Daily brief: Karachi killing sparks new violence
Internship opportunity: The New America Foundation’s Counterterrorism Strategy Initiative is looking for qualified and motivated interns for the fall semester. More information can be found here. Karachi burning Unidentified gunmen shot dead a senior Awami National Party (ANP) official in Karachi yesterday, unleashing a fresh wave of violence that has so far killed 13 (ET, ...
Internship opportunity: The New America Foundation's Counterterrorism Strategy Initiative is looking for qualified and motivated interns for the fall semester. More information can be found here.
Internship opportunity: The New America Foundation’s Counterterrorism Strategy Initiative is looking for qualified and motivated interns for the fall semester. More information can be found here.
Unidentified gunmen shot dead a senior Awami National Party (ANP) official in Karachi yesterday, unleashing a fresh wave of violence that has so far killed 13 (ET, AP, Dawn). Leaders of the rival Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) condemned the killing, and the ANP declared three days of mourning, after which leaders said the party would call for a strike and consider leaving the provincial government if the official’s killers are not caught.
"A slow-motion tsunami"
Calling Pakistan’s flooding a "slow-motion tsunami" and a "global disaster," U.N. secretary-general Ban Ki-Moon yesterday opened a special session of the U.N. General Assembly to solicit aid for the country (Guardian, Tel, AJE, BBC, VOA, NYT). The United States and European Union increased their aid to $150 million and $180 million a piece on Thursday, as the U.N. announced late in the day that it had met its initial fundraising goal of $459 million (AP, Wash Post). Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also announced the creation of a separate Pakistan Relief Fund for donations, and Pakistan agreed to accept $5 million in aid from neighbor and archrival India (Dawn, ET, WSJ, AP, Dawn). Pakistan will also create an independent flood commission to oversee aid distribution (Tel).
Responding to concern about militant groups distributing aid and gaining support during the ongoing flood crisis, Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik yesterday said that police would crack down on banned groups operating in flood-stricken areas (Dawn, ET, LAT). However, such groups often avoid arrest by simply changing their names and continuing their operations as normal (Reuters). The flooding has also caused concern that Pakistani efforts to rid regions like the Swat Valley of militancy may have been washed away (NYT).
The Pakistani Air Force denied allegations yesterday that a U.S. presence at an airbase in Sindh was interfering with relief operations (ET). And in the wake of the flooding many people, including women’s rights advocates and past winners, have called for the Miss Pakistan pageant to be postponed (Guardian). The pageant is scheduled to take place tonight in Toronto, and feature women of Pakistani descent from around the world.
New beginnings, old problems
Carlotta Gall has the first interview with Afghanistan’s new head of intelligence, Nahmatullah Nabil, who described his views on the Afghan government’s involvement in local communities and the prospects for reconciling Taliban fighters (NYT). He was formerly the head of President Hamid Karzai’s personal guard. Meanwhile, the Washington Post reports on the wide corruption investigation around the administrative director for Afghanistan’s National Security Council that was broken up when, allegedly, Karzai himself ordered the official’s release (Wash Post).
The German army has dropped its investigation into the Colonel who ordered a deadly airstrike in Kunduz against two gas tankers last year, ruling that his actions did not violate military or humanitarian rules (AJE, DW). The strike killed dozens of civilians, and led Germany’s then defense minister and armed forces chief of staff to resign. And while levels of violence are holding steady so far during the holy month of Ramadan, U.S. military officers notice that the fighting now takes place mostly in the morning, when fasting Taliban fighters still have energy (AP).
U.S. forces apprehended a gun runner and deputy commander of the Haqqani network in eastern Afghanistan this morning, in an operation that also killed a civilian (AP, AFP). And in addition to energy and business deals, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov used this week’s summit meeting with the leaders of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Tajikistan to announce that Russia is negotiating to sell 20 helicopters to Afghan security forces, to be paid for by NATO if the deal goes through (WSJ).
But of all these friends and allies
While 47 countries have in some way been involved in the international war effort in Afghanistan, perhaps the most surprising is the contribution of several dozen Mongolian soldiers, whose army only numbers 7,000 (NYT). Not only do the Mongolians bring knowledge of former Soviet weaponry, but as U.S. Lt. Mark Lawson writes, "their presence provides an excellent excuse for the DFAC (dining facility, that is) to have Mongolian BBQ night."
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