The South Asia Channel

Daily brief: Lahore triple bombs kill 35, wound 250

A day of mourning Three bombs targeted a Shiite religious procession yesterday in Lahore just after iftar, the time of breaking the Ramadan fast, killing at least 35 and injuring around 250, and sparking violent protests as members of the march set fire to several police facilities and vehicles (Tel, ET, Hindustan Times, LAT, AJE, ...

STR/AFP/Getty Images
STR/AFP/Getty Images

A day of mourning

Three bombs targeted a Shiite religious procession yesterday in Lahore just after iftar, the time of breaking the Ramadan fast, killing at least 35 and injuring around 250, and sparking violent protests as members of the march set fire to several police facilities and vehicles (Tel, ET, Hindustan Times, LAT, AJE, AP, NDTV, CNN). Police used tear gas to disperse the crowds, who reportedly blamed the police for failing to prevent the attacks (NYT, WSJ, Dawn, AFP). A militant group called Lashkar-e-Jhangvi Al-Alami claimed responsibility for the attack, but a Pakistani intelligence official suspects the involvement of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, and Pakistani interior minister Rehman Malik also blamed the Taliban (Daily Times, The News, FT, AP).

Also yesterday, unidentified gunmen injured seven by firing on a Shiite procession in Karachi (NYT, Geo, ET, Dawn). Pakistani police reportedly arrested 20 people in connection with the shooting (Dawn). Pakistani military airstrikes yesterday reportedly killed around 15 suspected militants, including a local Taliban commander, in the tribal agencies of Kurram and Orakzai (Geo, Daily Times).

The U.S. has officially added the TTP to its terrorism blacklist, which makes it a crime to provide support to the group and freezes any financial assets in the U.S. (AP, Hindu, ET). The Justice Department has also charged Hakimullah Mehsud, the leader of the TTP, with two counts of conspiracy, and the State Department has declared Hakimullah and Wali ur-Rehman, another TTP chief, "specially designated global terrorists," offering $5 million for information leading to their locations and imposing additional sanctions (DoJ, CNN, Hindu, Post, AP, Dawn). The conspiracy charges against Hakimullah, which carry a maximum sentence of life in prison, are related to the December 30, 2009 suicide bombing at a CIA base in Khost, Afghanistan, which left seven U.S. citizens dead.

The World Bank has raised its funding for Pakistani flood reconstruction to $1 billion from $900 million, as hundreds of families blocked the highway between Thatta and Karachi, calling for the Pakistani government to provide food and shelter (Reuters, AJE, Hindustan Times, Daily Times). The AP reports on refugees from Afghanistan who made their homes in Pakistan, which have now been washed away by five weeks of floods (AP). Some 70,000 Afghan refugees in 13 camps have been affected, and millions of Pakistanis are still homeless (Reuters).

Surprise visit

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates is in Kabul on a surprise visit, where he reportedly plans to meet with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and top commander Gen. David Petraeus (<a href="http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20100902/wl_sthasia_afp/afghanistanunr

estusgates” track=”on” shape=”rect” linktype=”link”>AFP, AP). According to CNN’s count, 2010 has recently become the deadliest year for U.S. troops in Afghanistan, topping last year (CNN). Some families of members of the military who have been killed in Afghanistan have criticized the rules of engagement, claiming they prioritize the protection of Afghan civilians over U.S. troops (LAT). And NATO is investigating allegations that an airstrike in the comparatively peaceful northern Afghan province of Takhar has killed 10 election campaign workers (Reuters, AFP, ISAF).

In the aftermath of the resignation of two top Kabul Bank officials amid allegations of "unorthodox lending practices" and mismanagement, the chief of Afghanistan’s Central Bank, Abdul Qadir Fitrat sought to calm nervous Afghan account holders and asserted that the Kabul Bank is solvent, though did not guarantee depositors’ money (AP, NYT, Post, Times, Bloomberg). By Wednesday morning, Dexter Filkins reports, the lobby of the Kabul Bank was filled with people seeking to withdraw their money; many were told they could not, because the bank didn’t have any funds to give them (Post, NYT). The Kabul Bank handles salary payments to Afghan police, soldiers, and teachers.

The NYT has today’s must-read describing Afghan-led military operations in the southern Afghan town of Mehlajat, on the edge of Kandahar city, where the Taliban either hid or fled ahead of the operation (NYT).

Star power

UNCHR Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie has released a new video calling for more support for Pakistani flood victims (ToI, UNHCR). She has already donated $100,000 to flood relief efforts.

Sign up here to receive the daily brief in your inbox. Follow the AfPak Channel on Twitter and Facebook.

A day of mourning

Three bombs targeted a Shiite religious procession yesterday in Lahore just after iftar, the time of breaking the Ramadan fast, killing at least 35 and injuring around 250, and sparking violent protests as members of the march set fire to several police facilities and vehicles (Tel, ET, Hindustan Times, LAT, AJE, AP, NDTV, CNN). Police used tear gas to disperse the crowds, who reportedly blamed the police for failing to prevent the attacks (NYT, WSJ, Dawn, AFP). A militant group called Lashkar-e-Jhangvi Al-Alami claimed responsibility for the attack, but a Pakistani intelligence official suspects the involvement of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, and Pakistani interior minister Rehman Malik also blamed the Taliban (Daily Times, The News, FT, AP).

Also yesterday, unidentified gunmen injured seven by firing on a Shiite procession in Karachi (NYT, Geo, ET, Dawn). Pakistani police reportedly arrested 20 people in connection with the shooting (Dawn). Pakistani military airstrikes yesterday reportedly killed around 15 suspected militants, including a local Taliban commander, in the tribal agencies of Kurram and Orakzai (Geo, Daily Times).

The U.S. has officially added the TTP to its terrorism blacklist, which makes it a crime to provide support to the group and freezes any financial assets in the U.S. (AP, Hindu, ET). The Justice Department has also charged Hakimullah Mehsud, the leader of the TTP, with two counts of conspiracy, and the State Department has declared Hakimullah and Wali ur-Rehman, another TTP chief, "specially designated global terrorists," offering $5 million for information leading to their locations and imposing additional sanctions (DoJ, CNN, Hindu, Post, AP, Dawn). The conspiracy charges against Hakimullah, which carry a maximum sentence of life in prison, are related to the December 30, 2009 suicide bombing at a CIA base in Khost, Afghanistan, which left seven U.S. citizens dead.

The World Bank has raised its funding for Pakistani flood reconstruction to $1 billion from $900 million, as hundreds of families blocked the highway between Thatta and Karachi, calling for the Pakistani government to provide food and shelter (Reuters, AJE, Hindustan Times, Daily Times). The AP reports on refugees from Afghanistan who made their homes in Pakistan, which have now been washed away by five weeks of floods (AP). Some 70,000 Afghan refugees in 13 camps have been affected, and millions of Pakistanis are still homeless (Reuters).

Surprise visit

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates is in Kabul on a surprise visit, where he reportedly plans to meet with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and top commander Gen. David Petraeus (AFP, AP). According to CNN’s count, 2010 has recently become the deadliest year for U.S. troops in Afghanistan, topping last year (CNN). Some families of members of the military who have been killed in Afghanistan have criticized the rules of engagement, claiming they prioritize the protection of Afghan civilians over U.S. troops (LAT). And NATO is investigating allegations that an airstrike in the comparatively peaceful northern Afghan province of Takhar has killed 10 election campaign workers (Reuters, AFP, ISAF).

In the aftermath of the resignation of two top Kabul Bank officials amid allegations of "unorthodox lending practices" and mismanagement, the chief of Afghanistan’s Central Bank, Abdul Qadir Fitrat sought to calm nervous Afghan account holders and asserted that the Kabul Bank is solvent, though did not guarantee depositors’ money (AP, NYT, Post, Times, Bloomberg). By Wednesday morning, Dexter Filkins reports, the lobby of the Kabul Bank was filled with people seeking to withdraw their money; many were told they could not, because the bank didn’t have any funds to give them (Post, NYT). The Kabul Bank handles salary payments to Afghan police, soldiers, and teachers.

The NYT has today’s must-read describing Afghan-led military operations in the southern Afghan town of Mehlajat, on the edge of Kandahar city, where the Taliban either hid or fled ahead of the operation (NYT).

Star power

UNCHR Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie has released a new video calling for more support for Pakistani flood victims (ToI, UNHCR). She has already donated $100,000 to flood relief efforts.

Sign up here to receive the daily brief in your inbox. Follow the AfPak Channel on Twitter and Facebook.

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