- By Jennifer RowlandJennifer Rowland is a research associate in the National Security Studies Program at the New America Foundation.
Deadly blast: A suicide bomber on a motorcycle in Maimanah, the capital of Afghanistan’s northern Faryab Province killed at least 12 people on Wednesday, including Afghan police officers, at least six civilians, and three NATO troops (AP, Post, CNN, AFP, AJE, BBC). Afghan officials said the attacker was targeting the international troops, who had visited police headquarters before going to a nearby park — where the attack took place — for filmed interviews.
Afghan and U.S. officials said Tuesday night that the two states are nearing a deal on controversial night raids that would allow the Afghan government legal oversight of the raids, while the U.S. maintains the lead on conducting them (NYT, Reuters, AP). The Afghan Minister of Commerce and Industries, Anwar ul-Haq Ahady called Tuesday on the United States to refrain from imposing sanctions on Afghanistan if it imports oil from Iran, because of its "special situation" (Bloomberg).
A remote controlled roadside bomb struck a passenger van in Khyber Agency’s Jamrud District on Wednesday, killing at least six people and injuring nine others (AFP, ET, AJE). At least 16 people were killed in yesterday’s violent sectarian clashes in the northern Pakistani region of Gilgit-Baltistan, and a curfew remained in place Wednesday as Pakistani soldiers patrolled the area (ET, Dawn, DT, The News).
Pakistani militant leader and founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba, Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, dismissed the United States’ $10 million bounty on his head on Tuesday, and scheduled a press conference Wednesday near Army headquarters in Rawalpindi (AP, BBC). Addressing the press, Saeed announced that he would be in Lahore tomorrow if U.S. officials would like to find him (ET). For fear of being seen as pro-American, Pakistani opposition politicians are blocking U.S. efforts to convince Pakistan of reopening NATO supply routes to Afghanistan, by insisting that the United States end drone strikes as a precondition (AP, DT, The News).
Former Pakistani ambassador to the United States Husain Haqqani has reportedly filed a request to be excused from appearing before the commission investigating the "Memogate" affair for health reasons (ET, Dawn, The News).
First in fight
At just 17 years of age, Sadaf Rahimi has been handed a wild card to participate in the 2012 Olympic Games in London as Afghanistan’s first female Olympic boxer (CNN). A shortage of sports facilities in Kabul, as well as threats on her life by anonymous individuals who disapprove of female athletes, have made training difficult for Rahimi and her teammates, but she says these obstacles won’t deter them.
– Jennifer Rowland