Daily brief: NATO claims deadly airstrikes in Afghanistan
The human toll NATO airstrikes yesterday reportedly killed over two dozen Afghan civilians in two separate incidents in the eastern province of Nangarhar, after a helicopter struck a car carrying a flood victim and his family, and an airstrike hit a compound from which NATO forces were reportedly taking fire (LAT, AFP, BBC, AP, AJE, ...
The human toll
The human toll
NATO airstrikes yesterday reportedly killed over two dozen Afghan civilians in two separate incidents in the eastern province of Nangarhar, after a helicopter struck a car carrying a flood victim and his family, and an airstrike hit a compound from which NATO forces were reportedly taking fire (LAT, AFP, BBC, AP, AJE, NYT, VOA). Afghan President Hamid Karzai has ordered an investigation into the deaths, which occurred less than a day after ISAF Commander Gen. David Petraeus issued rules restricting the use of airstrikes against structures (Reuters). And in Nangarhar’s capital Jalalabad, many music stores are shutting down after a stepped-up Taliban intimidation campaign (Guardian).
A suicide bomber struck a joint Afghan police-NATO convoy in Kunduz, reportedly killing at least 11 Afghans (NYT, AP). And Germany announced that it would pay 100 Afghan families $5,000 each as compensation for the deaths of civilians killed in a German-ordered airstrike on a fuel tanker in Kunduz (Canadian Press).
A failure to communicate
Saying that the release last week of tens of thousands of sensitive documents had endangered U.S. troops, U.S. allies, and Afghan civilians, Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell yesterday demanded that WikiLeaks delete the over 75,000 documents on the Afghan war they have already published and return the 15,000 documents they have temporarily withheld (AFP, Guardian, NYT). A team of 80 federal agents has reportedly been poring over the documents since their release, in a search for potentially threatening or compromising material, and taking unidentified steps to warn and protect Afghans whose names were mentioned in the collection.
Karen DeYoung today has a must-read on the possible consequences of a brewing fight between Karzai and the U.S. government over Karzai’s attempt to rein in two major anti-corruption bodies that have investigated and arrested close Karzai aides (Wash Post). And at a Tehran "summit" between Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinajad urged greater cooperation between the three countries, saying "[t]he issue of Afghanistan should be solved in the region. Others cannot solve it. They could not do it in Iraq" (AP, AFP).
The U.S. State Department released its 2009 "Country Reports on Terrorism," which found that despite setbacks and losses of leadership, al Qaeda’s core in Pakistan posed the greatest threat to the United States (AJE, AP, BBC). There were approximately 11,000 terrorist attacks worldwide which caused approximately 15,000 deaths in 83 countries, the lowest number of attacks in five years. The report found that for the first time more terrorist attacks in South Asia than the Middle East, but also warned about the growing strength of al Qaeda affiliates in North Africa, Yemen and Somalia, as well as the growing threat of Americans joining terrorist groups (VOA, CNN, AFP).
Pakistan’s flooding has killed 1,600 people and affected up to 4.5 million, as increased flooding in Punjab and a threat to dikes in the southern Sindh province led Pakistani authorities to evacuate 500,000 residents in both provinces (Dawn, VOA, CNN, Dawn, BBC, AJE, Guardian, Tel, ET). U.S. helicopters flew relief and rescue missions in northwest Pakistan as the U.S. government pledged an additional $25 million to help flood victims yesterday (Wash Post, Daily Times, NYT). However, this effort pales in comparison to that of Falah-i-Insaniat, the organization formerly known as Jamaat-ud-Dawa (banned for its links to Lashkar-e-Taiba), which has set up refugee and medical camps in Pakistan’s hardest-hit areas, and is reportedly distributing food and medical aid to 20,000 people every day (Tel, RFE/RL).
While some parts of Karachi drifted towards calm for the first time since Monday, killings in other parts of the city brought the death toll to at least 92 (ET, Dawn). The Pakistani government rebuffed calls to have the army take control of security in the city but allegedly gave the paramilitary Rangers a "shoot-on-sight" order, but did not identify the target (Daily Times, Dawn). And Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari had an informal dinner with British Prime Minister David Cameron, with formal talks on Pakistan’s flood and counterterrorism policy scheduled for today (Guardian, Bloomberg, Independent, Reuters, AFP).
United in suffering
Flash floods struck both sides of the Line of Control separating Pakistani and Indian Kashmir, as at least 88 were killed in floods in Indian-administered Kashmir, while in Pakistani-administered Kashmir a bus careened into a flood-swollen river, potentially killing up to 50 people (AP, BBC, Dawn, CNN). And Indian security forces are still having trouble establishing order in Indian-administered Kashmir as protests there continue to grow (VOA).
Pakistan’s Higher Education Commission (HEC) has found that a further 47 lawmakers across the country possess fake degrees, out of 293 degrees checked (Daily Times). The HEC still has 816 degrees to investigate.
More from Foreign Policy
A New Multilateralism
How the United States can rejuvenate the global institutions it created.
America Prepares for a Pacific War With China It Doesn’t Want
Embedded with U.S. forces in the Pacific, I saw the dilemmas of deterrence firsthand.
The Endless Frustration of Chinese Diplomacy
Beijing’s representatives are always scared they could be the next to vanish.
The End of America’s Middle East
The region’s four major countries have all forfeited Washington’s trust.