- By Jennifer RowlandJennifer Rowland is a research associate in the National Security Studies Program at the New America Foundation.
Unfriendly fire: An Afghan policeman in the eastern province of Paktika drugged, then shot and killed, nine of his colleagues as they slept early Friday morning, an attack the provincial police chief said was directed by the Taliban (AFP, Reuters, AJE, BBC, NYT). And two NATO service members were killed separately in an insurgent attack on Thursday and a roadside bomb on Friday (AP).
British Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt told reporters in Kabul that he doesn’t think Afghan officials are working hard enough to fight corruption within the government, citing the 2010 Kabul Bank scandal as one example of their failure (AP, Reuters).
The Obama administration has reportedly agreed in theory to transfer five Taliban detainees from Guantánamo Bay to Qatar, if Qatari officials can ensure that the men do not leave the country (Reuters). This restriction would be far less rigid than those previously discussed, which included imprisonment, house arrest, and around-the-clock monitoring.
On the run
According to a Pakistani police report on the testimony of Osama bin Laden’s youngest widow, Amal al-Sadah, bin Laden moved around Pakistan for nine years following 9/11, and fathered four children, of whom at least two were born in government hospitals (NYT). Al-Sadah told Pakistani authorities that she lived with her husband in the northwestern province of Swat, then in Haripur – a small town not far from Islamabad, and finally Abbottabad, where the al-Qaeda leader was killed by U.S. Special Forces last May.
A U.S. drone strike killed four suspected militants in Miranshah, North Waziristan on Friday (Reuters, CNN, AFP). The United States and Pakistan are reportedly in talks over changes to the covert drone program, including giving Pakistan advance notice of the strikes, altering the targets, and changing the way targets are determined (CNN). Pakistan’s former ambassador to the United States Husain Haqqani sent a letter to Pakistani Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry this week requesting permission to testify from Washington, because his life would be in danger if he were to return to Pakistan (NYT).
Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on Thursday chaired a high-level meeting of ruling and opposition politicians, as well as top security officials, to move forward with a review of relations with the United States, as the Pakistani parliamentary debate on the matter ground to a halt this week (ET, Reuters). Official sources said the different parties agreed on certain amendments to the recommendations put forward by a parliamentary panel last week, potentially ensuring its passage.
Against the backdrop of yesterday’s deadly attacks in Balochistan, McClatchy’s Saeed Shah reports on the Pakistani government’s quiet campaign to stifle an insurgent movement in the western province, in which some 300 people may have been abducted or killed — potentially by Pakistani security forces — since January 2011 (McClatchy). The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said Friday that over 100,000 people have fled the violence in Pakistan’s northwestern Khyber Agency since January 20 of this year, when the army launched security operations to battle insurgents there (AFP).
Day three of Fashion Showcase 2012 in Karachi was met with mixed reviews on Thursday, as designers sought to wow crowds with looks inspired by Pakistani heritage, nature themes, and the vibrant colors of spring (ET). Yasir Mirza’s "Hiphopistan" collection fell completely flat, though, with one critic calling it "something not many self respecting alpha males will dare to wear."
— Jennifer Rowland