Daily brief: 2 drones strike NW Pakistan
Missiles in the skies A pair of suspected U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan’s northwest tribal region of North Waziristan has killed as many as 18 in the last day, the first such reported attacks since the U.N.’s report last week criticizing the drones program (1: AP, AFP, Reuters, Geo, CNN, Nation; 2: AP, AFP, Geo, ...
Missiles in the skies
Missiles in the skies
A pair of suspected U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan’s northwest tribal region of North Waziristan has killed as many as 18 in the last day, the first such reported attacks since the U.N.’s report last week criticizing the drones program (1: AP, AFP, Reuters, Geo, CNN, Nation; 2: AP, AFP, Geo, Dawn, BBC, CNN, ET). There have been at least 41 reported strikes in Pakistan’s tribal regions this year, compared with 53 in 2009 (NAF).
The Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan have now claimed Tuesday’s attack on a convoy of NATO supply trucks outside Islamabad, after reports yesterday that the ‘Punjabi Taliban’ had taken credit (BBC). TTP spokesman Azam Tariq told BBC Urdu, "We will attack all traffic on these roads which we suspect of carrying supplies to" NATO forces in Afghanistan.
Yesterday in Bajaur, 64 militants including five commanders laid down their arms during a jirga of local elders and pledged support to the Pakistani government (Daily Times). Tensions remain high in Karachi, where five people have been killed in clashes between rival political groups in recent days (ET, Geo).
Earlier this morning in Afghanistan’s Zabul province, a suicide bomber wearing a burqa detonated explosives in a shopping bazaar, killing two Afghan civilians, while in neighboring Kandahar, four women and three children were killed when their car drove over a roadside bomb (AP, Pajhwok). More details are emerging about the suicide attack at a wedding in Kandahar on Wednesday night; 17 of the guests and the groom were reportedly members of an anti-Taliban militia that was initially encouraged by U.S. Special Forces, though the group’s commander was unharmed (NYT, WSJ). The suicide bomber was a boy no older than 13, reports the LA Times (LAT).
Top commander in Afghanistan Gen. Stanley McChrystal estimated yesterday that U.S. and NATO forces in Kandahar will total about 23,300 by the end of August, three times as many as one year ago, while warning that the summer’s expected offensive will be slower than anticipated (Wash Post, WSJ). Gen. McChrystal predicted that casualties will continue to rise over the next few months, and NATO defense ministers issued a statement from Brussels saying the alliance is making "measured progress" but "significant challenges remain" (CNN, AFP).
C. J. Chivers has today’s must-read providing a balanced assessment of the security situation in Marjah, site of a spring offensive, writing that, "The continuing fighting in Marjah can be read as a sign of problems in the American-led surge. It can also be read as something less worrisome: a difficult period in a campaign always expected to be hard" (NYT). On the ground, he reports, officers say it’s too soon to tell.
British Prime Minister David Cameron’s helicopter was diverted en route to Forward Operating Base Shahzad in Helmand province, on his first official visit to Afghanistan, after officials received intelligence that militants were talking about trying to shoot down a VIP (AFP, Independent, Guardian). The Chinook landed in Lashkar Gah, the provincial capital, instead. While offering more funding for the Afghan war, Cameron ruled out sending any more British troops (Independent, Times, NYT).
Cola wars, Pakistan edition
Health officials and Pakistani police shut down a factory in Rawalpindi that was allegedly producing imitation Pepsi, Mountain Dew, and 7up, taking into custody more than 600 1.5-liter bottles of the fake soda and arresting the three brothers who ran the operation (The News). District Food Inspector Rana Ghulam Murtaza said it will "take time to eliminate the menace" of counterfeit drinks.
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