Monday, 9 June 2014

Pakistan climbing season kicks off with Terrorism

Last fall I wrote an article for Alpinist on the future of climbing in Pakistan post the Naga Parbat massacre. Even if the lates act of terrorism was conducted far from where climbers move, it calls for caution for visiting expeditions.

The situation is at best volatile and tension is high du to a number of reasons, they are all briefly summarized in the text below and I thin its good reading for any one planning to go to or depart Pakistan during this season. I know some expeditions are underway and some are going. I alos know some have been denied permits and that might indicate that certain areas are deemed unsafe. I'm not sure what the Government of Pakistan finally decided to do in order to better protect visiting expeditions and trekking groups. 

An other issue to factor in to the risk assessment is the fact that India has a new leadership in place with executive power as of this week. If tension would rise in the border areas I thin its safe to say that its not the best place to be in proximity of. Other than that I hope every one stay safe and have fun in Pakistan this summer.

As for safety and security updates just stay alert and pay attention to world news. Subscribe to standard risk mitigation procedures and keep a low profile. And most important avoid traveling by road to the Northern areas from ISB at any cost. Its a risky venture not worth it.


Top of the Agenda

Pakistani Taliban Claim Responsibility for Karachi Airport Attack
The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility on Monday for an overnight assault on the Karachi airport that left ten attackers and nineteen others dead (NYT), an attack that Pakistani paramilitary Rangers initially ascribed to India. The militant group recently split over disagreement over peace talks with the government, which have faltered, while the military has intensified its air offensive in northwestern tribal areas. Karachi itself has been a city contested by militant groups, and tensions escalated there last week after a political leader in exile was arrested by British authorities; he was released on Saturday but remains under investigation. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will convene an emergency security cabinet meeting this week to debate the future of the talks (Dawn). Another suicide attack on Sunday night killed thirty Shias in Balochistan who were returning from a pilgrimage to neighboring Iran (Express Tribune).


"Two years ago all the states in the region would have publicly or privately accused Pakistan's military and Interservices Intelligence (ISI) of supporting, protecting, or at least tolerating almost every terrorist group based in Pakistan. The ISI had links with all of them and often collaborated with them. Recently those relations have changed. Governments in the region now accept that Pakistan is in some ways trying to fight terrorism on its soil. But those governments are also concerned that the Pakistani military and political elite have lost control of large parts of the country and cannot maintain law and order. …There is still no overall political or military strategy to combat Islamic extremism. The Pakistani army tries to suppress some terrorist groups but not, for example, those that target India. Such a selective strategy cannot be maintained indefinitely and poses enormous risks to the entire world," writes Ahmed Rashid in the New York Review of Books.
"The split likely marks a return to Pakistan's discredited policy of Good Taliban; Bad Taliban. While American troops head home from Afghanistan, while an election is under way, it would be silly of Islamabad to give up its proxies, runs the reasoning. Who knows what might happen across the border? Who knows what allies Pakistan might need? So long as the Good Taliban steer clear of Pakistani targets then all is well. Rather than clear the militants, the havens can be left for now. But while those refuges remain, the Bad Taliban will remain too," writes Rob Crilly in the Telegraph.
"The ISI's game of prolonging the post-9/11 insurgency in Afghanistan long enough for the tired American leviathan to pack up and go home – and for Pakistan to move in more forcefully – is the direct cause of this terrorist surge, which has taken over 50,000 lives.There are now three separate but interrelated insurgencies eating at the Pakistani state like overfed parasites: the sectarian Sunni jihad against Pakistan's Shia population, the Balochi insurgency, and the gangsterism and religious extremism destroying Karachi. When exporting militancy is a state's central foreign policy tool, it does not take long for the pawns to turn their guns on their masters," writes Omer
Aziz in the Diplomat.


For additional information:,-Pakistan's-war-against-the-Taliban-is-in-limbo