- By Jennifer RowlandJennifer Rowland is a research associate in the National Security Studies Program at the New America Foundation.
Event notice: Please join the New America Foundation in New York City TODAY, March 6, at 6:30 p.m. for "Obama’s Secret Wars" (NAF).
Bloody bombing: Five Afghan civilians were killed on Monday in a suicide attack claimed by the Taliban and targeting an International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) vehicle outside the NATO base at Bagram, where Qurans were burned by NATO troops two weeks ago (AJE, BBC, AP, CNN, LAT). Earlier, an attacker blew himself up in a busy area of Jalalabad, killing an Afghan intelligence officer and wounding a dozen security forces and civilians.
President Hamid Karzai met with U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker on Monday to discuss plans for a strategic partnership agreement between their two countries, but failed to come to an agreement on the transfer of detainees to Afghan control (NYT, AP, CNN). Disagreements over the details of the agreement reportedly led Karzai’s National Security Advisor Rangin Dadfar Spanta to submit his resignation two months ago, as many Afghan officials worry that without an agreement in place, Afghanistan won’t survive past the NATO withdrawal in 2014.
An interview by ABC News’ Martha Raddatz with NATO commander Gen. John Allen aired on Monday, in which Gen. Allen affirms that the trust between NATO and Afghan troops remains "so great" that the Afghans were willing to accept the U.S. apology for accidentally burning Qurans (ABC). A Reuters poll found Monday that 56% of Americans support President Barack Obama’s decision to apologize for the incident (Reuters).
Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) commanders in Bajaur expressed their anger on Monday at the news that the TPP deputy Maulvi Faqir Muhammad had been dismissed at a meeting over the weekend, and said the decision could "create a rift amongst the mujahedeen" (NYT, AFP, BBC, CNN). At least seven militants were killed and nine arrested in a clash with Pakistani security forces in Dera Bugti, Balochistan Province (The News, ET, CNN). Four militants were killed in a clash between rival militant groups the Taliban and Lashkar-i-Islam in Khyber Agency on Monday (Dawn).
On orders from the Supreme Court, a notice was pasted on the door of former president Pervez Musharraf’s farmhouse in Islamabad requesting him to appear before the court on March 22 to testify about the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto (ET, AFP). And the core committee of the ruling Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has formed a committee to investigate whether PPP legislators in Punjab Province were responsible for the loss of a Senate seat to the Pakistan Muslim League in last week’s elections (Dawn, ET, DT).
At least five people were injured Monday when the bus they were in came under fire as they were leaving a rally for the Awami National Party (ANP) in Karachi (Dawn). And civil society groups in Peshawar rallied Monday against the Dife-e-Pakistan Council (DPC), an umbrella group of hardline political and religious groups that has recently experienced a resurgence in Pakistan (ET).
A two-day camel wrestling tournament concluded on Sunday in Dera Ghazi Khan in south Punjab, where the sport is extremely popular (ET). Contrary to popular belief, teaching camels wrestling holds is not an easy task, and the owner of runner-up Tufaan said it requires a lot of patience and skill.
– Jennifer Rowland