The South Asia Channel

U.S. drone strike kills up to 14 in northwest Pakistan

U.S. drone strike kills up to 14 in northwest Pakistan

Deadly strike

A U.S. drone strike targeted a compound owned by militant commander Sadiq Noor in the Dre Nishtar village of North Waziristan on Monday, killing as many as 14 people (AP, BBC, Dawn, The News, ET, Reuters/AFP, CNN). Noor is believed to be allied with the Pakistani militant leader Hafiz Gul Bahadur, with whom the Pakistani government is said to have an unofficial peace agreement. On Tuesday, Pakistani security forces shelled militant hideouts in Orakzai Agency, killing at least seven militants and injuring several others (Dawn)

Gunmen on the outskirts of Peshawar attacked a supply convoy headed to Afghanistan on Tuesday, killing the driver and marking the first attack on NATO trucks since Pakistan reopened its ground supply routes to NATO three weeks ago (AFP, CNN). Four children were injured in a blast inside of a guesthouse in Pakistan’s northwest on Tuesday (ET). And police in Karachi discovered and diffused a second bomb planted on a motorcycle near the Chinese Consulate on Monday night, just hours after a blast in the same area injured three people (ET).

A day after British tabloid The Sun claimed to have uncovered a scam in which members of the Pakistani Olympic team agreed to sneak non-participating Pakistanis into the United Kingdom, Pakistan’s Olympic representative vehemently denied the accusations as "an attempt to malign Pakistan" (ET, DT, AFP, Dawn, The News). The Sun reported on Monday that Lahore-based politician Abid Chaudhry had offered its undercover reporter in Pakistan an opportunity to go to the Olympics disguised as an athlete for a fee of one million rupees ($10,000).

Dangerous jobs

The U.S. Embassy in Kabul said on Tuesday that an American civilian working as an electrical engineer in the northern Afghan province on Parwan was shot and killed by gunmen on Monday along with a colleague, two Afghans, and the driver of the minibus in which they were riding (AP). A day after Afghan officials summoned the Pakistani ambassador in Kabul to warn him over the cross-border shelling of eastern Afghan villages, dozens of new rocket attacks from Pakistan struck Afghan towns on Sunday night and Monday, though no casualties were reported (Post).

Afghan cabinet ministers last Wednesday rejected legislation modifying the country’s mining and oil drilling laws, out of fear that the new language favored foreign mining companies and would allow them to exploit Afghanistan’s resources at the detriment of the Afghan people (NYT). Afghan mining officials and Western advisors, on the other hand, maintain that the new legislation would help encourage foreign investment and help make the Afghan economy more self-sufficient. 

A top U.S. general in Afghanistan, Lt. Gen. William Caldwell, is being accused of stalling an investigation into allegations of corruption and patient abuse at the U.S.-funded Dawood National Military Hospital in Kabul for political reasons (Reuters). Retired Col. Gerald Carozza is expected to tell Congress on Tuesday that Lt. Gen. Caldwell delayed the investigation until after the November 2010 congressional elections, and then sought to have his subordinates drop the allegations entirely.

The U.S. Department of Defense has asked Congress to limit the number of congressional delegation (CODEL) trips they make to Afghanistan, as the withdrawal of troops from the country leaves the U.S. military with limited resources to support the visits (Politico).

From traditional to trendy

The folk music of Chakwal, a district in central Punjab with a history dating back to the Stone Age, usually consists only of 10 men and a dholi (drummer), and is sung only in the region (ET). But the traditional genre recently received a modern boost from "Coke Studio," which picked up a group of Chakwali singers in an effort to highlight talented but unknown performers in Pakistan.

Jennifer Rowland