Insurgents carried out a suicide car bomb-led attack against the headquarters of the elite Afghan National Civil Order Police in Kandahar this morning, killing three U.S. soldiers, an Afghan officer and five civilians (NYT, BBC, AP). The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack, which is similar to two recent attacks at Bagram and Jalalabad where suicide car bombers detonated their explosives, allowing follow-up gunfire from militants. And armed residents of a Ghazni village repelled a Taliban attack yesterday (CNN).
More details emerged about Tuesday’s attack by an Afghan non-commissioned officer that killed three British soldiers, including the company commander in charge of the base and two members of the Royal Gurkha Rifles who died when a rocket propelled grenade struck their command center (Tel, AJE, AFP, Independent).The Afghan soldier, believed to be named Talib Hussein, reportedly fled to a Taliban-controlled area after the attack, and a Taliban statement claimed Hussein had joined the group. The attack is leading some in the United Kingdom and the United States to question the exit strategy for Afghanistan, which is predicated in part on the build-up of Afghan security forces (Guardian).
On Monday, Haji Zahir, the lead local official in Helmand’s Marjah who a senior U.S. military official called "Mr. Right Now, not Mr. Right," was replaced by the Afghan government without explanation (Wash Post).
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will participate in a donors’ conference to be held next week in Kabul, where Afghan officials will present their "renewed commitments on security, governance (and) development" in an attempt to ensure that more aid flows directly through the Afghan government (AFP). Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke told reporters that the conference will also feature the "launch" of a re-integration strategy for some Taliban fighters; the Pentagon has set aside $100 million for the program, and Holbrooke said foreign contributors had already promised $180 million (Reuters).The European Union has temporarily suspended a 600 million-euro aid package until after the conference is over (AFP).
A separatist strike continued in the city of Srinagar in Indian-administered Kashmir, and several Kashmiri political parties requested an inquiry in the deaths of more than a dozen protesters this month (AJE, BBC). The violence and protests have contributed to a tense atmosphere surrounding talks to be held Thursday in Islamabad between the Indian and Pakistani foreign ministers (WSJ, Daily Times, AFP). India has asked that Pakistan curb militant groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) whom they say have stoked protest violence, while Pakistan has questioned India’s suppression of violence in Kashmir. One Indian officer was killed and several others injured in a firefight with suspected LeT members in Kashmir yesterday (TOI).
No, you’re not on the list
Gen. David Petraeus is reportedly working to designate top leaders of the Haqqani network as terrorists, a move that would complicate not only the United States’ relationship with Pakistan but also the Afghan government, currently discussing negotiations with insurgent groups (NYT, Dawn). In a press conference yesterday Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) called for both the Haqqani network and the Quetta Shura, another of the three main Taliban factions, to be blacklisted (Wash Post).
Clashes between Pakistani security forces and Taliban fighters in the northwest tribal region of Orakzai reportedly killed up to 100 Taliban (Daily Times, Dawn). And gunmen on motorbikes killed Baluch nationalist leader Habib Jalib in the city of Quetta (AFP, Dawn).
Unfortunately for "Planet of the Apes" fans, the U.S. Army’s Stars and Stripes is casting doubt on claims made by the Chinese People’s Daily that the Taliban are training an army of monkeys to use firearms against U.S. soldiers (Stars and Stripes). One primate expert questioned the authenticity of the photo that ran with the article, but also said, "While you could train a monkey to shoot a gun, I certainly wouldn’t want to be anywhere in the neighborhood after that. I rather doubt you could trust its aim."