The South Asia Channel

Daily brief: Quetta hospital blast kills 12

Wonk Watch Event: Join the New America Foundation and Foreign Policy magazine on Monday at 10:00am EST for the launch of a unique series of papers written by local Pakistani researchers and other experts, "The Battle for Pakistan: Militancy, Conflict, and Politics in Pakistan’s Northwest" (NAF). Beyond the pale As many as 12 people, including ...

BANARAS KHAN/AFP/Getty Images
BANARAS KHAN/AFP/Getty Images

Wonk Watch Event: Join the New America Foundation and Foreign Policy magazine on Monday at 10:00am EST for the launch of a unique series of papers written by local Pakistani researchers and other experts, "The Battle for Pakistan: Militancy, Conflict, and Politics in Pakistan's Northwest" (NAF).

Beyond the pale

As many as 12 people, including a cameraman for Pakistan's Samaa TV and two senior police officials, were killed earlier today in a suspected sectarian suicide attack on the Quetta Civil Hospital in the Baluchi capital (ET, Samaa, The News, The News, AP, Reuters, BBC). More than 30 pounds of explosives were detonated in the hospital's emergency room, reportedly where Shia Muslims were mourning a bank manager who had been shot and killed earlier in the day.

Wonk Watch Event: Join the New America Foundation and Foreign Policy magazine on Monday at 10:00am EST for the launch of a unique series of papers written by local Pakistani researchers and other experts, "The Battle for Pakistan: Militancy, Conflict, and Politics in Pakistan’s Northwest" (NAF).

Beyond the pale

As many as 12 people, including a cameraman for Pakistan’s Samaa TV and two senior police officials, were killed earlier today in a suspected sectarian suicide attack on the Quetta Civil Hospital in the Baluchi capital (ET, Samaa, The News, The News, AP, Reuters, BBC). More than 30 pounds of explosives were detonated in the hospital’s emergency room, reportedly where Shia Muslims were mourning a bank manager who had been shot and killed earlier in the day.

In a much-anticipated, withering report, the U.N. commission investigating the 2007 assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto concluded that Pakistani authorities, particularly police in Rawalpindi, deliberately failed to investigate her death effectively; that the country’s powerful intelligence services "severely hampered" the investigations; that Gen. Pervez Musharraf’s government "did little more than pass on" known threats to Bhutto; and ultimately judges that her assassination "could have been prevented if adequate security measures had been taken" (ET, Dawn, NYT, Reuters, BBC, AP, Tel, Times, WSJ, CNN, AJE, McClatchy, Wash Post, FP). An aide to Musharraf has already claimed the U.N.’s report is a "pack of lies" and that the chief commissioner "is not the relative of Sherlock Holmes" (AP). The full report, a must-read, is available here (UN).

The third suspected U.S. drone strike (NAF) in North Waziristan in four days reportedly killed a handful of suspected militants in the suburbs of Miram Shah (AFP, AP, The News, Dawn). Also in the tribal areas, an Independent correspondent checks in on the conflict in Bajaur (Independent). The newly-launched Pakistani newspaper Express Tribune reports that Karachi police have arrested a Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan commander called Mian Gul Saeed (ET).

A bloody day in Afghanistan

Yesterday in Kandahar city, a remotely detonated car bomb exploded in front of the Noor Jehan Hotel, wounding eight people; several hours later, a suicide bomber in a vehicle attacked a compound shared by foreign companies, blowing out windows across the city and killing three Afghan soldiers and three international workers (AP, AJE, NYT, BBC, AP, Pajhwok). Britain’s Foreign Office is investigating whether British workers were killed in the second attack (Guardian, Times, Independent). The NYT assesses that the attacks "seemed to be the latest effort by the Taliban to show their strength" ahead of this summer’s expected coalition offensive there (NYT).

Four German soldiers were killed and five wounded in Afghanistan’s northern Baghlan province yesterday after insurgents fired anti-tank grenades and rockets at their patrol, a strike which is likely to worsen German public opinion of the country’s involvement in Afghanistan (AFP, LAT, Pajhwok, Bloomberg, BBC, Spiegel, NYT). A Taliban spokesman took responsibility for the attack; 43 German soldiers have died in Afghanistan since 2002.

Earlier today in Baghlan, Afghan police said five Afghan U.N. workers were kidnapped by Taliban insurgents en route from Pul-i-Khumri to Samangan after their vehicles were hijacked (Pajhwok, AFP, AP). Maulvi Amanullah, a purported Taliban commander in Baghlan, reportedly took responsibility for the kidnapping, but did not offer any demands; the U.N. has so far only confirmed that five Afghan workers are missing.

McClatchy reports on a hearing of the Senate subcommittee on contracting oversight yesterday in which Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) relayed a story saying that U.S. government contractors failed to show Afghan police recruits how to adjust the sights on their AK-47s (McClatchy, Senate).

Hey hey, goodbye

A federal judge ordered the Afghanistan-born imam, who lied to FBI investigators about tipping off would-be New York City subway attacker Najibullah Zazi that he was being surveilled last year, to "self-deport" within 90 days, though did not sentence him to any additional time in prison (Bloomberg, Reuters, AFP, NYT, LAT). Ahmad Wais Afzali, a sometime police informant, had pleaded guilty and claimed he never meant "to help those idiots," referring to Zazi and accomplices; Zazi has also pleaded guilty to terrorism-related charges and is set for sentencing on June 25.

Field trips galore

A branch of Afghanistan’s National Gallery art museum has been officially inaugurated in Lashkar Gah, the capital of the country’s southern Afghan province of Helmand (Pajhwok). Some 320 paintings will be displayed there.

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