- By Jennifer RowlandJennifer Rowland is a research associate in the National Security Studies Program at the New America Foundation.
Editor’s note: The editors of the AfPak Channel are proud to announce the release TODAY of a new book by Peter Bergen, Manhunt: The 10-Year Search for Bin Laden From 9/11 to Abbottabad, which reveals new details of the decade-long hunt and the final decision to pursue the al-Qaeda leader deep in Pakistani territory (TIME, Post, CNN).
Keeping secrets: The Associated Press reported Tuesday that NATO is not revealing every incident of "green-on-blue" violence, by remaining silent on instances in which coalition troops are only wounded or the attacker misses his target (AP). Last week, for example, Afghan policemen opened fire on U.S. soldiers, wounding two, but reporters only learned about the incident from Afghan officials and U.S. officials in Washington.
Three Afghan children were killed and another three were wounded in Taliban-U.S. cross-fire on Monday when Taliban militants attacked a contingent of American soldiers in the Shajoe district of Zabul Province (NYT, CNN, AFP). NATO reports that a Taliban leader and another insurgent were killed in a joint NATO-Afghan night raid on Monday in the eastern province of Laghman, though a local villager called the two deceased "innocent people" (AP).
European Union Ambassador to Afghanistan Vygaudas Usackas said this week that a clear commitment to good governance and transparency from Afghan officials remains one of the most significant challenges to securing the country (Reuters). A semi-annual report released by the Pentagon on Monday states that Afghanistan continues to face "long-term and acute challenges" from insurgents, as well as "widespread corruption" within the Afghan government, contradicting frequent claims by NATO officials that the coalition is seeing significant progress in the country (Bloomberg). Afghan Foreign Minister Zalmai Rasool traveled to New Delhi Tuesday for the first session of talks with senior officials there under the strategic partnership agreement signed by the two countries last October (AP).
In a country that is extremely wary of references to wars past, German soldiers returning from Afghanistan are reportedly feeling shunned and under-recognized by their government and communities (Post). Germany does not have an equivalent to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, has no official support system for veterans struggling to reintegrate into society, and officials even fear using the phrase "fallen soldiers" because of any reference it might have to World War II.
Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry summoned U.S. Political Counselor Jonathan Pratt on Monday to lodge a formal protest over the U.S. drone attack in North Waziristan on Sunday that killed at least three suspected militants (DT, ET). President Barack Obama’s top counterterrorism advisor John Brennan laid out for the first time a detailed defense of the administration’s drone program on Monday in a speech at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington (LAT, BBC, AP, ET, Post). Brennan called civilian casualties from drone strikes "exceedingly rare," and that the attacks are "in full accordance with the law," "ethical," and "wise."
The widow and mother-in-law of one of the men killed by CIA contractor Raymond Davis last January were allegedly murdered in Lahore on Monday by the widow’s father (ET,AP). Widow Zahra Haider had reportedly remarried in secret, and local police said her father may have worried that she would take the money she received as compensation from the United States with her. A roadside bomb in Quetta targeting Pakistani paramilitary troops killed at least five people — including two civilians — and wounded a dozen others on Tuesday (AP, Dawn, ET). A policeman was killed by a remote-detonated bomb in Peshawar on Monday (Dawn, ET).
A year after the U.S. raid against Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistani officials have yet to reveal their investigation into how the al-Qaeda leader was able to live for several years in a wealthy neighborhood just a mile from the country’s premier military academy (AP). The documents from bin Laden’s compound, however, do reveal details of the terrorist leader’s efforts to micromanage his organization from afar, and his seemingly delusional conviction that al-Qaeda could achieve its goals if it could carry out another spectacular 9/11-like attack on the West (CNN).
Karachi municipal commissioner Matanat Ali Khan is determined to encourage locals to use the city’s 200 planned public restrooms, and to dispel worries like, "What if someone gets in while they are using it?" (ET). To ensure a healthy, secure environment in which people can relieve themselves, the honeycomb-shaped bathrooms will all be equipped with towels, soap, and even a personal security guard.
– Jennifer Rowland