The South Asia Channel

Daily brief: Afghan bombings kill U.S. soldiers

Deadly days Seven U.S. soldiers were killed in two separate bombings in southern Afghanistan yesterday, and five today in the south and east, bringing the total of U.S. troops killed since Saturday to 19 (AP, AFP, AJE, NYT, Reuters, Tel, Pajhwok, Tolo, BBC). The Haqqani network, a Pakistan-based insurgent group, has reportedly been expanding its ...

ASIF HASSAN/AFP/Getty Images
ASIF HASSAN/AFP/Getty Images

Deadly days

Seven U.S. soldiers were killed in two separate bombings in southern Afghanistan yesterday, and five today in the south and east, bringing the total of U.S. troops killed since Saturday to 19 (AP, AFP, AJE, NYT, Reuters, Tel, Pajhwok, Tolo, BBC). The Haqqani network, a Pakistan-based insurgent group, has reportedly been expanding its operations across southern and eastern Afghanistan, and on the outskirts of Kabul, an unknown gunman opened fired on a bus of employees of the Afghan Supreme Court, killing three (Tel, AP, Pajhwok). Since 2004, nearly 13,000 wounded U.S. service personnel have reportedly been evacuated to the largest American-run medical facility outside the U.S., Landstuhl, next to Ramstein Air Base in Germany (LAT).

Top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan Gen. David Petraeus said earlier today, "I don’t think anyone disagrees that the footprint of the Taliban has spread," and recognized that Afghan President Hamid Karzai has "legitimate concerns" about the "very clear linkage between attacks on Afghan soil by individuals who have come from Pakistan and are commanded and controlled from Pakistan" (AFP, AP).

Gen. Petraeus also said the last of the 30,000-soldier surge in Afghanistan would be in place in the next several days, and has drafted operational guidelines to implement Karzai’s goal of having Afghan security forces take the lead by 2014 (Reuters). The guidelines reportedly call for gradual transition to Afghan control, rather than "handing off the task all at once to local units," and "envision that while some [U.S.] troops would leave the country when their current areas were secured, others could be reassigned new missions within Afghanistan" (NYT).

The aftermath

Floodwaters have inundated two more towns in Sindh, but Pakistani officials said there are no more villages in the way of the floods, which are emptying into the Arabian Sea after five weeks (AP, ET). The southern city of Thatta is now considered out of danger, though nearly a quarter of Pakistan’s current crops have been destroyed, prompting concerns about a potential looming food crisis across the country (Dawn, Geo, Independent, McClatchy). Some 800,000 Pakistanis are still unreachable, and hundreds of refugees have set up camp on the median of the Peshawar-Islamabad highway, hoping to receive handouts from passing drivers, while hospitals are struggling to treat all those seeking medical care (Times, LAT, Reuters). Bonus read: CNN’s "A flood of tears," an interview with a Pakistani family who lost four children in the flooding (CNN).

A spokesman for Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said he was not aware of an Indian offer for $20 million in flood relief aid, in addition to an initial $5 million (CNN, Hindu). Pakistan is accepting the $5 million, through the United Nations.

Flashpoint

An 11 year old boy was killed when Indian police opened fire with live rounds at a crowd of rock-throwing Kashmiris in the southern Kashmiri town of Anantnag, causing residents of Indian-administered Kashmir to defy a curfew and hold demonstrations across the valley (AP, AFP, CP, Hindu, ToI). A cousin of separatist leader Yasin Malik was injured by police gunfire in Srinagar yesterday; his condition is said to be serious (AFP, BBC). 65 protesters in Kashmir have reportedly been killed since June (ToI).

Indian troops reportedly killed up to nine alleged militants as they attempted to cross the Line of Control into Indian-administered Kashmir over the weekend (AFP, Dawn/Reuters, Daily Times).

Salon business report

Pakistan’s Express Tribune reports that business is down in Karachi salons ahead of Eid, a time when it would normally be difficult to get an appointment, because of floods, the economy, and "the way things are in the country" (ET). For the women who are still heading to hair salons, owners say, lowlights and straightening are in.

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