The South Asia Channel
Daily brief: explosion kills top Pakistani police official
Fallen A suicide bomber on foot killed the chief of Pakistan’s Frontier Constabulary, Sifwat Ghayur, as his car waited in traffic in Peshawar (AJE, NYT, Wash Post, Daily Times, Geo, ET). The Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) took credit for the blast, which also killed two of Ghayur’s bodyguards and a bystander. Ghayur was known as a ...
A suicide bomber on foot killed the chief of Pakistan’s Frontier Constabulary, Sifwat Ghayur, as his car waited in traffic in Peshawar (AJE, NYT, Wash Post, Daily Times, Geo, ET). The Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) took credit for the blast, which also killed two of Ghayur’s bodyguards and a bystander. Ghayur was known as a brave and honest officer, and the Frontier Constabulary, a 25,000-strong paramilitary organization drawn mostly from natives of Khyber-Pukhtunkhwa, often sees battle against militant forces (ABC, LAT). The Associated Press looks at the Pakistani army school in the Swat Valley where young men recruited by the Taliban, some as young as 12, receive an religious and secular education, vocational training, and psychological assistance to overcome their sometimes violent pasts (AP).
At least 1.1 million acres of farmland in Pakistan’s Punjab region have been destroyed by raging flood waters, as the World Food Program warned that up to 2 million people may need immediate food aid to avoid starvation (Tel, VOA, Reuters, WSJ,
NYT, Reuters, AP). In a televised speech yesterday from the State Department, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that the $10 million in U.S. flood aid to Pakistan was "just the start" of assistance to the beleaguered country (VOA, AP, BBC, CSM). Donations can be made to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees by texting "swat" to 50555, and CNN has a list of charities currently working to help flood victims (CNN).
The death toll in Karachi climbed to at least 86 since Monday, and six people were injured after unidentified assailants threw a grenade into a mosque during evening prayers Wednesday (ET, Daily Times, AFP, Reuters). While authorities have arrested large numbers of militants for their role in the killing that sparked the bloodshed or subsequent rioting, some analysts fear that local authorities do not genuinely intend to crack down on extremist groups (CSM).
Protecting the population?
At least seven Afghan police officers were killed when a suicide bomber struck their joint-Afghan Police and NATO convoy in the once-relatively peaceful northern province of Kunduz (AJE, AP, BBC, Reuters, Dawn). And ISAF commander Gen. David Petraeus issued his first tactical directive yesterday, restricting the use of airstrikes and artillery while emphasizing the need to protect the Afghan population (VOA, McClatchy, LAT, Wash Post, AP, Daily Times). While much of the partially-classified document hews to a directive released by former ISAF commander Gen. Stanley McChrystal last year, Petraeus’ directive orders U.S. troops to have Afghan security forces with them at all times to avoid civilian casualties, and said that no changes can be made to the rules of engagement for international forces without his approval.
As part of a growing spat between Afghan President Hamid Karzai and the U.S. government, Karzai ordered a probe into the investigations of two U.S.-mentored anti-corruption bodies, the Sensitive Investigative Unit (SIU) and the Major Crimes Task Force (MCTF) (WSJ, Wash Post, AP). Both groups use sophisticated technology such as wiretapping to investigate corrupt officials, and have angered Karzai by investigating and arresting several of his top aides and allies, including the head administrator for the Afghan National Security Council, Mohammed Zia Saleh, arrested by the MCTF last week.
Bibi Aisha, the 18-year old woman whose nose and ears were cut off under Taliban orders and whose picture on the cover of TIME magazine has elicited controversy over the last week, is on her way to the U.S. for facial reconstruction surgery (NYT, CNN, AP). While her image has alternately been used as a symbol of what may happen to women when the U.S. withdraws from Afghanistan and as an example of the media’s use of graphic images, Aisha told a reporter, "I don’t know if it [the picture] will help other women or not…I just want to get my nose back."
Fresh riots broke out in Indian-administered Kashmir after paramilitary forces killed two protesters, bringing to 48 the number of Kashmiris killed in recent protests (AP, Guardian, Dawn). Violent protests against Indian rule have rocked the disputed province all summer, and thousands turned out yesterday to break a police-ordered curfew in the region’s summer capital of Srinagar, despite orders to "shoot on site" any violators (NYT). And new flooding has struck villages in Pakistani-administered Kashmir (Dawn).
Matthew Hastings, the Rolling Stone reporter who broke the story that led to the sacking of Gen. McChrystal, has been denied an embed with the U.S. military in Afghanistan (Guardian, CNN). A military spokesman said Hastings could not be trusted to abide by the ground rules for reporters in a war zone, and that, "[e]mbeds are a privilege, not a right."