The South Asia Channel

Daily brief: German army plans fall Afghan offensive

Uneasy allies The German army plans to stage an offensive in October alongside Afghan forces to clear Taliban from villages in northern Afghanistan (WSJ). Germany has come under criticism for being too passive in fighting the Taliban in their zone of responsibility, and army leaders want in part to dispel the notion that Germans are ...

Miguel Villagran/Getty Images
Miguel Villagran/Getty Images

Uneasy allies

The German army plans to stage an offensive in October alongside Afghan forces to clear Taliban from villages in northern Afghanistan (WSJ). Germany has come under criticism for being too passive in fighting the Taliban in their zone of responsibility, and army leaders want in part to dispel the notion that Germans are unwilling to fight the Taliban. The New York Times today has a must-read on the difficulty of engaging in counterinsurgency around the city of Kunduz while U.S. forces try to learn to trust their erstwhile Afghan partners (NYT). 

After last week’s U.N. decision to remove individuals and organizations linked to the Taliban and al Qaeda from an international blacklist, Afghanistan’s National Security Council has reportedly asked the U.N. to remove more names of Taliban leaders (AFP).

Two suicide bombers targeted a guest house in Kabul run by the Hart private security firm yesterday, killing two drivers but failing to breach the guest house’s protection before detonating their explosives (NYT, VOA, Wash Post, AFP). And three Afghan civilians were killed when their car struck a roadside bomb in Ghazni province (CNN, AP).

Unexpected enemies

In a leaked email exchange released yesterday, five prominent human rights groups including Amnesty International and the International Crisis Group wrote a letter to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange urging the latter to redact the names of Afghans who worked with international forces from thousands of documents released online (Guardian, BBC, Independent, Tel). The exchange prompted angry retorts from Assange, who demanded that Amnesty provide staff to help search through the documents, and the WikiLeaks Twitter account ran a message saying that Amnesty International, "is primary [sic] funded by the occupying forces of Afghanistan" (CNN).

Amnesty also called yesterday for the Taliban to be tried for war crimes, a move that would have consequences for reconciliation efforts (AP).

The deluge

Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff Gen. Ashfaq Kiyani visited inundated parts of Balochistan, Sindh and Punjab province on Tuesday, as forecasters predicted yet more rain, and relief efforts continue to test the capacity of Pakistan’s government (Dawn, CNN, NYT, Dawn). The flooding has done extensive damage not only to Pakistan’s infrastructure and electricity generation but also to agriculture, and the government announced it will waive farm loans and help rebuild houses destroyed in the deluge as food prices keep rising (Bloomberg, AJE). The flooding has also sparked a debate over a 40-year old proposal to build a giant dam on the Indus river (WSJ).

The United States yesterday increased its aid to Pakistan to $55 million, and clearing weather in the Swat Valley has allowed the resumption of U.S. helicopter rescue and relief missions (AP, Dawn, NPR). Pakistani Taliban spokesman Azam Tariq told Pakistanis to refuse the aid, saying instead that the Taliban will provide for them (AP, AFP, Reuters, Daily Times). And despite the increase in U.S. aid the U.N. and Oxfam report that only $45 million has been given to Pakistan by the international community with another $91 million pledged, numbers far below donations for previous crises in Pakistan and elsewhere (Wash Post, BBC, ET). India has reportedly given no aid to Pakistan, with its high commission in London indicating that the country has not made a decision about providing flood assistance (Guardian).

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari has an op-ed in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal responding to criticism of his absence during Pakistan’s crisis, writing, "I chose to use my travels to mobilize foreign assistance-money, supplies, food, tents, medical care, engineers, clean water and medicine-for our people. Some have criticized my decision…but I felt that I had to choose substance over symbolism" (WSJ). And two more killings in Karachi have brought the death toll there since last Monday to at least 104 (Daily Times).

Flashpoint

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh went on T.V. to call for an end to the "cycle of violence" in Kashmir, as anger grows among Kashmiri separatists against India’s protest-breaking tactics (BBC, Reuters). Separately, U.S. defense officials, including Undersecretary for Defense Michèle Flournoy told Indian reporters that the United States was monitoring how Pakistan used arms given by the United States for combating terrorism (AFP). Flournoy also said that the United States was only providing unarmed drone aircraft to Pakistan (ToI).

The honey trap

Pakistan’s Daily Times reports that Pakistani police are baiting men with women, before catching the men "red-handed" with the women and demanding bribes (Daily Times).

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Andrew Lebovich is a visiting fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations and a doctoral candidate in African history at Columbia University. He is currently based in Senegal and has conducted field research in Niger and Mali.
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