The South Asia Channel

Anti-Taliban leader killed in NW Pakistan

Anti-Taliban leader killed in NW Pakistan

EVENT NOTICE: The New America Foundation is pleased to announce that it is now accepting applications for participants in our "South Asia 2020" conference to be held in Dubai from Friday, January 18 to Sunday, January 20, 2013, hosted by Steve Coll and Peter Bergen.

The conference will bring together a total of 30 "new voices" from Pakistan and India to discuss issues of common interest such as trade, business, IT, water, energy, microfinance, climate change, public health and media.

The intent of the conference is to encourage the collaboration of a new generation of experts from both nations in order to develop greater regional integration in South Asia.

TO APPLY: Please send your resume and a letter of intent describing how and what you could contribute to the conference to no later than Monday, November 26, 2012.

New America will cover economy airfare, as well as hotel costs and meals.

Targeted killing

A suicide bombing on Saturday in the Buner district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province killed a prominent anti-Taliban politician, Fateh Khan, along with two of Khan’s security guards and three passers-by (AP, AFP, NYT).

Pakistani president Asif Ali Zardari said at the inauguration of the 6th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) conference in Islamabad that Pakistan has spent nearly $80 billion in its continued fight against militants, having been the victim of terrorism for too long (ET).

Justice system

The trial of U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales is scheduled to open on Monday, providing the first glimpse to Bales’ friends and family of what the Army believes happened the night he allegedly murdered 16 Afghan civilians in southern Afghanistan this March (McClatchy, CNN, Tel, Reuters, Post, LAT).

A roadside bombing in the southern Afghan province of Kandahar killed a district police chief, Rahmatullah Nazik, as he rushed to a police outpost that was under Taliban attack on Saturday (AP).

As NATO combat troops prepare to leave Afghanistan by the end of 2014, many residents of Kandahar Province worry about the country’s economic prospects as well as the possibility of a Taliban return to power, prompting some to switch career paths or leave Afghanistan altogether (AP).

Conspiracy theories

An Islamist Pakistani politician, Fazal-ur-Rehman, who heads the Jamiat-e-Ulema-Islam, said this weekend that 15-year-old Malala Yousufzai was not injured in a Taliban attack last month, and that the entire incident was just a "drama" (Tel). Analysts say Rehman is likely trying to secure Taliban support before the elections scheduled for April 2013, but conspiracy theories have swirled in Pakistan about the attack on Malala since it happened.

— Jennifer Rowland