Foreign Policy

Fighting rages between militant groups in Pakistan’s northwest

Fighting rages between militant groups in Pakistan’s northwest

The Rack: Luke Mogelson, "Which way did the Taliban go?" (NYT Magazine).

Explosive rivalry

Clashes between the Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP) Pakistan and Ansar al-Islam militant groups broke out in the Khyber Tribal Agency on Friday, continued through the weekend and were still ongoing Monday, resulting in the deaths so far of almost 60 people, most of whom are being identified as militants (Dawn, ET, AP, The News). Fighting between the two groups began when the TTP captured an Ansar al-Islam base on Friday, prompting Ansar fighters to attempt to retake the base by force.

Bus services and trade across the Line of Control dividing the disputed territory of Kashmir resumed on Monday, after being suspended on January 10 following some of the worst cross-border violence in a decade (AP, NDTV, Dawn, AFP). And Afghan Defense Minister Gen. Bismullah Khan Mohammadi arrived in Pakistan on Sunday for five days of talks, beginning with a meeting with Pakistan’s Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani in Rawalpindi on Monday (Dawn, ET).

Deadly blasts

A suicide bomber detonated his explosives in the middle of a public square in northern Afghanistan’s Kunduz City on Saturday, killing 10 policemen, including the head of the police counterterrorism department, Abdullah Zemarai, and the head of the traffic police, Sayyed Aslam Sadat (NYT, CNN, BBC, AFP). Later on Saturday, a police truck carrying officers and detainees hit a roadside bomb in Kandahar City, killing 10 of those on board (AP, BBC, ). The police had driven to a residential area of the city to inspect a bomb discovered there; they detained three suspects and were returning to headquarters when they hit the buried explosive.

The Afghan government has criticized a United Nations report about widespread and systematic torture of detainees in Afghan-run prisons, inviting Afghan reporters into the detention centers to view the facilities and interview some detainees (NYT). President Hamid Karzai has also appointed an official commission to investigate the findings in the report.

Changed our minds

In 2010, the U.S. Department of Defense spent $50,000 to buy and destroy the first 10,000 copies of a book on the Afghan war entitled Operation Dark Heart, saying the book contained classified information (NYT). Almost three years later, censors at the Pentagon now say 198 of the 400 passages that they previously forced author Anthony Shaffer to delete are actually fine to print.

– Jennifer Rowland