09 Dec 17. Pakistan – North Waziristan & Orakzai: Security forces recover weapons caches containing AAA, RPGs. On 8 December, Pakistani security forces in North Waziristan Agency recovered a weapons cache during a raid against suspected militants containing three low-caliber anti-aircraft artillery (AAA) systems and hundreds of rounds of associated ammunition. In addition, security forces recovered a similar weapons cache from militants in Orakzai Agency containing two rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) launchers and 48 associated rounds on 8 December. US, UK, French and German civil aviation authorities along with EASA have each issued guidance to operators regarding overflight of Pakistan due to the threat posed to aircraft from militant groups equipped with anti-aircraft weapons; including manportable air defence systems (MANPADS).Analysis
Militant groups are assessed to possess a variety of light weapons, such as RPGs and low-caliber AAA, capable of engaging aircraft up to FL100. Multiple credible reports indicate militants are in possession of a small number of MANPADS capable of engaging aircraft up to FL260. On 25 September, Pakistani security forces seized a weapons cache containing two Russian-made 9K32 Strela-2 (SA-7 GRAIL) MANPADS tubes in Balochistan Province. The most significant MANPADS cache discovery during 2017 occurred on 29 January when Balochistan-based security forces recovered a fully intact SA-7 in Kohlu District. We continue to assess Pakistan to be a HIGH risk airspace environment below FL260 due to the presence of militant groups equipped with MANPADS and low-caliber AAA.Risk area recommendation: GO+3 – Comprehensive risk mitigation measures
• Flights below FL260 not advised; essential flights over FL260 via measures below
• Defer diverting from flight plan with the exception of life threatening situations
• Security and operational risk-based identification of pre-planned divert airports
• Reliable and redundant communications with an established communications plan
• Fully-coordinated and robust emergency response plan supplemented by asset tracking (Source: Osprey)
09 Dec 17. Iraq is ‘fully liberated’ from ISIS, its military says. The entire length of the Iraqi-Syrian border is also secure, Iraq’s Prime Minister tweeted. The Iraqi military has “fully liberated” all of Iraq’s territory of “ISIS terrorist gangs” and retaken full control of the Iraqi-Syrian border, it said Saturday in a statement.
“Our heroic armed forces have now secured the entire length of the Iraq-Syria border,” Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi said on his Twitter account. “We defeated Daesh (ISIS) through our unity and sacrifice for the nation. Long live Iraq and its people.”
ISIS, an acronym for Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, rapidly captured large territories in Iraq and Syria and declared a caliphate in 2014. The group controlled more than 34,000 square miles of territory from the Mediterranean coast to south of Baghdad.
The campaign to eradicate the Islamic State took more than three years and about 25,000 coalition airstrikes. Iraqi forces have increasingly been pushing ISIS out of the country over the past few months. Iraqi forces last month retook the town of Rawa, one of ISIS’s last footholds in the country. At that point, only pockets of ISIS resistance remained.
ISIS’ ascendency and the world’s military response has created a devastating crisis for civilians and led to the displacement of more than 3.2 million people, according to the United Nations.
The US Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIS tweeted his support for Abadi’s declaration and said the coalition would remain to assist the Iraqis.
“We congratulate the Prime Minister and all the Iraqi people on this significant achievement, which many thought impossible,” Brett McGurk wrote.
The Coalition congratulate the people of Iraq on their significant victory against #Daesh. We stand by them as they set the conditions fo