WEEKLY SECURITY BRIEF

Vol. 4-Issue No 31

14th September, 2020

NATIONAL

Action against terrorists in North and South Waziristan Districts of KPK

North & South Waziristan

Three terrorists were killed during an encounter with the security personnel in Kaskai area, Sarwaki Tehsil of South Waziristan Tribal District. The killed terrorists were identified as Shamas Din, Rahmat ullah and Adil, reportedly affiliated with TTP (05th September).

Five terrorists including one Wasim Zakariya were killed and ten arrested during an operation by the Security Forces in Haso Khel Village of North Waziristan Tribal District. The slain terrorist was involved in the assassination of a Senior Civilian Officer Zabi Ullah Dawar in May this year and several other cases (05th September).

Two Security Forces personnel – Capt. Farhan and Naik Asif were fired at and injured by the terrorists near Haso Khel Bridge, Mir Ali Sub Tehsil of North Waziristan District (06th September).

Policeman killed in Khyber Tribal District and Haripur District, KPK

Policeman namely Saeed Khan was shot dead by unidentified gunman near Alhaj Market, Bara Bazar of Khyber Tribal District (11th September).

A police personnel Abdul Basit was shot dead by unidentified persons in Soha Village, Haripur District (08th September). He was serving as instructor in Hangu Police Trading Center but was on leave. Investigations are under way to determine whether the murder of the deceased was an act of terrorism or a case of personal enmity.

Comments and Analysis: –  KP and especially its tribal districts of North and South Waziristan are facing new wave of terrorist attacks. Terrorists are striving hard to reestablish their reign of terror. However, diligent efforts of the LEAs are commendable as they have carried out some successful raids on terrorists’ hides outs. The tug of war might continue for sometime therefore planned and sustained efforts are required to eradicate the terrorists and their sympathisers in these areas.

US CentCom Commander met the COAS

Lt.Gen. Kenneth Mckenzie Jr.

US Cent Com Commander Lt Gen. Kenneth Mckenzie Jr. called on Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa. During the meeting the issues related to regional security, Pak-US military cooperation, Kashmir situation and Afghan Peace Process were reportedly discussed (11th September).    

Comments and Analysis: – The meeting was held at a time when crucial talks between the Afghan Government and Taliban were going to held in Doha. The Commander was briefed about Pakistan’s concerns about turmoil in Afghanistan which has direct impact on Pakistan. The COAS added that Pakistan has played pivotal and prominent role in facilitating the Afghan Peace Process because a peaceful Afghanistan is in the interest of Pakistan. He also apprised that Kashmir issue was another problem which has caused instability in the region due to unreasonable attitude of Modi led Indian Government. It is hoped that the US Commander is more enlightened on the two issues and can advise his government in a more convincing manner.

REGIONAL

LAC / Indo-China border

The deployment of Indian and Chinese armies in Depsang-DBO, Galwan, Tso Pangong and Chushul Sub-Sector along LAC continued. In a latest incident, the troops of the two sides confronted each other at Razang-La heights which lies in the south of Pangong Lake in the Chushul Sector in Ladakh (07th September). Chinese army alleged that during an attempt of transgressing its area, the Indian troops fired shots in the air to intimidate the Chinese troops. India accused China on the similar grounds.

Indian External Affairs Minister Jaishankar and Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Wi during a sideline meeting of Shanghai Cooperation Origination conference in Moscow (Russia), agreed to resolve the border dispute for disengagement of troops through biliteral talks (11th September).

Comments and Analysis: Indian political and military leadership is trying hard to make the Indian public forget the bitter memories of severe drubbing of Indian soldiers at the hands of Chinese army a couple of months ago. Indian army is relying on hollow gestures of strength and aggression whereas Chinese are already in control of on thousand KMs of Indian territory. China has warned India in very clear terms to desist from intruding into its territory, failing which it would have to face dire consequences. Despite this hostile environment on the border, both parties are engaged in negotiations to defuse the situation. It is learnt that Russia has played a significant role to create environment for holding meeting between the two Foreign Ministers in Moscow and their resolve to settle the disputes.

LoC/IHK

During unprovoked firing by the Indian army across LOC, a Pakistan Army Hawaldar Liaqat and a young girl were killed while seven civilians were injured in different incidents in Rakhchikri, Bedori and Battal Sectors respectively (05th, 09th,10th and 11th September). In another incident an Indian “spy quadcopter” was shot down by the Pakistan Army which had intruded 500 meters on the Pakistani side in Chikoti Sector (09th September). It was 11th spy quadcopter which had been shot down during the current year.

The Indian Security Forces during their concocted anti-militancy operations, claimed the arrest of twelve Kashmiri youth from Kalgam, Ramban, Bandipora and Kupwara Districts (08th, 9th and 11th September).

Indian authorities have extended 4G internet ban till 30th September in all over Jammu and Kashmir except its two Districts – Ganderbal and Udhampur (headquarter of Indian Army’s Northern comand) (08th September). 

Comments and Analysis: – Indian Army has been persistently targeting military posts and civilian populated areas with light artillery and automatic weapons firing along the LoC and working boundary. Since the beginning of 2020, India has committed 2,158 ceasefire violations so for, which has resulted in the death of seventeen citizens and injuries to 168 others.    

Afghanistan

Terrorism/Violence

  1. Ten Taliban were killed during a clash with Afghan Security Forces in Kandahar Province (06th September).
  2. Sixty-two Taliban were killed during air strike and clashes with the Afghan Security Forces in Alishang and Budpak Districts of Laghman Province (06th and 7th September).
  3. Afghan Security Forces claimed to have detected and defused fourteen land mines in Mizan, Shahjoy District of Zabul Province and four in Shah Wali kot District (06th September).
  4. Eight Taliban were killed and six others injured due to air attack by Afghan Air Force in Kandahar Province (08th September).
  5. Fifteen Taliban were killed and six others injured during clash with Afghan Security Forces in Nahri Saraj and Nad-e-Ali District of Helmand Province (08th September).
  6. Six Taliban were killed and four sustained injuries during a clash with the Afghan Security Forces in Herat province (08th September).
  7. National Directorate of Security (NDS) arrested an “IS Commander” namely Obaidullah. He was reportedly involved in number of terrorist incidents and had plan to attack Agha Sadiq Mosque in Kundos (09th September).

Comments and Analysis: – The above-mentioned terrorist incident and clashes with the Security Forces has been quoted by the Afghan authorities. The Afghan Interior Ministry spokesperson Tariq Arian alleged that Taliban undertook 368 attack in 22 Provinces in the last week. On the other hand, Taliban or any other militant group has not given any comments about the same.

Afghan Vice President survived attempt on life

A roadside bomb explosion targeted the Afghan Vice President Amrullah Saleh’s convoy in Kabul. He survived but ten security personnel including two civilian passersby were killed and sixteen others injured. Acting Afghan Interior Minister Masood Andarabi accused that the explosive used in the IED resembled the modus operandi of the Haqqani Group and that attack was aimed at harming the intra-Afghan dialogue (09th September).

Comments and Analysis: – No militant group has claimed responsibility of the attack on Afghan Vice President’s convoy in Kabul while Taliban denied their involvement in the said incident. Amrullah Saleh who remained chief of the Afghan Intelligence has survived several assassination attempts in the past including one on his office last year ahead of the presidential elections that resulted in death of twenty people. Meanwhile, Pakistan and USA have strongly condemned the latest attack on the convoy of Amrullah Saleh.

Analysts are of the view that if Taliban are not involved in this incident, there are many other elements like dissident groups within the Afghan Government, ISKP and even TTP etc. that can be doubted upon for this act. A peaceful Afghanistan does not suit these groups. The rising violence has become a matter of grave concern for the international community and the Afghan people hoping for an end to prolonged war and mayhem in the country.

Formation of Militia by Afghan Government

A number of Afghan lawmakers, during the Parliament session in Kabul, accused the Government’s reported plan to arm and equip thirty thousand individuals in various provinces to help authorities to deal with the security situation in the country. The Parliamentarians including Zalmay Noori, Mir Rahman Rahmani and Farzana Kochi while calling for the support of Afghan Security Forces stated that forming of the “proposed Militia” was not in the interest of the Afghanistan (07th September).

Comments and Analysis: – The said parliamentarians are of the view that formation of the militia by the Afghan Government to meet its specific objectives under the so-called security charter, could bring rueful results. They reminded that the Afghan people did not have good memories of such militias in the past. In the meantime, the Vice President Amrullah Saleh and Interior Ministry spokesman denied any such Government plan to form the militia, or additional army in this regard. However, the reports received from North Eastern Province of Kapsia have revealed that four hundred militia members have been armed over the past three months under the support of National Directorate of Security (NDS). They are reportedly operating under the three commanders namely Gul Haider, Shetab and Ghubar. The formation of such militia depicts Afghan government’s distrust in peace talks. President Ashraf Ghani is fearful of further bloody tussle with Taliban after the US forces leave Afghanistan. It is surmised that such measures might bring further disaster and violence in Afghanistan.  

Intra-Afghan dialogue starts in Doha

Afghan Peace Talks in Doha

The long-awaited intra-Afghan dialogue between Taliban and the Afghan Government started in Doha, Qatar. The opening ceremony was attended by Afghanistan’s Chairman of the High Council National Reconciliation Abdullah Abdullah and Qatar’s Deputy Premier, Foreign Minister Muhammad Bin Abdul Rahman Al Thani, Taliban leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar and US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo (12 September).

Comments and Analysis: – The long-awaited intra-Afghan dialogue started with the hope to end fighting between Taliban and Afghanistan Government and bring peace and stability in the country by forming a representative Government. The Afghan leader Abdullah Abdullah called for immediate ceasefire and to introduce democratic constitutional system in the country. Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar said that Taliban assured to conduct the negotiations sincerely with the intention to introduce Islamic system in the country. Michael Pompeo urged the warring Afghan sides to seize the opportunity to strike a peace deal.

More than twelve thousand Afghan people have been killed and fifteen thousand wounded in the conflict. The US Central Command (CentCom) Commander Lt. Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Junior has recently hinted at withdrawal of more US troops leaving behind forty-five hundred in Afghanistan by November this year. It is yet to observe how to make further progress to reach an amicable solution between the two opposite sites having different ideologies and interests.

Coronavirus Crisis Update

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Pakistan rose to 302,020 on 14th September 2020 (Monday) after new infections were confirmed in the country.

The province-wise breakup of the total number of cases as of 11:15pm, September 14th, is as follows:

• Sindh: 2,445

• Punjab: 2,217

• Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: 1,257

• Balochistan: 145

• Islamabad Capital Territory: 178

• Gilgit-Baltistan: 76

Deaths: 6,383 

Pakistan’s Security Barometer

Terrorism: Terrorist groups like TTP have adopted new twin strategy, i.e. target killing and IEDs. They 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. Especially, the Shia-Sunni provocations can turn into ugly sectarian violence.

Border Situation: Tense – Line of Control (LoC) is constantly facing Indian shelling and firing.

Health Security: Though Coronavirus pandemic is decreasing in Pakistan, the situation cannot be declared normal. A new surge is expected in December.

Note: Weekly Security Brief is an open source analysis report of Centre for Peace and Security Research (CPSR), Lahore, Pakistan.

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