Daily brief: Pakistani Taliban threaten foreign aid workers
Leaving home Three more Sindhi towns are at risk for flooding after a levee broke earlier today, and the Pakistani government ordered half a million to leave the area, though most of the area’s 400,000 residents have already evacuated; some 3.2 million hectares of crops have been destroyed in the last month (AP, Reuters, AFP, ...
Three more Sindhi towns are at risk for flooding after a levee broke earlier today, and the Pakistani government ordered half a million to leave the area, though most of the area’s 400,000 residents have already evacuated; some 3.2 million hectares of crops have been destroyed in the last month (AP, Reuters, AFP, Dawn, Geo, AFP, ET). USAID chief Rajiv Shah reportedly accidentally visited a relief camp in Sukkur, the third largest city in Sindh, that was run at least partially by a banned charity linked to Jamaat-ud-Dawa, the militant group linked to the deadly 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai (Post, Times, Nation). U.S. ambassador to Pakistan Anne Patterson encouraged U.S. businesses to invest in Pakistan’s reconstruction (Dawn/AFP).
The Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has reportedly threatened to attack foreign aid workers in Pakistan, according to a U.S. official, and the U.N. is reviewing its security procedures in reaction (BBC, Dawn/AFP). Hundreds of thousands of ethnic Sindhis are seeking refuge from the flooding in the provincial capital of Karachi, which could exacerbate ethnic tensions there (WSJ, Dawn). Targeted killings continue in Karachi with two young men killed yesterday by unknown gunmen (ET).
Eight Afghan policemen were killed when a group of at least ten Taliban insurgents, who may have been from Chechnya, attacked a checkpost outside the northern city of Kunduz earlier today (AP, Nation, AFP, BBC). Ten campaign workers for a female candidate for parliament were reportedly kidnapped in the western Afghan province of Herat (AP).
The NYT reports that the political aide to Afghan President Hamid Karzai who was recently arrested on corruption allegations and shortly released after intervention by Karzai, Muhammad Zia Salehi, is on the CIA’s payroll (NYT). The relationship highlights the Obama administration debate over whether to make combating corruption a central tenet of its Afghanistan policy; one U.S. official commented that the practice of paying even corrupt Afghan officials is sensible, because "If you want intelligence in a war zone, you’re not going to get it from Mother Teresa or Mary Poppins."
The Seattle Times looks at murder charges against five U.S. soldiers from a Stryker brigade based in Tacoma, Washington that allege the men threw grenades at and shot three Afghan civilians (ST). McClatchy reviews the situation in Kandahar’s Arghandab Valley, where the new district governor, though not initially preferred by the U.S., has become a "reliable U.S. ally" (McClatchy). And two private security firms have reportedly turned in 122 weapons to the Ministry of the Interior after Karzai’s decision to ban such companies (Pajhwok). The serviceable weapons will be distributed to the defense and interior ministries.
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said earlier today in a rare direct questioning of government tactics that Indian forces in Kashmir need to find "non-lethal, yet effective and more focused" measures for dealing with violence in the region (AP, PTI). 64 protesters have been killed in the last two months in Kashmir.
Some women in Sindh have taken to selling bananas and watermelons plucked from the flooding Indus River by their enterprising children and grandchildren (Dawn). Others are selling chicks and eggs door-to-door in Sindhi cities at below market prices.
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