Daily brief: 2nd sailor’s body found in Afghanistan
More backlash The backlash against Wikileaks continues as its founder Julian Assange defended his decision to publish documents containing identification of Afghans who had provided information to NATO forces, reportedly insisting that "any risk to informants’ lives was outweighed by the overall importance of publishing the information" (Times, NYT). Afghan President Hamid Karzai called the ...
The backlash against Wikileaks continues as its founder Julian Assange defended his decision to publish documents containing identification of Afghans who had provided information to NATO forces, reportedly insisting that "any risk to informants’ lives was outweighed by the overall importance of publishing the information" (Times, NYT). Afghan President Hamid Karzai called the disclosures "shocking" and "irresponsible" (AP).
Tom Coghlan reports that one pro-government Afghan named in the documents, who had given an account of the Taliban in his area to U.S. forces in 2006, was killed by the militants in 2008 on suspicion of spying for the coalition (Times). The three news organizations that received advance notice of the Wikileaks documents — the New York Times, the Guardian, and Der Spiegel — chose to publish selected excerpts that had been redacted to remove names and other identifying information (NYT).
The LA Times considers the threat from portable heat-seeking surface-to-air missiles if used by the Taliban, writing, "Most experts believe that the antiaircraft threat currently posed by the insurgents is relatively limited, and that they don’t have significant stocks of surface-to-air missiles, at least for now" (LAT).
In and out
Beginning Sunday, the nearly 2,000 Dutch soldiers in Afghanistan’s Uruzgan province will be replaced by Australian, U.S., Slovak, and Singaporean forces, as the Netherlands’ mission, often cited as successful, comes to an end after four years (AFP, CP). NATO had asked the Dutch to extend the troops’ deployment until August 2011, which caused the collapse of the Dutch government in February. The Taliban have reportedly congratulated the Dutch government on the withdrawal (RNW, Volkskrant).
The Pacific Island nation of Tonga will, at the request of the British government, send 275 soldiers over the next two years to provide force protection for a British base in Helmand province, after judging Afghanistan "safer than Iraq" (Matangi Tonga, AFP, Tel, CNN). The British government will pay for the cost of deployment and the Tongans will serve as part of Britain’s armed forces.
More like guidelines, anyway
Gen. David Petraeus, top commander in Afghanistan, has reportedly issued new counterinsurgency guidelines to troops in the country that instructs forces to be "good guest[s]" and "confront the culture of impunity" while "identify[ing] and confront[ing] corrupt officials" (AFP). Special envoy to the region Amb. Richard Holbrooke said yesterday that corruption is often mentioned in Taliban propaganda as the insurgency’s "no. 1 recruiting tool," and the Afghan security forces are still troubled by corruption, pervasive drug use, and poor discipline (NYT, WSJ).
The body of Petty Officer 3rd Class Jarod Newlove, the 25 year old who was believed to have been kidnapped by the Taliban last week in the eastern Afghan province of Logar, has been found, after a Taliban spokesman said the insurgents left "the body of a dead American soldier" for U.S. forces to recover (AP). The spokesman did not offer an explanation for Newlove’s death.
The U.S. commander in eastern Afghanistan said yesterday that male insurgents have taken to dressing up in burqas to avoid detection, after the first reported suicide attack by a woman on June 22 in Kunar (AFP). There have been around 450 suicide attacks in Afghanistan since 2001. And Karin Brulliard profiles Haji Ghani, the "illiterate, hashish-growing former warlord who directs a semiofficial police force" west of Kandahar who is nonetheless a "good friend to have" for U.S. forces (Wash Post).
The export of terror
Yesterday at a speech in Bangalore, India, British Prime Minister David Cameron said, "We cannot tolerate in any sense the idea that this country [Pakistan] is allowed to look both ways and is able in any way to promote the export of terror," sparking immediate protests from Pakistani politicians and government officials (FT, Independent, Hindu, CNN, Guardian, Times, Guardian). Cameron defended his comments, saying it is important to "speak frankly," and acknowledged that Pakistan has "made progress in chasing down militants," though needs "to do more" (BBC). Karzai, in a clear reference to Pakistan, said in a press conference earlier today that "The international community is here to fight terrorism, but there is danger elsewhere and they are not acting" (AP).
At least 100 people have been killed in flooding across northwest Pakistan in the last several days, as monsoon rains continue to fall (ET, ET). The rains are hampering the recovery efforts from yesterday’s airplane crash in the Margalla Hills outside Islamabad that left 152 people dead, as Pakistan observes a day of mourning for the worst aviation accident on Pakistani territory (Dawn, ET, AFP, Reuters).
Indian authorities have asked two former Indian judges to investigate the deaths of 17 Kashmiris in clashes between Indian security forces and protesters over the last several weeks (AFP, CP, Hindu, BBC). The commission’s report is due in three months. Separatists are calling for three days of strikes and demonstrations across Indian Kashmir, and riot police are reportedly patrolling downtown Srinagar, the summer capital of the region (AFP).
USAID is funding the construction of a $738,000 fruit and vegetable market in the northwestern Afghan province of Badghis, which will have 78 shops and cold storage (Pajhwok). The market will bring together green grocers currently scattered across the capital, Qala-i-Naw.
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