Daily brief: Taliban behead Afghan police

Organized chaos A wave of violence swept through Karachi yesterday, and at least 11 people have been killed by targeted gunfire in different parts of the city (Geo, Dawn, Dawn, ET). Police believe the killings, which touched off a series of riots, were linked to fighting between two political parties, the Punjabi-Pashtun Ittehad (PPI) and ...

SHAH MARAI/AFP/Getty Images
SHAH MARAI/AFP/Getty Images
SHAH MARAI/AFP/Getty Images

Organized chaos
A wave of violence swept through Karachi yesterday, and at least 11 people have been killed by targeted gunfire in different parts of the city (Geo, Dawn, Dawn, ET). Police believe the killings, which touched off a series of riots, were linked to fighting between two political parties, the Punjabi-Pashtun Ittehad (PPI) and the Awami National Party (ET).

The Lahore High Court yesterday took responsibility for the investigation of the shooting deaths of two Christian brothers in the city of Faisalabad Monday, ordering the regional chief of police to appear before the court today with an update on the case (ET, Daily Times, Dawn). The killings occurred while the men were in police custody for allegedly writing a "blasphemous pamphlet" and sparked riots in Christian neighborhoods Faisalabad.

Elsewhere, Pakistani authorities claim to have killed 25 militants in clashes in Orakzai agency (Dawn). According to these authorities, Pakistani security forces have killed 1,500 militants in the last three months; many remaining fighters are fleeing to nearby Kurram.

Organized chaos
A wave of violence swept through Karachi yesterday, and at least 11 people have been killed by targeted gunfire in different parts of the city (Geo, Dawn, Dawn, ET). Police believe the killings, which touched off a series of riots, were linked to fighting between two political parties, the Punjabi-Pashtun Ittehad (PPI) and the Awami National Party (ET).

The Lahore High Court yesterday took responsibility for the investigation of the shooting deaths of two Christian brothers in the city of Faisalabad Monday, ordering the regional chief of police to appear before the court today with an update on the case (ET, Daily Times, Dawn). The killings occurred while the men were in police custody for allegedly writing a "blasphemous pamphlet" and sparked riots in Christian neighborhoods Faisalabad.

Elsewhere, Pakistani authorities claim to have killed 25 militants in clashes in Orakzai agency (Dawn). According to these authorities, Pakistani security forces have killed 1,500 militants in the last three months; many remaining fighters are fleeing to nearby Kurram.

Departure and expansion

The head of Pakistan’s National Counterterrorism Authority, Tariq Pervez, resigned from his post yesterday, citing "personal reasons" (AP, The News). The post was created in 2009 to increase coordination between Pakistan’s security and intelligence services on terrorism issues; Pervez was reportedly frustrated with bureaucratic fighting, and the AP reports that his resignation came after his organization was placed under the authority of the Interior Ministry, rather than the Prime Minister’s office as he had wanted.

The Wall Street Journal yesterday described the expansion of U.S. Special Operations forces and activities in Pakistan’s volatile border regions, where U.S. troops now accompany Pakistani units on aid missions and are reportedly growing closer to the Pakistani Frontier Corps (WSJ). And during her trip to Pakistan this week, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton indicated that she still believes someone in the Pakistani government knows where Osama bin Laden is (ToI).

Water, water, everywhere

Yesterday on the Pakistani side of the Line of Control, riots broke out as Kashmiri nationalists demonstrated for the right to cross into Indian Kashmir (AFP). Currently those on the Pakistani side can only cross over if they have relatives in India. Indian police also killed a top Harkat-ul-Mujahideen commander in a gunbattle near Srinagar yesterday (NDTV, Hindustan Times).

The Los Angeles Times profiles the strict system of curfews in Indian Kashmir, where by some estimates authorities have shuttered businesses and kept residents home for 1,560 days in 20 years, at a cost of $50 million lost production per day (LAT). And Sabrina Tavernise and Lydia Polgreen cover the ongoing fight over India’s attempts to build a hydroelectric dam that could potentially threaten the water supply to Pakistan’s agricultural heartland (NYT).

A continued threat

Fearful of police efforts to track the sale of explosive materials, failed Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad reportedly used weaker materials to avoid detection, according to New York Police Department Commissioner Raymond Kelly (WSJ). The F.B.I. secretly exploded a working replica of Shahzad’s bomb in Pennsylvania, and found that the ensuing explosion could have been "extremely deadly" according to Kelly (AP).

After India’s accusation that Pakistani intelligence officers were involved in planning and executing the 2008 Mumbai attack, Pakistan is reportedly investigating two former army officers and four militants (WSJ). Despite Pakistani objections to the charge, India is standing by the evidence it says it gained from interrogations of David Coleman Headley, who is in U.S. custody for his role in planning and facilitating the attacks (Bloomberg).

2014: a withdrawal odyssey

As the international summit in Kabul drew to a close yesterday, delegates from more than 60 countries expressed their support for a plan to turn Afghanistan’s security over to Afghan forces by 2014 (WSJ, FT, Wash Post). Plans for beginning to transfer security control to Afghan forces at the end of this year have reportedly been quietly dropped (Guardian). Confidence in the course of the war is beginning to slide noticeably in Congress, and key allies like Britain are planning to begin withdrawing forces possibly starting next year (LAT, BBC, Guardian). Meanwhile, the Washington Post today has a must-read on the increasingly close relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan (Wash Post).

And representatives of women’s advocacy groups met in Washington to discuss women’s health in Afghanistan (McClatchy).

Bloody day in Afghan north

An Afghan army sergeant shot and killed two U.S. civilian trainers on a shooting range near Mazar-e-Sharif yesterday after an argument, before being killed along with an Afghan soldier in the ensuing gunfire (AP, Wash Post, NYT, Tel, Independent). And six Afghan police were beheaded in the northern Baghlan province after Taliban fighters overran their police checkpoint during an attack (AP, AFP, AJE, Reuters).

The painting was a gift

Bin Laden hunter Gary Faulkner has reportedly accepted the gift of a painting depicting his "mission" to kill the al-Qaeda leader (AP). The painting was originally made in 2008 after Muncie, Indiana resident Jerry Cool had a dream about a "man with gray hair and a dark beard" killing bin Laden.

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