The Rendon Group Snapshot Report – 19 January 2015

by TRG Alerts Admin on January 20, 2015

The Rendon Group Snapshot Report

(19JAN15)

 

Each week The Rendon Group’s media analysts will focus on a different continent and a different issue affecting that continent. As always, we remain available to answer any questions you may have and to provide additional information upon request. For more information regarding The Rendon Group’s products and services, please contact us at Alert@Rendon.com or +1-202-745-4900.

 

Pakistan Continues Anti-Taliban Crackdown following US Sec. of State John Kerry’s Visit

 

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (L) gestures to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif shortly after arriving in Islamabad, Pakistan January 12, 2015.

 REUTERS/RICK WILKING

 

This week’s snapshot focuses on Pakistan’s continuing crackdown on Taliban militants. On 16DEC14, Taliban militants stormed the Army Public School in Peshawar, killing 150 people, mostly children. In response, Pakistan has cracked down hard on militants, launching airstrikes and lifting its moratorium on the death penalty.  On 12JAN15, US Secretary of State John Kerry flew to Pakistan, promising aid and encouraging the country to continue its offensive against militants.

 

News Summary of events during the week of 12JAN-19JAN

  • 12JAN: Secretary of State John F. Kerry flew to Pakistan to urge officials not to falter in their campaign to rout Islamist militants from the northern tribal areas near the Afghan border. (WP)
  • 12JAN: Pakistan’s intelligence chief met Afghanistan’s new president to discuss ways to boost coordination in fighting militant attacks in the region, an official said Monday, in a sign of improving ties between the often uneasy neighbors. (REUT)
  • 13JAN: The US and Pakistan vowed Tuesday to intensify a crackdown on militants hiding in lawless border areas, as top diplomat John Kerry urged renewed peace talks with India to strengthen regional stability. (AFP)
  • 13JAN: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry appealed Tuesday to arch-rivals India and Pakistan to resume stalled peace talks, saying Washington was “deeply concerned” about a surge in violence on their de facto border in Kashmir. (AFP)
  • 14JAN: Five men have reportedly been arrested in Afghanistan on suspicion of involvement in last month’s Peshawar massacre, as pupils returned for the first time to the school that was targeted by Taliban gunmen. (INDE)
  • 15JAN: A U.S. drone strike in South Waziristan killed at least five suspected militants, Pakistani intelligence officials said. (REUT)
  • 15JAN: Pakistan hanged two militants convicted of murder, bringing to 18 the number of executions it has carried out since it lifted a six-year moratorium on the death penalty in terror cases following a school massacre last month. (AFP)
  • 15JAN: Police said they have asked that the high-profile trial for the murder of a former minority minister be moved to a newly formed military court. (AFP)
  • 16JAN: Pakistan banned the Haqqani network, accused of attacks in Afghanistan. (REUT)
  • 17JAN: Pakistan hanged a sectarian militant whose execution was cancelled but later reinstated after a court rejected a pardon from his victim’s family, officials said. (AFP)
  • 17JAN: Afghan security forces have arrested five men suspected of involvement in last month’s massacre at a school in the Pakistani city of Peshawar, an Afghan security source said. (AFP)

 

Sample of Twitter handles regarding Pakistan continues anti-Taliban crackdown following US Sec. of State John Kerry’s visit

  • @declanwalsh – Declan Walsh, Pakistan Bureau Chief, New York Times
  • @Jon_Boone – Jon Boone, Pakistan Correspondent, The Guardian
  • @MurtazaGeoNews – Murtaza Ali Shah, GEO TV (Pakistan)
  • @Akchisti – Ali Kamran Chishti, counter-terrorism, national security journalist
  • @Mazdaki – Mohammad Taqi, columnist Daily Times, Pakistan; University of Florida faculty

 

Sample of Third Party Validators regarding Pakistan continues anti-Taliban crackdown following US Sec. of State John Kerry’s visit

Saifullah Mehsud, Executive Director, FATA Research Center

“If you go out in Waziristan, your mother will ask you, ‘Why are you going out without your weapon on you?’ The army really needs the tribesmen on their side, and the tribesmen without weapons won’t be much help.”

–       Pakistani tribesmen fear losing their guns — and rockets, Washington Post, 16JAN15

 

Hussain Shaheed Soherwardi, Analyst, University of Peshawar

“The Peshawar attack united the entire religious, political and military leadership against the militants who are a threat to our future.”

–       Setback for Pakistan anti-militant drive as extremists unite, Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 17JAN15

 

Fida Khan, Security Expert and Journalist

“[The latest Charlie Hebdo cover depicting the Prophet Mohammed] is a setback for Pakistan’s efforts to bring together all religious and political groups,” said Khan. “It will divert attention from the fight against militants.”

–       Setback for Pakistan anti-militant drive as extremists unite, Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 17JAN15

 

Muhammad Amir Rana, Director, Pak Institute for Peace Studies

“Many mid-rank commanders have joined IS, they are challenging their leadership. Will they be ready for the reconciliation or the compromise with Kabul, or with Washington? This is the problem.”

–       Kabul Arrests Militants Suspected of Role in Pakistan School Attack, Wall Street Journal, 15JAN15

 

Daniel S. Markey, Expert on Pakistan, Council on Foreign Relations

“Given the Pakistani military’s persistent skepticism about the stability of the new Afghan state, there are few reasons to believe that it will now, after over a decade of resisting Washington’s pleas, turn completely against groups like the Afghan Taliban and Haqqani network. Conceivable, desirable, but not likely.”

–       U.S. Pledges $250 Million to Aid Displaced Pakistani Civilians, New York Times, 12JAN15

 

Sample of open source research conducted by TRG analysts related to Pakistan continues anti-Taliban crackdown following US Sec. of State John Kerry’s visit

 

1. Grief and Defiance in Pakistan as Survivors of Taliban Massacre Return to School

 

Media: New York Times

Byline: ISMAIL KHAN

Date: 12 January 2015

 

PESHAWAR, Pakistan — The survivors of a massacre at a Pakistani school last month returned to their school on Monday, offering a grief-tinged show of defiance and apprehension.

 

It was the first time the Army Public School had opened since seven Taliban gunmen rampaged through its classrooms and assembly hall on Dec. 15 in a rampage of bloodshed that traumatized Pakistan. New official figures put the number of dead at 150, with at least 134 of them children.

 

Army soldiers stood at the gates as children, many clutching a parent’s hand, streamed into a school where the authorities had worked hard to erase traces of the killing. Walls had been washed and bullet holes hidden, parents and teachers said.

 

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2. Pakistan Bans Haqqani Network After Security Talks With Kerry

 

Media: Reuters

Byline: Mehreen Zahra-Malik

Date: 17 January 2015

 

ISLAMABAD — Pakistan has outlawed the Taliban-linked Haqqani network, officials said on Friday, days after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry urged Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s government to fight groups that threaten Afghan, Indian and U.S. interests.

 

American officials blame high-profile attacks in Afghanistan on the powerful Haqqani network, which mainly operates out of Pakistan’s border areas, and say it has ties to the Pakistani state.

 

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3. Pakistan hangs 19th militant since school attack

 

Media: Agence France-Presse (AFP)

Byline: N/A

Date: 17 January 2015

 

Lahore, Pakistan, Jan 17, 2015 (AFP) – Pakistan on Saturday hanged a sectarian militant whose execution was cancelled but later reinstated after a court rejected a pardon from his victim’s family, officials said.

 

The hanging brings to 19 the number of executions Pakistan has carried out since it lifted a six-year moratorium on the death penalty in terror cases following a school massacre last month.

 

Ikramul Haq, a member of banned Sunni militant outfit Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, was hanged in the central city of Lahore early on Saturday morning.

 

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4. Civil society rallies to ‘reclaim’ Pakistan

 

Media: Agence France-Presse (AFP)

Byline: ISSAM AHMED

Date: 17 January 2015

 

ISLAMABAD: One month on from a Taliban school massacre in Peshawar that left 150 dead, a new movement is growing among marginalized urban liberals rallying to “Reclaim Pakistan” from violent extremism.

 

Carrying placards and candles, their stand against religious fanaticism is an unusual sight in a country more used to mass demonstrations by extremist groups filled with chants against the West or India.

 

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5. Kerry Praises Pakistan Operation, More Work to be Done

 

Media: Associated Press

Byline: MATTHEW LEE AND REBECCA SANTANA

Date: 13 January 2015

 

ISLAMABAD (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday praised the Pakistani military’s operation against militants in the country’s northwest, saying the results are “significant,” but cautioned that more work needs to be done.

 

Pakistan launched a major operation in the North Waziristan region in June. The U.S. had long advocated for such an operation because the region had become a hub for militant groups who attack targets in both Pakistan and neighboring Afghanistan and a source of tension between the U.S., Afghanistan and Pakistan.

 

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