Daily brief: Taliban commander killed while making bomb
Surrendered, killed, arrested A close aide of Swat Taliban chief Maulana Fazlullah has reportedly surrendered to Pakistani security forces in the northwestern valley (Daily Times). Qari Sohail was in charge of the group’s FM radio station during its rule. In nearby Bajaur, a local Taliban commander and his assistant were killed when a bomb they ...
Surrendered, killed, arrested
Surrendered, killed, arrested
A close aide of Swat Taliban chief Maulana Fazlullah has reportedly surrendered to Pakistani security forces in the northwestern valley (Daily Times). Qari Sohail was in charge of the group’s FM radio station during its rule. In nearby Bajaur, a local Taliban commander and his assistant were killed when a bomb they were constructing at home exploded (AP, BBC). And in Peshawar, the capital of Khyber-Pukhtunkhwa, some 1,000 people have been arrested including 100 militants in recent search operations, according to the province’s information minister (Dawn).
In the last 36 hours, 21 people have died due to targeted killings in the port city of Karachi, sparking riots in areas of the Pakistani financial capital (Geo, ET, Dawn). Many of those killed are political activists affiliated with the Awami National Party and the Punjabi-Pukhtun Ittehad (Dawn). And across Baluchistan, five people have died from gunfire and landmines in the last day (ET).
He said, he said
The U.S. Department of Justice has reportedly conveyed to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh its displeasure with recent statements by Indian officials about the interrogation of David Coleman Headley, the Chicago man involved with the deadly 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks (Daily Times, NDTV). Indian officials have claimed Headley said the Pakistani intelligence service was involved with the attacks "from beginning to end," which the Indian minister for external affairs S. M. Krishna said was "very much in order" factually, though admitted that the timing of the remarks — on the eve of India-Pakistan dialogue talks — was "very unfortunate" (Hindu, ToI).
Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, said on a visit to India that he is concerned that militants could attempt a "repeat attack" of a Mumbai-style operation in order to goad India into armed retaliation against Pakistan (AFP). Amb. Richard Holbrooke, also in India, observed that Lashkar-e-Taiba, the militant group responsible for the Mumbai attacks, and other extremist groups "seem to be growing closer together" (AFP).
Indian authorities have lifted the curfews on the Kashmiri towns of Baramulla and Sopore, though restrictions still remain in effect for much of the valley (ToI). Must-read: life in Srinagar (FP).
In with the new
The Journal writes that Gen. David Petraeus, top commander in Afghanistan, is planning to retool the strategy there to focus more on how security forces are being trained and "how to make the Afghan people feel safe," and some senior military officials have assessed that the setbacks in the war this year were the result of flawed implementation rather than the strategy itself (WSJ). Some officials supportive of Gen. Petraeus’s appointment as the top Afghanistan commander reportedly believe his predecessor, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, focused too much on "killing insurgents" and not enough on counterinsurgency.
Putting a date on a possible start of Britain’s withdrawal from Afghanistan for the first time, British Prime Minister David Cameron said yesterday that U.K. troops could begin pulling out as early as 2011, and are "not going to be there" by 2015 (WSJ, BBC). The Times of London reviews the problems with governance in Helmand, and David Sanger assesses ebbing support for the war among the Obama administration’s allies (Times, NYT).
The Taliban have chimed in to criticize the "vague and terrible agenda" of this week’s international conference in Kabul, which passed without any major security incidents, though a suspected militant was arrested in the Afghan capital last night on accusations of planning to attack the meeting (AP, LAT, AP). Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, Hamid Karzai’s onetime presidential rival, commented that the Afghan government "does not have the ability to fulfill its commitments" (Tolo).
From Sufi rock to Baluchi rap
Pakistani Peace Builders, an organization founded in the aftermath of Faisal Shahzad’s failed attempt to bomb Times Square, hosted a Sufi music festival in New York City’s Union Square on Tuesday featuring music from Pakistan’s four provinces (NYT). The concert’s star power was Abida Parveen, an alto from Sindh who is known "from Morocco to India" as the Queen of Sufi Music (WSJ).
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