4/29/2009 12:49:00 PM
VZCZCXRO1971OO RUEHLH RUEHPWDE RUEHIL #0912/01 1191249ZNY SSSSS ZZHO 291249Z APR 09FM AMEMBASSY ISLAMABADTO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2491INFO RUEHBUL/AMEMBASSY KABUL PRIORITY 0183RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 0191RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI PRIORITY 4802RUEHKP/AMCONSUL KARACHI PRIORITY 1531RUEHLH/AMCONSUL LAHORE PRIORITY 7136RUEHPW/AMCONSUL PESHAWAR PRIORITY 6071RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITYRUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITYRUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 ISLAMABAD 000912
E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/29/2019 TAGS: PGOV, PHUM, PINR, PK, PREL, PTER SUBJECT: BUNER OPERATIONS CONTINUE WITH REQUEST FOR IDP ASSISTANCE
REF: A. ISLAMABAD 901 B. ISLAMABAD 887
Classified By: CDA Gerald Feierstein for reasons 1.4 (b), (d).
1. (C) Summary. Following several Pakistan Air Force airstrikes on April 28, Pakistani Military ground troops moved into Daggar, the main city within Buner District (Malakand Division, Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP)), early on April 29 and secured the city. During the operations, approximately 55 taliban members, including unspecified high profile leaders, were reportedly killed while local law enforcement officials confirm that approximately 60 security officials were taken hostage by militants. In a late afternoon press conference on April 29, Pakistan Military Inter Services Public Relations announced that 18 of the 60 kidnapped officials had been released and two militant ammunition dumps had been destroyed. Frontier Corps Inspector General (IGFC) outlined to U.S. officials his plans for reactivating the lashkhars (tribal militia) in Buner to further seal the Buner/Swat border and for moving FC operations into neighboring Shangla District. Due to this week's operations, varying humanitarian agencies indicate there are approximately 100,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) from Dir and Buner, and the IGFC requested immediate relief support in the form of food and clothing for the displaced. NWFP Provincial Minister for Information announced on April 28 that the appellate courts under the Nizam-e-Adl had been organized and was prepared to share the plan with Tehreek-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi (TNSM) Chief Maulana Sufi Mohammad, but Sufi has been out of contact since April 27. End Summary.
MILITARY OPERATIONS IN BUNER
2. (S/NF) On April 29, U.S. Special Operations Command - Forward (SOC-FWD) Chief met with Major General Tariq Khan, the Inspector General for the Frontier Corps, to discuss the ongoing Pakistan military operations in Buner District (Malakand Division, NWFP). Khan reported that the Pakistan Air Force was unsuccessful in many of its targeted strikes in the initial phases of the Buner operations on April 28 but that later airstrikes killed approximately 55 taliban members, including unspecified high profile leaders. Following these airstrikes, the 3rd Commando Group of the Pakistan Special Services Group (SSG) exploited the weakened state of the taliban surrounding Daggar, the main city within Buner, to secure the city early on April 29. (Note: Although reported in reftel that U.S. officials would accompany the FC deployment to Daggar, a late-night decision on April 28 by the Pakistan Military General Headquarters (GHQ) denied the joint deployment, saying the FC had all the assets needed. Embassy will work with GHQ to determine the reason for the late change and to promote integrated operation support. End note.)
3. (SBU) Local law enforcement officials have confirmed media reports that approximately 60 Pakistani security officials were taken hostage during the Buner operations on April 28. These officials primarily belong to the local Buner police and Frontier Constabulary. In a late afternoon press conference on April 29, Pakistan Military Inter Services Public Relations announced that 18 of the 60 kidnapped officials had been released and two militant ammunition dumps had been destroyed.
4. (S/NF) Khan reported that ground troops from the Frontier Corps had moved into Buner to link with the SSG in order to secure entry into Buner from Swat District along the border. He also planned to reactivate the lashkhars (an armed, community-based watch group that was disbanded by the Buner district Commissioner in early April to allow for unimpeded entry to Buner by Swat taliban) to assist with sealing the Buner/Swat border.
5. (S/NF) Following the Buner operations, Khan planned to take the fight to neighboring Shangla district, which reportedly fell to the taliban on April 22. If all operations go according to plan, Khan believed he could deny militant ability to move from Swat into Dir, Buner, and Shangla districts.
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IDPS AND HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE
6. (C) According to media and non-governmental organization (NGO) reports, the IDP population, following the operations in Lower Dir and Buner districts, has grown to over 100,000, with approximately 40,000 from Buner and 60,000 to 80,000 from Lower Dir. Because of the dramatic increase in IDP numbers, Khan requested SOC-FWD Chief to push for immediate humanitarian assistance for the displaced, primarily in the form of food and clothing.
7. (SBU) The UN assessment mission into Lower Dir scheduled for April 29 (reftel) was postponed by the Pakistan military due to security concerns after four local staff from a UN local partner were kidnapped on the road between Peshawar and Mardan. However, a team from the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) traveled to Mardan to assess sites there for new IDP camps. UNHCR also plans to visit a new camp site near the existing IDP Jalozai camp on April 30, which will have the capacity to house approximately 5,000 families. (Note: To date, UNHCR reports that very few families have actually approached the camp seeking assistance. End note.)
8. (SBU) The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) reports that the Pakistani military has denied ICRC access to Lower Dir to conduct a humanitarian assessment due to security concerns. However, ICRC is prepared to feed the IDPs within Lower Dir if they can get access; they currently have food for 7,000 families with more assistance in the works.
9. (SBU) The NWFP Social Welfare Department (SWD) plans to start IDP registration on April 30 in Mardan, Charsadda, Swabi, and Kohat districts for the IDPs from Lower Dir, Buner, and Orakzai. The registrations will be done at central locations within each district and monitored by UNHCR staff and district officers. Following the registration, the families will be referred to distribution points for relief assistance, such as non-food item kits (NFIs) from the Sarhad Rural Support Program (SRSP). SRSP currently has 3,000 NFIs available for distribution, and UNHCR has pledged 5,000 additional kits for distribution.
10. (SBU) The World Food Program (WFP) also will distribute food to the IDPs from Lower Dir and Buner, in conjunction with SWD and UNHCR. As of April 29, WFP plans to have two functioning distribution hubs in Mardan and two additional hubs in Swabi.
11. (SBU) On April 30, various NGO health providers plan to hold a meeting in Peshawar to discuss health ramifications from the sudden IDP surge. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that medical partners will provide health services, medical distributions, and limited mobile health units once the camps are established.
NIZAM-E-ADL REGULATIONS FURTHERED
12. (SBU) On April 29, the NWFP Provincial Minister for Information Mian Iftikhar Hussain announced at a press conference that the arrangements for the formation of Darul Qaza (or Shari'a-based appellate courts) under the Nizam-e-Adl had been finalized; however, the details of this formation would not be revealed until they were fully discussed with Tehreek-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi (TNSM) Chief Maulana Sufi Mohammad. Hussain noted that the recent All-Party Conference and Malakand Grand Jirga had suggested to the NWFP government to form the Darul Qaza as soon as possible to bring peace and fully enact the Nizam-e-Adl. (Note and Comment: Sufi Mohammad has disappeared since his attempts to bring the Swat taliban in Buner back to Swat failed and the Frontier Corps occupied his home village in Lower Dir earlier this week. The NWFP government will likely continue going through the motions on the Nizam-e-Adl as long as it demonstrates the government is maintaining its side of the Swat peace deal. End note and Comment.) FEIERSTEIN