Daily brief: Times Square suspect indicted
Law and order Yesterday, failed Times Square car bomber Faisal Shahzad was indicted in the Southern District of New York on ten weapons, conspiracy, and terrorism counts that accuse him of receiving training in Pakistan’s Waziristan tribal region in December 2009 and knowingly receiving funds from someone he believed was part of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan ...
Law and order
Law and order
Yesterday, failed Times Square car bomber Faisal Shahzad was indicted in the Southern District of New York on ten weapons, conspiracy, and terrorism counts that accuse him of receiving training in Pakistan’s Waziristan tribal region in December 2009 and knowingly receiving funds from someone he believed was part of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (CNN, NYT, AP, AFP, BBC, LAT, Reuters, DoJ). This indictment added five charges to the original case against the 30 year old father of two, and expanded on the alleged financing of Shahzad’s plot, claiming he received $12,000 from the TTP (AP). Shahzad is expected back in Manhattan court on Monday for an arraignment (NYT).
Wanted: missing troops
Pakistani authorities are reportedly still searching for 40 missing Frontier Corps troops who may have been kidnapped by Taliban fighters in Afghanistan after an attack on a security checkpoint in Mohmand agency earlier this week (Geo, BBC, AP, The News, CNN). Fourteen soldiers who apparently fled into Afghan territory during the attack and were subsequently arrested by Afghan authorities are being flown back to Pakistan today. Afghan intelligence reportedly arrested several would-be attackers from Mohmand who had allegedly plotted to strike Kabul’s Continental Hotel (Pajhwok). Clashes between security forces and the Taliban are ongoing in Bajaur, as 36 suspected militants were killed across the agency yesterday (ET).
Pakistani authorities may "soon" release the Colorado man arrested in northwest Pakistan on a solo mission to kill Osama bin Laden on account of his failing kidneys (AFP, AP, ABC, Tel). Gary Faulkner, who seems to have been motivated by a desire to avenge the attacks of September 11, 2001, is said to be in "good spirits" and has not been charged with any crimes in Pakistan yet.
Follow the money
Afghanistan is making moves to dole out contracts for its recently publicized mineral resources, which could be valued as high as three trillion dollars, as Mining Minister Wahidullah Shahrani heads to London next week to provide 200 foreign businessmen with information about Bamiyan province’s two billion tons of iron ore (AP, NYT). The AP observes, however, that "without increased security and massive investment to mine and transport the minerals, it could take years for Afghanistan to bank the rewards. A rail line, for instance, is needed before any iron ore could be transported from Bamiyan" (AP).
The U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan has formed ‘Task Force 2010’ to investigate corruption in the contracting business, in which "oversight has been lax to nonexistent" in spite of $14 billion of contracts issued last year alone (WSJ). The new task force plans to look beyond security contracting and into everything from fuel delivery to the construction of health clinics in rural areas; sub- and sub-sub-contracting will also be examined.
The death earlier this week of Arghandab district leader Haji Abdul Jabbar, and other recent targeted assassinations in southern Afghanistan suggest the rate of this type of killings is creeping higher (FT). James Traub looks at the use of counterinsurgency in Arghandab, which was "something of a show district" but where the Taliban "continued to afflict the district like a low-grade virus" (NYT Mag). Dand is another Kandahari district where "the plan" is "supposedly" working, and in the past six weeks NATO has brought in at least eight journalists, four generals, and the province’s governor to see the area (Times). And Reuters pinpoints possible "mixed messages" coming out of the Pentagon about the significance of the coalition’s Kandahar operations, which a Pentagon spokesman denied (Reuters).
Pakistan’s makeup man
The Express Tribune profiles Pakistan Television’s (PTV) makeup artist, Shakir Ahmad Khan, who has been with the station’s Karachi studios since the 1980s (ET). Khan describes the research that goes into how a program’s "look" is determined, saying that "We sit with the producer, read the script and discuss at length how the character will look like… We then have to go look out for an actual person who has been playing that role in real life."
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