- By Jennifer RowlandJennifer Rowland is a research associate in the National Security Studies Program at the New America Foundation.
The Obama administration is reportedly close to finishing the codification of its drone policies in a "playbook" that delineates clear rules governing the use of targeted killing around the world, but declares the CIA’s drone campaign in Pakistan exempt from these restrictions (Post).
A lawyer for Pakistan’s intelligence agency told the country’s Supreme Court on Monday that the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI) held seven suspected militants who were sought by the court for a year and a half without sufficient evidence to try them (AP). The admission is likely to heighten concerns in Pakistan of human rights abuses perpetrated by the security establishment under the guise of counterterrorism efforts.
Pakistani Foreign Secretary Jalil Jilani said at a press conference in Abu Dhabi on Friday that Pakistan plans to release all of its remaining Taliban detainees, including former deputy leader of the Taliban Mullah Baradar, in an effort to support the reconciliation process in Afghanistan (Reuters, AJE, AP, NYT). And the family of an official who was found dead in his home last week while investigating corruption charges against Pakistani Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf is calling for an inquiry into his death (BBC, AJE).
Five Taliban suicide bombers stormed the headquarters of the traffic police in Kabul early on Monday morning, starting a firefight that was followed by a remotely detonated car bomb that allowed them to rush into the compound (NYT, AP, Tel, LAT, AJE, Guardian, CNN, BBC). A battle between the insurgents and security forces lasted until just after 2PM, with all of the insurgents and at least three traffic officers reported dead.
A report released by the United Nations on Sunday found that despite a year of efforts to stem incidences of torture in Afghan prisons, abuse of detainees at the hands of the Afghan police forces has risen (NYT, AP, BBC, Guardian, LAT, WSJ). More than half of Afghanistan’s 635 conflict-related detainees reported abuses such as being hung by their wrists from the ceiling, severely beaten with cables and rods given electric shocks, and threatened with sodomy.
Kabul’s malodorous pollution
Air pollution in Kabul is a serious problem, and one that is often blamed on the city’s poor sewage system; one municipal official declared in 2007 that the city "has the highest level of fecal matter in the atmosphere in the world" (NYT). The head of the United Nations Environment Program in Kabul calls that an urban legend, and says, "I think the need by diplomats for danger-pay raises is what has kept reports of fecal matter danger very high."
– Jennifer Rowland