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Viewing cable 09ISLAMABAD2523, TERRORISTS INCREASE ACTIVITY IN ADVANCE OF

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09ISLAMABAD2523 2009-10-16 14:02 2010-11-30 21:09 SECRET Embassy Islamabad
INFO  LOG-00   EEB-00   AF-00    AID-00   A-00     ACQ-00   CCO-00   
      INL-00   DOTE-00  PERC-00  PDI-00   DS-00    DHSE-00  EUR-00   
      FAAE-00  FBIE-00  VCI-00   TEDE-00  INR-00   IO-00    L-00     
      CAC-00   MOFM-00  MOF-00   M-00     VCIE-00  DCP-00   NSAE-00  
      ISN-00   OCS-00   NIMA-00  PM-00    GIWI-00  P-00     ISNE-00  
      DOHS-00  FMPC-00  SP-00    IRM-00   SSO-00   SS-00    USSS-00  
      NCTC-00  ASDS-00  CBP-00   BBG-00   R-00     IIP-00   SCRS-00  
      PMB-00   DSCC-00  PRM-00   SCA-00   NFAT-00  SAS-00   FA-00    
      SRAP-00  PESU-00  SANA-00    /000W
    
O 161452Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5421
INFO AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 
AMEMBASSY KABUL 
AMEMBASSY LONDON 
AMCONSUL LAHORE 
AMCONSUL PESHAWAR 
AMCONSUL KARACHI 
SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
NSC WASHINGTON DC
CIA WASHINGTON DC
CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
USCENTCOM INTEL CEN MACDILL AFB FL
JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC
S E C R E T ISLAMABAD 002523 


E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/16/2034 
TAGS: PTER MOPS PK
SUBJECT: TERRORISTS INCREASE ACTIVITY IN ADVANCE OF 
WAZIRISTAN OPERATION 

Classified By: Ambassador Anne W. Patterson. Reasons 1.4 b and d. 

1. (S) Summary: With the Pakistan military preparing to 
launch an operation against major terrorist safe havens in 
South Waziristan, Pakistan's terrorist/extremist groups have 
dramatically increased their militant and propaganda 
operations in an effort to undermine public support. On the 
operational side, the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) now 
headed by an individual calling himself Hakeemullah Mehsud 
appears to be cooperating both with elements of al-Qaeda and 
with the Punjabi terrorist organization Lashkar-e-Jhangvi 
(LJ). While this is not the first time that we have seen 
cross-cooperation among these terrorist/extremist 
organizations, the intensity of attacks -- five in a single 
day on October 15 -- indicate that TTP has both increased its 
cooperative outreach and its finances (as LJ does not work 
for free). 

2. (S) In addition, the recent attacks demonstrate that TTP 
and its allies have the capacity to evolve and vary the style 
of their attacks to exploit weaknesses in the Pakistani 
security apparatus. The recent attacks involved both 
vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs) in the 
North West Frontier Province and smaller attacks against high 
profile installations by armed individuals in security forces 
uniforms that can more easily penetrate Pakistan security 
cordons in other parts of the country. There is information 
to suggest that women/men clad in burqas are now part of the 
mix of attackers. TTP has been clear in its propaganda that 
these attacks are both in direct retaliation for Pakistan 
government support for American initiatives in countering 
violent extremism and because of the military's upcoming 
Waziristan operation. TTP has gone so far as to promise an 
end to the attacks and its fighters participation in jihad 
against India, if the Pakistani government changes its 
foreign policy and establishes an "Islamic" state. Despite 
these threats, the Pakistan military continues its 
preparations for an offensive in South Waziristan against the 
TTP and their tribal allies to be launched in the next few 
weeks. End Summary. 

3. (S) Beginning with the attack against the Askari Bank in 
Peshawar on September 26, the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) 
has resumed its terrorist attacks in Pakistan's settled areas 
that had largely ceased following the death of Baitullah 
Mehsud. TTP's new campaign coincides with Pakistan military 
preparations for an operation in South Waziristan, including 
increased air strikes in Mehsud territory and with the 
consolidation of leadership power within TTP in the hands of 
an individual referring to himself as Hakeemullah Mehsud. 

4. (S) TTP and its al-Qaeda allies, who have been providing 
advice and logistical assistance to the organization in 
exchange for shelter with the Mehsud tribe in South 
Waziristan, appear to have timed their renewed spate of 
attacks and the accompanying propaganda blitz to undermine 
public confidence in Pakistan security forces just as 
preparations for the South Waziristan operation were 
increasing. The terrorists appear to have read in on modern 
theories of asymmetrical warfare, including the tenet that 
public support will help determine the outcome of the 
struggle between government and anti-government actors. 
General Kayani told us repeatedly that strong public support 
was a key issue in his decision to move into Swat. 

5. (S) TTP is not, however, acting alone in carrying out the 
recent attacks. Al-Qaeda advice, support, and possibly 
financing have long been a critical element in TTP's ability 
to carry-out spectacular attacks in Pakistan's settled areas. 
In addition, TTP has allied on and off with various other 
Taliban-inspired terrorist and criminal groups in Pakistan's 
North West Frontier Province, including Mengal Bagh and the 
Tehreek-e-Nafaz-e-Shariat Mohammadi (TNSM). 

6. (S) In the recent attacks in the Pakistani Punjab, TTP 
appears to have, as they did in 2008, hired the services of 
Punjab-based terrorist group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LJ). LJ, 
which began as a violent off-shot of Deobandi sectarian 
extremist group Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP) in the 1990s, 
has steadily increased its target set from strictly Shias, a 
minority in Pakistan, to any group which does not share its 
strict, militant interpretation of Islam, including the 
Pakistan government and western interests. Since 2001, LJ 
has become essentially a "guns for hire" terrorist 
organization, prepared to carry out attacks on any 
non-Deobandi group in exchange for sizable cash payments. 
The latest attacks are also tied directly to Ilyas Kashmiri, 
who is affiliated with the anti-India terrorist group 
Harakat-ul-Jihad-e-Islami (HUJI). HUJI, along with other 
anti-India groups including Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LeT) and 
Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), have increasingly shifted their focus 
to include Pakistan government and western targets in 
Pakistan and India. They are also actively collaborating 
with Taliban groups, including TTP, sectarian extremist 
groups such as LJ, and al-Qaeda. 

7. (S) The recent attacks demonstrate that TTP and its allied 
groups are capable of adjusting their tactics and practices 
to counter Pakistan government security measures. TTP has 
continued to use vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices 
(VBIED) against police and government installations in NWFP 
-- where counter-measures are comparatively weaker. In 
Rawalpindi, Islamabad, and Lahore, TTP has started deploying 
single suicide bombers or small teams of suicide bombers and 
armed gunmen to target high-profile installations. These 
individual suicide bombers or small teams have begun wearing 
the uniforms of Pakistani security personnel, which are 
easily available for purchase in any market and allow them to 
bypass security screening checkpoints unchallenged. There is 
information that women/men in burqas have also been part of 
the mix of attackers. While casualty tolls in these attacks 
are lower than in the VBIED explosions, their ability to 
bypass security and penetrate into the General Headquarters 
of the Pakistan Army, international organizations, and the 
headquarters of the Federal Investigation Agency could have a 
devastating impact on public and security force morale. 

8. (S) It is also possible, however, that the terrorists have 
not accurately assessed all quarters of Pakistani public 
opinion. Most Punjabis were remarkably nonchalant about 
violence in the tribal areas prior to the March attack on the 
Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore. Consulate Lahore contacts 
have fallen into two camps in reaction to the October 15 (and 
earlier but also recent) attacks in the Punjab. One camp 
does, indeed, bemoan the government's incapacity and speaks 
pessimistically about the GOP's capacity to rally. Another 
camp speaks passionately of the importance of the GOP's 
civilian and military components joining to defeat the 
terrorists, and restore normalcy to Pakistan, with some pride 
in the GOP's accomplishments to date. The attacks seem to 
have further invigorated this camp. Both camps insist that 
the violent extremists represent neither Islam nor Pakistan. 
Terrorist "messaging" is not having the desired impact in 
Lahore. Even the anti-U.S., nationalist daily "The Nation" 
spoke highly of the "martyred" security forces who lost their 
lives in the October 15 attacks. 

9. (S) In addition to the increase in attacks, TTP has 
equally launched a propaganda effort to break public support 
for the impending operation in South Waziristan. The thrust 
of this propaganda effort has been that the attacks are in 
retaliation for the Pakistan Army/government's policy of 
supporting America's "war against Islam" in Pakistan and 
Afghanistan. TTP has stressed that any action in Waziristan 
is being carried out on instructions from the United States. 

10. (S) TTP spokespeople have promised that the campaign of 
attacks will end, if the Pakistan government abandons its 
support of the United States policy. In one recent 
statement, TTP even offered to send its jihadi forces to 
Pakistan's eastern border with India if the Pakistan 
government turned Pakistan into "an Islamic state." Such 
propaganda messages are clearly designed to damage the army 
and government's image in the general public and decrease 
public and political support for what may be a prolonged 
military operation in South Waziristan. 

11. (S) Despite these attacks, we continue to receive solid 
evidence that the Pakistan military is preparing to move 
forward with some kind of operation in South Waziristan. For 
the last several days, we have witnessed renewed air strikes 
in the region designed to prepare the ground to facilitate 
offensive maneuver. In addition, we have seen continued 
movements of troops and supplies to tactical assembly areas 
in South Waziristan and the positioning of Special Services 
Group (SSG) personnel for reconnaissance activities, which 
appear imminent. On October 16, Chief of Army Staff Ashfaq 
Pervaiz Kayani made an unscheduled call to ISAF Commander 
Gen. McChrystal to advise that operations in South Waziristan 
were imminent and to request that ISAF forces in Afghanistan 
coordinate with the Pakistani military to prevent the escape 
of militants across the border. Mission believes that the 
start of major ground combat operations may still be several 
days or more away as SSG reconnaissance and additional air 
strikes are likely prior to the commencement of decisive 
operations. 

12. (S) Despite the positive indications that the Pakistan 
Army intends to move into South Waziristan, post remains 
uncertain as to the intended extent of the operation. There 
is no question that the Pakistan Army intends to "punish" the 
Mehsud tribe for its protection of TTP and to dismantle as 
much TTP infrastructure in South Waziristan as possible. It 
is also likely that the Pakistan Army will move against 
al-Qaeda elements that are inter-mingled with the Mehsud 
tribe and supporting TTP. It remains to be seen, however, 
that given the short time frame before a harsh winter sets 
into the Waziristans that the Pakistan Army is contemplating 
a full-scale clearance operation. There is no indication 
that the military intends to go after Commander Nazir, 
Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the Haqqani network, or their allied 
tribes -- all located in North Waziristan -- as part of this 
operation. These elements that focus almost exclusively on 
cross-border attacks into Afghanistan are not a high priority 
for the Pakistan military, and, in the case of the Haqqanis, 
it is not clear the Pakistani military could achieve a 
decisive victory even if it wanted to do so. 


PATTERSON