The South Asia Channel

Secret Report: U.S. intelligence too focused on killing suspected terrorists

Secret Report: U.S. intelligence too focused on killing suspected terrorists

Event Notice: Book launch for Kim Ghattas’ The Secretary: A Journey with Hillary Clinton from Beirut to the Heart of American Power, FRIDAY, March 22, 2013, 12:15-1:45PM (NAF).

Bonus read: Peter Bergen, "Surprising hope for Pakistan and Afghanistan" (CNN).

Blind spots

A secret report by a panel of White House advisers called the Intelligence Advisory Board, which includes new Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and former senator David Boren (D-OK), concludes that U.S. intelligence agencies have not been paying enough attention to potential security threats in the Middle East, China, and elsewhere because of an excessive focus on military operations and drone strikes (Post). The document calls for a shift in resources away from counterterrorism, where they have been amassed since the attacks of 9/11.

A federal court in New York City will try Ibrahim Suleiman Adnan Adam Harun (also known as Spin Ghul), a man prosecutors said in charges filed Wednesday was a member of al-Qaeda who fought against American forces in Afghanistan in the early years of the war there, and later plotted attacks on U.S. government installations in Nigeria (NYT, CSM, WSJ, Post, LAT, Reuters, ABC, CNN). Harun was first arrested in Libya in 2005, and says he was placed on a refugee ship bound for Italy as the Libyan government fell in 2011. He was then arrested in Italy and has been secretly held in New York since October 2012, where he joins a growing number of al-Qaeda suspects detained abroad and brought to the United States to face trial.

A car bomb killed at least 12 people and injured 30 others at a Nowshera refugee camp for people displaced by the Pakistani military’s operations against militants in the country’s northwestern tribal regions (Reuters, Dawn, Tel, VOA, The News). The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) denied any role in the attack.

Not wanted here

Carlotta Gall of the New York Times published a must-read on Wednesday detailing how villagers in the traditional Taliban heartland of Kandahar Province are bucking a trend of acquiescence and support to the insurgent group, linking up with Afghan police forces to oust Taliban leaders living in the area, and vowing to resist being overrun by the militants during this summer’s fighting season (NYT). Many villages across Afghanistan have seen local anti-Taliban movements, but this one, in Panjwai District, could represent an endorsement of government legitimacy in an area of the country that many commentators assume will fall to the Taliban after NATO’s combat mission ends in December 2014.

Afghanistan signed a deal on Wednesday with Turkmenistan and Tajikistan to build a railway linking the Afghan town of Akina-Andhoi, which lies 400 miles northwest of Kabul, to Atamryat in Turkmenistan and Pyandzh in Tajikistan (AP). Construction on the new railroad will begin in July in Turkmenistan.

— Jennifer Rowland