Daily brief: German militants said killed in Pakistan drone strike

Germans dead in drone strike As many as eight German militants — alleged members of a militant group called Jihad Islami — were said to be killed yesterday in a suspected U.S. drone strike in Mir Ali, North Waziristan, as the German government played down warnings about a possible attack in a major European city ...

A. MAJEED/AFP/Getty Images
A. MAJEED/AFP/Getty Images
A. MAJEED/AFP/Getty Images

Germans dead in drone strike

As many as eight German militants -- alleged members of a militant group called Jihad Islami -- were said to be killed yesterday in a suspected U.S. drone strike in Mir Ali, North Waziristan, as the German government played down warnings about a possible attack in a major European city (Reuters, AFP, Geo, CNN, BBC, Guardian, ET, AP, NYT, FT, Times, WSJ, Spiegel, AP). It is unclear whether yesterday's drone strike was related to the Europe plot; the militants killed were said to be visiting a tribal leader linked to local Taliban commander Hafiz Gul Bahadur (NYT, BBC). A law enforcement official told ABC that major airports in Europe could be targets, and Fox reports that tourist attractions in Paris and Berlin are potential sites of attacks (ABC, Fox). The FT writes that Germany's interior minister said the sites in Berlin had all been identified as targets a year ago, and CNN reports that a group from Hamburg, Germany, members of which allegedly joined an Uzbek militant organization linked to al-Qaeda, is believed to be at the center of the current plotting (FT, CNN).

At least 200 tankers are lined up at the Torkham checkpoint in northwest Pakistan as the Pakistani government's closure of a NATO supply line continues into its sixth day (Geo, ET, Post, Reuters). A small bomb damaged a NATO oil tanker earlier today, the fifth attack on a supply convoy since Torkham was shut (AP, BBC, Daily Times). Pakistani and American officials are said to be "close to resolving their dispute," though Pakistan refuses to give a timeline for the reopening of the border checkpoint (Dawn, ET). The Pakistani government closed the supply route after a NATO helicopter raid in Pakistan near the Afghan border last week; the other main supply line through Pakistan has remained open.

Germans dead in drone strike

As many as eight German militants — alleged members of a militant group called Jihad Islami — were said to be killed yesterday in a suspected U.S. drone strike in Mir Ali, North Waziristan, as the German government played down warnings about a possible attack in a major European city (Reuters, AFP, Geo, CNN, BBC, Guardian, ET, AP, NYT, FT, Times, WSJ, Spiegel, AP). It is unclear whether yesterday’s drone strike was related to the Europe plot; the militants killed were said to be visiting a tribal leader linked to local Taliban commander Hafiz Gul Bahadur (NYT, BBC). A law enforcement official told ABC that major airports in Europe could be targets, and Fox reports that tourist attractions in Paris and Berlin are potential sites of attacks (ABC, Fox). The FT writes that Germany’s interior minister said the sites in Berlin had all been identified as targets a year ago, and CNN reports that a group from Hamburg, Germany, members of which allegedly joined an Uzbek militant organization linked to al-Qaeda, is believed to be at the center of the current plotting (FT, CNN).

At least 200 tankers are lined up at the Torkham checkpoint in northwest Pakistan as the Pakistani government’s closure of a NATO supply line continues into its sixth day (Geo, ET, Post, Reuters). A small bomb damaged a NATO oil tanker earlier today, the fifth attack on a supply convoy since Torkham was shut (AP, BBC, Daily Times). Pakistani and American officials are said to be "close to resolving their dispute," though Pakistan refuses to give a timeline for the reopening of the border checkpoint (Dawn, ET). The Pakistani government closed the supply route after a NATO helicopter raid in Pakistan near the Afghan border last week; the other main supply line through Pakistan has remained open.

To watch for today: failed Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad is being sentenced at a federal court in Manhattan, where he faces a mandatory life sentence after pleading guilty in June to weapons and terrorism charges (BBC, CNN, AFP, AP).

Flood watch: The government of Sindh has agreed in principle to a one-time tax on the wealthy in the province to aid with flood reconstruction, though is reportedly putting off imposition until more coalition partners — namely the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, the MQM — are on board (ET, Daily Times, ET, Dawn). Declan Walsh considers some of the silver linings to Pakistan’s floods: an increase in fishing prospects, improvements to the Indus’ ecosystem in certain areas, and the possibility of "bumper harvests" in some parts of Pakistan (Guardian).

The battle goes on

Four Afghan policemen were killed and 10 others wounded in three back-to-back explosions in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar last night, and the deputy mayor who was shot by unknown gunmen yesterday has died (Pajhwok). Laura King reports that some Kandaharis are skeptical of the coalition’s offensive in the province, and say that the Taliban retain "near-total freedom of movement…as long as they stash weapons in a widely scattered network of caches rather than carrying them around" (LAT). The Times of London adds to reporting in which U.S. forces express frustration with their Afghan allies, describing one rookie platoon of Afghan National Army soldiers as "worse than useless" (Times).

The NYT profiles Staff Sgt. Calvin Gibbs, the alleged ringleader in three separate incidents in which members of the U.S. military are said to have killed Afghan civilians for sport in Kandahar earlier this year (NYT). Military officials have widened their investigation to include Gibbs’ time in Iraq as well.

Afghan authorities have arrested the provincial head of the Independent Election Commission in Khost following accusations by candidates and observers alleging that he took bribes in exchange for "important election posts" (NYT). All but six of the 206 complaints filed in Khost have been categorized as serious enough to change the outcome of the election in the province.

Jonathan Landay has today’s must-read highlighting insecurity in the northern Afghan province of Baghlan, which hosts a mix of Taliban fighters, Hezb-i-Islami, and Central Asian militants who have clashed with each other and with security forces (McClatchy).

Put your paws together

At a ceremony marking World Animal Day yesterday in Karachi, the owner of a donkey cart spoke about what he has learned about the proper treatment of his donkey, including basic care and management of its equipment (The News). Horses, camels, and mules can also be seen working on the streets of Pakistan.

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