Arab states launched a military operation to defeat the Houthis and restore the rule of President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi. The fighting has reportedly left more than 110,000 people dead; triggered the humanitarian disaster, with millions on the brink of famine.

Coronavirus Crisis Update

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Pakistan rose to 506,701 on 12th January, 2021 (Tuesday) after new infections were confirmed in the country.

The Province-wise breakup of the total number of cases as of 12:10 pm, January 12th is as follows:

• Sindh: 17,250

• Punjab: 10,952

• Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: 3,191

• Balochistan: 286

• Islamabad Capital Territory: 2,002

• Gilgit-Baltistan: 42

• AJK: 284

Deaths: 10,717

Comments & Analysis: – The second wave is still going strong. One million doses of Chinese vaccine are likely to arrive in Pakistan soon.  

Pakistan’s Security Barometer

Terrorism: Terrorist groups like TTP and its affiliates are continuously operating as per their twin strategy, i.e. target killing and IEDs. IS has also tried to make its presence felt in Pakistan. These groups are trying to carry out target killings in big cities. Low-intensity insurgency is continuing in ex-tribal areas.

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: On the rise. Further aggravated by the killing of Hazaras in Balochistan.There is an urgent need to bridle the situation through all means.

Border Situation: Tense – Indian shelling and firing continued at the LoC. The Western border (Pak-Afghan), remained relatively calm.

Health Security: A new surge of Coronavirus pandemic is still persisting in Pakistan. There is a considerable increase in the number of patients who tested positive during the last eight weeks.

Social Unrest: Rising; due to exorbitant price hike and political unrest.

Note: TSB is based on open-source information.

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