The South Asia Channel

NATO withdraws Kabul personnel after two U.S. soldiers are killed

NATO withdraws Kabul personnel after two U.S. soldiers are killed

Danger zone: An Afghan security official on Saturday shot and killed two U.S. soldiers inside a highly secure area of the Interior Ministry in Kabul, prompting NATO commander Gen. John Allen to order all NATO personnel out of Afghan ministries (NYT,PostTelReutersAPCNNWSJLAT). The Taliban claimed that the shooter was an insurgent infiltrator, as Afghan officials identified an Afghan police intelligence officer named Abdul Saboor as the main suspect, and a search for him is underway (BBC). Several Afghans also died Saturday as protests continued across the country; six were killed when protesters tried to storm the U.S. Consulate in Herat, and at least three were killed when protesters tried to storm the United Nations compound in Kunduz (NYT, AFPCNN BBC).

The riots slowed on Sunday, but remained fierce in northern Afghanistan, where protesters threw a grenade that injured at least six U.S. service members (NYTCNN,AP). President Karzai on Sunday called on all Afghans to resist partaking in violent retaliation against NATO for troops’ Quran burnings last week, and said he supports NATO’s decision to withdraw its personnel from Afghan ministries (Post). And a delegation of Afghan leaders, including the defense and interior ministers, have cancelled a trip to the United States scheduled for this week in order to deal with the unrest sweeping the country (APBloomberg).

A suicide car bomber slammed his vehicle into the gates of a NATO base and airport in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad on Monday, killing at least nine Afghans in the latest attack claimed by the Taliban in revenge for the burning on Qurans (APGuardianTel,BBCReuters). Over 30 people have died during the wave of violent protests, including four U.S. troops. The Taliban also claimed responsibility for poisoned food discovered by an Afghan dining facility worker over the weekend, which did not end up causing anyone to become sick (CNNAFP). U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan Ryan Crocker said Sunday that the U.S. strategy in the country will not change, but the events of the last week have reportedly fueled doubts within the U.S. government about the reliability of their Afghan partners (ReutersAPNYTPostAP).

And a spokesman for Afghanistan’s intelligence agency, the National Directorate of Security (NDS), said Monday that a senior diplomat in the Foreign Ministry and three other government officials had been arrested on charges of spying for Pakistan and Iran (AFP).

Not-so-secret warning

U.S. officials said Friday that a top-secret cable sent by Ambassador Crocker to Washington last month warned that the continued existence of safe havens for militants in Pakistan’s tribal regions is threatening the success of the U.S. mission in Afghanistan (Post). The cable specifies that the U.S. has failed to contain the Taliban-allied Haqqani Network, claims that could be used by U.S. military officials who want the U.S. to take more forceful action against the Haqqanis in Pakistan. Pakistani workers in Abbottabad on Sunday completed the demolition of the three-story compound in which former al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was found and killed by U.S. Navy SEALs last May (NYT,TelAFPAP).

The Associated Press has completed an on-the-ground investigation into the civilian toll of U.S. drone attacks in Pakistan, finding that the strikes kill far fewer civilians than Pakistanis are often led to believe (AP). An AP reporter who spoke to around 80 villagers who live near the sites of 10 attacks that have taken place in the last year and a half in North Waziristan, was told that the overwhelming majority of people killed were militants. U.S. officials rejected a Taliban claim on Saturday that the insurgent group had shot down a U.S. drone that crashed near the village of Machikhel in North Waziristan (ReutersCNNDawnAFPETAP).

At least seven people were killed in Nowshera on Monday when a bomb was detonated following an Awami National Party (ANP) rally (ETDawn). Some 16 militants and two security personnel were killed during clashes in Pakistan’s tribal belt on Sunday (ET,Dawn).

Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar has invited a leader of Kashmir’s All Parties Hurriyet Conference (APHC), Syed Ali Geelani, to visit Pakistan, according to a statement issued by Geelani’s spokesperson (ET). And the Indian military is planning a massive wargames exercise near the border with Pakistan next month involving 20,000 troops (AFP).

Hog wild

Authorities in Islamabad are struggling to contain the city’s latest growing threat, wild boars that have already managed to breach the gates of a police station and injure an officer (AP). Police chief Fayaz Tanooli said "The pig was like a terrorist. We shot him down" after it charged at one officer, leaving him with a gash in his stomach that required eight stitches.

 Jennifer Rowland