Red agencies/ districts controlled by the Taliban; purple is defacto control; yellow is under threat.
Suicide attempt foiled in Punjab; skirmishes in North Waziristan; Mohmand’s Red Mosque
The Taliban is maintaining the attacks against the Pakistani government and the security forces in the Northwest Frontier Province and beyond. In Punjab province, a suicide bomber penetrated a police training facility and attempted to kill police recruits as they gathered for a parade. In North Waziristan, the Taliban attacks against government forces continue as the pro-Taliban clerics blame the government for the violence. In Mohmand agency, the Taliban refused to relinquish control over the new “Red Mosque” and is opening an Islamic school for children.
On August 2, Pakistani police prevented a suicide bomber from attacking a parade at a police training facility in the city of Sargodha in eastern Punjab province. Police shot and killed the suicide bomber after he climbed the wall of the police academy, fired on a security detail, and ran towards the parade grounds where over 900 recruits assembled. One police officer was killed and another wounded in the exchange.
In the past, police and army recruits have been the target of suicide attacks at their own bases. A suicide bomber killed 45 army recruits as they trained outside the military base in Dargai in the Northwest Frontier Province in November 2006. The Kharian military base in Punjab was attacked by a suicide bomber in March. Two recruits were killed and eight wounded as they were conducting training.
In July, a suicide bomber attacked near the main hall of the police recruitment center in Dera Ismail Khan as about 200 recruits were being tested. Up to 20 recruits were killed and 50 wounded. In Hangu, at least eight people were killed and 26 wounded in the suicide attack on the Police Training College in the Northwest Frontier Province district of Hangu. The bomber drove his explosive-laden car into the main gate of the training facility.
In North Waziristan, the Taliban continue to strike military bases and convoys. The Pakistani military killed four Taliban fighters after a military convoy was ambushed with a roadside bomb and small-arms fire. In Miramshah, Taliban fighters fired rockets at a military checkpoint. While the Pakistani military has moved back into North Waziristan, their operations have been strictly defensive in nature. The Pakistani military is only attacking Taliban positions after taking fire.
As the Taliban continues to attack Pakistani security forces in North Waziristan, the government continues to negotiate with the Taliban and its political backers in the region. Meanwhile, clerics who back the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, the only active political party in North Waziristan that also supports the Taliban, have “decided to launch a ‘silent protest’ against ongoing military operations against suspected militants by hoisting black flags at every house and commercial centre in all villages from Friday,” the Daily Times reported. Despite the continuous Taliban attacks on government and military targets nationwide, the North Waziristan clerics blame the Pakistani government for the violence. The head of the Taliban in Miramshah was in attendance.
“This protest will continue until the army goes to the border, removes unnecessary check-posts and stops operations without any reasons,” former JUI-F North Waziristan general-secretary Sadar Abdur Rehman told reporters after the decision to launch the protest was made unanimously at a meeting of clerics in a mosque in Miramshah.
“Every man in Waziristan will wear black arm-bands to protest the army’s strong-arm tactics,” the JUI-F leader added. … Maulana Syed Jan, ameer of the Taliban in Miranshah and prayer leader at Masjid Qazi Faizul Qadir, was prominent among the clerics who attended the meeting.
While the government continues to negotiate with the Taliban in North Waziristan, the Wazir tribes have refused to participate in the cross-border tribal jirga, or council, to be held between the Afghan and Pakistani tribes. The jirga was formed to “devise strategies against insurgency in Afghanistan,” however, the Wazir tribes will boycott the jirga.
“The Ahmedzai Wazir tribes announce a boycott of the jirga, and in the presence of the US occupation we cannot negotiate with (Afghanistan President Hamid) Karzai,” a source present at the Wazir tribes’ jirga told the Daily Times. The jirga’s decision was unanimous. The Wazir tribes are in league with the Taliban, both inside and outside of Pakistan.
In Mohmand agency, where a Taliban commander named Omar Khalid and several hundred followers took over a mosque and renamed it the Red Mosque after the infamous Islamist mosque in Islamabad, a local tribal jirga attempted to negotiate with the Taliban to quit the compound but was rebuffed. The Taliban announced “a tribal jirga would be invited to urge tribal parents to send their children for Islamic education at the madrassa,” the Daily Times reported. “Around 300 students could be given free accommodation and food at the madrassa.” Elsewhere in Mohmand, a government official was kidnapped at a checkpoint in Mohmand agency.