- By Jennifer RowlandJennifer Rowland is a research associate in the National Security Studies Program at the New America Foundation.
Editor’s note: The AfPak Channel will be celebrating the 4th of July tomorrow and will resume regular briefs on Thursday, July 5.
Nth time’s the charm?
Pakistan’s Defense Committee of the Cabinet (DCC) is expected to meet Tuesday to discuss the reopening of NATO supply lines, and top American and Pakistani officials expressed cautious optimism on Monday that the blockade of the routes is almost over (AP, WSJ, NYT, Dawn, ET, Reuters, The News). However, previous such hopes have not been borne out in meetings of Pakistani government officials, and the routes have been blocked for seven months now.
Afghanistan on Monday accused Pakistani troops of launching rocket attacks across the border into Afghan territory, and threatened to report the incident to the United Nations Security Council (Reuters). The spokesman for Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security (NDS) Shafiqullah Taheri, said that Afghanistan has "enough evidence" to show that rockets used in hundreds of attacks on Kunar Province belong to the Pakistani military.
Meanwhile, Pakistan accused Afghan National Army troops of crossing the border into Kurram Agency on Monday while chasing the attackers of an Afghan border post (Dawn, AFP). Pakistani officials said the Afghan forces opened fire on villagers, killing two tribesmen, and engaged in an hour-long gunfight. In Bajaur Agency on Tuesday, a remote-controlled bomb blast killed one paramilitary soldier and wounded four others (ET).
Two people died in Faisalabad on Tuesday as a result of an ongoing strike by the Young Doctors Association (YDA), bringing the total death toll of the strike to 12 (The News, ET, Dawn, Dawn). Doctors serving public hospitals in the Punjab began the strike over a month ago to demand better wages and improved working conditions.
A suicide car bomb attack outside Kandahar University on Monday evening killed at least seven civilians and injured more than 20 (AFP, AP). The Associated Press reported Monday that even as the United States emphasizes the ending of combat operations and the continuation of training programs in Afghanistan, many trainers and mentors are also being withdrawn, leaving behind just a few U.S. advisors who will hop between different Afghan units rather than being embedded with a single group (AP).
Donor countries are reportedly expected to ask Afghanistan to build up greater safeguards against corruption as part of their pledges of more aid money at the Tokyo conference on Afghanistan on July 8 (Reuters). Bonus read: William Byrd, "When too much is not enough" (FP).
The Pakistani telecommunications company Zong has launched a mobile phone-based dating program called Shadi Portal, to help single Pakistanis find their perfect match (ET). Subscribers can record their 30-second profile (which is screened by administrators for obscene language) and listen to the profiles of others, before sending a text message to the profile of their choice. Whether or not they receive a call back is up to the message recipient, of course.
– Jennifer Rowland