Daily brief: double drone raid slams NW Pakistan
Eyes in the skies At least two suspected U.S. drone strikes hit targets in South Waziristan yesterday, killing a handful of alleged militants and marking the 70th and 71st such reported strikes this year (AFP, Reuters, CNN, AJE). The strikes reportedly targeted fighters of Mullah Nazir, a local Taliban commander (BBC). Pakistani security forces are ...
Eyes in the skies
Eyes in the skies
At least two suspected U.S. drone strikes hit targets in South Waziristan yesterday, killing a handful of alleged militants and marking the 70th and 71st such reported strikes this year (AFP, Reuters, CNN, AJE). The strikes reportedly targeted fighters of Mullah Nazir, a local Taliban commander (BBC).
Pakistani security forces are carrying out operations against local militants engaged in kidnappings for ransom and attacks on peace committee members in the semi-tribal area of Frontier Region Peshawar, and 30 have reportedly been killed since Saturday (Dawn, ET).
Flood watch: The water level in the Manchar Lake in Pakistan’s Sindh province is on the rise, flooding at least 12 more villages in the south; the 215 villages inundated from the lake are reported to remain under seven to ten feet of water (ET, Dawn, Geo). Analysts are concerned that the flooding, which has displaced ten million Pakistanis, could contribute to political instability, and Amb. Richard Holbrooke, the Obama administration representative to the region, noted that the Pakistani Army has been working on flood relief and so is constrained in its fight against militants (Reuters, Reuters).
Yesterday in New York, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi called for the U.S. to "invest its political capital in trying to help seek an accommodation on Kashmir" and put pressure on India (AFP). The U.N. secretary general Ban Ki-Moon called for an "immediate end to violence" in the region, which has seen more than three months of unrest and more than 100 Kashmiris killed in clashes with Indian security forces (Dawn).
There is some debate among delegates over whether the visits by some members of the Indian government delegation to the homes of Kashmiri separatist leaders earlier this week was on behalf of the official delegation or done individually (Hindu). Leading separatists had earlier refused to meet with the delegation. The NYT provides some context to the delegation’s trip and reports on conditions under curfew in Srinagar (NYT).
Bob Woodward’s new book, Obama’s Wars, is due out Monday, and explores the Obama administration’s approach to the war in Afghanistan in detail (Post, NYT). Among the disclosures in the book is the existence of a 3,000 person CIA "covert army" of Afghans who capture and kill Taliban fighters; bitter disagreements between various administration officials about the strategy, including some personal insults; and the existence of U.S. intelligence allegedly reporting Afghan President Hamid Karzai has been diagnosed with manic depression.
Afghanistan’s Electoral Complaints Commission is dealing with nearly 4,000 complaints about fraud before, during, and after the country’s parliamentary elections last weekend, and the Independent Election Commission has reports of turnout exceeding 100 percent in many southeastern areas (AFP, McClatchy). In one area of Paktika, a turnout of 626 percent was recorded.
A U.N. report found that violence in Afghanistan in the three month period ending September 14 is up 69 percent over the same time last year (NYT). Amb. Holbrooke asserted that some civilian elements of the strategy in Afghanistan are not "moving as fast as [they] should," but that the Obama administration will continue with its plan to begin troop withdrawals in July 2011 (Reuters).
Three more stories round out the day: an Afghan journalist who has worked with the AP and Al Jazeera has been arrested by a coalition force in the eastern Afghan province of Ghazni on suspicion that he is too close to the Taliban (AP); another Al Jazeera reporter has been detained by international forces in Kandahar City (Pajhwok, AJE); and the U.S. military will probably retain control of a part of the prison at Bagram Air Field even after it turns over control to the Afghan government (WSJ).
A Baluchistan government resolution designed to curb the smuggling of cattle and other livestock across the borders to Afghanistan and Iran has so far failed to stop the illicit trade (ET). More than a million animals are said to be smuggled out of Baluchistan and Khyber-Pukhtunkhwa every year.
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