Daily brief: six international soldiers die in Afghanistan attacks

Wonk Watch: David Schanzer and Ebrahim Moosa of Duke University and Charles Kurzman of UNC-Chapel Hill have recently released a study entitled "Anti-terror lessons of Muslim Americans," finding that since September 11, 2001, 139 Muslim-Americans committed acts of terrorism-related violence or were prosecuted for for terrorism-related offenses that involved some element of violence. A detailed ...

ASIF HASSAN/AFP/Getty Images
ASIF HASSAN/AFP/Getty Images
ASIF HASSAN/AFP/Getty Images

Wonk Watch: David Schanzer and Ebrahim Moosa of Duke University and Charles Kurzman of UNC-Chapel Hill have recently released a study entitled "Anti-terror lessons of Muslim Americans," finding that since September 11, 2001, 139 Muslim-Americans committed acts of terrorism-related violence or were prosecuted for for terrorism-related offenses that involved some element of violence. A detailed breakdown is available here (pdf).

Violence in Pakistan

Pakistan suffered more than 3,000 military and civilian deaths in 2009 as a result of militant violence in the country, according to the Pak Institute for Peace Studies, an Islamabad think tank, an increase of nearly 50 percent over the previous year (Guardian, Telegraph, McClatchy). Additionally, there were 87 suicide attacks in Pakistan in 2009, up from 63 in 2008; the executive summary of the annual report is available here (PIPS-pdf). A London-based think tank just released a report stating that Pakistan is likely to become more anti-American and pro-Islamist over the next several years, though rules out the likelihood of a Taliban takeover of the country (Reuters, Legatum Institute).

Wonk Watch: David Schanzer and Ebrahim Moosa of Duke University and Charles Kurzman of UNC-Chapel Hill have recently released a study entitled "Anti-terror lessons of Muslim Americans," finding that since September 11, 2001, 139 Muslim-Americans committed acts of terrorism-related violence or were prosecuted for for terrorism-related offenses that involved some element of violence. A detailed breakdown is available here (pdf).

Violence in Pakistan

Pakistan suffered more than 3,000 military and civilian deaths in 2009 as a result of militant violence in the country, according to the Pak Institute for Peace Studies, an Islamabad think tank, an increase of nearly 50 percent over the previous year (Guardian, Telegraph, McClatchy). Additionally, there were 87 suicide attacks in Pakistan in 2009, up from 63 in 2008; the executive summary of the annual report is available here (PIPS-pdf). A London-based think tank just released a report stating that Pakistan is likely to become more anti-American and pro-Islamist over the next several years, though rules out the likelihood of a Taliban takeover of the country (Reuters, Legatum Institute).

Thousands of protesters took to the streets yesterday in Pakistan’s financial capital Karachi to object to the recent targeted killings that have swept the city and left as many as 48 political party workers dead (AFP, Dawn, LAT). Karachi sees occasional outbreaks of politically motivated violence, "reflecting tensions between the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, which represents Muslims who migrated from India, and the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party, and the Pashtun nationalist Awami National Party."

The prominent Pakistani newspaper Dawn reports that a Pakistani military operation in the tribal agency of Orakzai "appeared imminent" as authorities sealed off the region by establishing checkpoints and moved security forces into place (Dawn). Dawn‘s sources say that 90 percent of suicide bombers in several major Pakistani cities were trained in Orakzai, the former headquarters of current Pakistani Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud.

On the drones

A Jordanian Taliban commander called Mahmud Mahdi Zeidan, also known as Mansur al-Shami, has reportedly been killed by an alleged U.S. drone strike in Waziristan, according to extremist websites monitored by SITE Intelligence (AFP). Zeidan’s brother reportedly confirmed his death and claimed he had been the bodyguard for Mustafa Abu Al-Yazid, the current head of al Qaeda in Afghanistan (Dawn).

CNN’s Christiane Amanpour recently interviewed CENTCOM commander Gen. David Petraeus, who ducked direct inquiries about the recent reported uptick in the pace of U.S.-operated drone strikes in Pakistan by commenting, "We don’t talk about the source of the explosions in western Pakistan, but certainly many commentators have noted the considerable pressure that has been brought on the leadership in particular of al Qaeda and also of some other important extremist elements there" (CNN, Dawn). There have been six reported drone strikes in Pakistan in 2010, and seven since the suicide bombing at the CIA base in Khost on Dec. 30, 2009.

The Afghan roundup

Six international soldiers — three Americans, a Brit, and a Frenchman among them — were killed in several separate incidents across Afghanistan yesterday, putting this month on pace to be the deadliest January yet for foreign forces (WSJ, BBC, AJE, AP, AFP). Rod Nordland observes that the winter, normally a time of fewer attacks, has not slowed violence in Afghanistan this year (NYT).

Joshua Partlow briefly describes the launch of Operation Cobra’s Anger II in the district of Bar Now Zad in the southern Afghan province of Helmand, a follow-on to a larger effort called Cobra’s Anger in a nearby district (Wash Post). Sixteen militants have reportedly been killed by missiles fired from unmanned aerial vehicles, an unusual use of drones in Afghanistan, in Helmand in the last two days (AP, Pajhwok, NYT). And Afghan officials say six civilians have been killed in Garmsir district in Helmand after protests against the alleged desecration of a Koran by international forces turned violent (AP).

After the news yesterday that Afghans will assume responsibility for the U.S.-run military prison at Bagram air base, north of Kabul, Afghan officials said that the hundreds of current inmates held without trial will be able to challenge their detentions under Afghan control (AFP). The Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction is investigating 38 criminal cases, 40 percent involving fraud and 60 percent involving bribery and theft, and only 10 of which implicate only Afghans (AP, Pajhwok). And the Times of London has a detailed reconstruction of the suicide attack at the CIA base in Khost (Times).

A beer and a hug

A national Pakistani field hockey superstar and two of his team’s officials were fined for un-Islamic behavior after photos circulated of the men variously hugging a woman and drinking alcohol in Argentina last month (Reuters, Dawn). The field hockey player, Rehan Butt, was fined $1,175, while the two team officials will pay $600 each.

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