Daily brief: Petraeus orders probe into aid worker’s death

Investigating a tragedy More details about the death of British aid worker Linda Norgrove in a rescue attempt last weekend are emerging: U.S. and British officials said Norgrove was about to be taken across the border to Pakistan, after which it becomes more difficult to track movements; British officials made the final decision to attempt ...

SHAH MARAI/AFP/Getty Images
SHAH MARAI/AFP/Getty Images
SHAH MARAI/AFP/Getty Images

Investigating a tragedy

More details about the death of British aid worker Linda Norgrove in a rescue attempt last weekend are emerging: U.S. and British officials said Norgrove was about to be taken across the border to Pakistan, after which it becomes more difficult to track movements; British officials made the final decision to attempt a rescue, which was carried out by U.S. special forces; and military sources identified her captors as Kunar Taliban (Independent, Times, BBC, NYT, Guardian, Post, WSJ, AP, Pajhwok). A joint British-American investigation into her death, which was originally believed to be caused by an abductor detonating explosives nearby but may have been the result of a hand grenade thrown by the rescue mission, has been ordered.

An explosion on board a Chinook helicopter killed one and wounded seven shortly after landing in eastern Afghanistan earlier today (Reuters). The cause of the blast is unknown. Some U.S. military officials are reportedly advocating for cross-border strikes into Baluchistan from Kandahar, as part of an effort to "choke off the flow of Taliban fighters and bomb-making materials from Pakistan into key battlefields of the south" of Afghanistan (LAT).

Investigating a tragedy

More details about the death of British aid worker Linda Norgrove in a rescue attempt last weekend are emerging: U.S. and British officials said Norgrove was about to be taken across the border to Pakistan, after which it becomes more difficult to track movements; British officials made the final decision to attempt a rescue, which was carried out by U.S. special forces; and military sources identified her captors as Kunar Taliban (Independent, Times, BBC, NYT, Guardian, Post, WSJ, AP, Pajhwok). A joint British-American investigation into her death, which was originally believed to be caused by an abductor detonating explosives nearby but may have been the result of a hand grenade thrown by the rescue mission, has been ordered.

An explosion on board a Chinook helicopter killed one and wounded seven shortly after landing in eastern Afghanistan earlier today (Reuters). The cause of the blast is unknown. Some U.S. military officials are reportedly advocating for cross-border strikes into Baluchistan from Kandahar, as part of an effort to "choke off the flow of Taliban fighters and bomb-making materials from Pakistan into key battlefields of the south" of Afghanistan (LAT).

The FT reports on Afghanistan’s Hajigak iron ore deposits, in which Kabul is trying to encourage investment; the most likely bidders are China and India (FT). And Alissa Rubin tells the strange tale of Takuma Owuo-Hagood, an American who reportedly went to Afghanistan drawn "by revelations of its untapped mineral wealth" and may have sought out Taliban fighters in Zhari, a district of Kandahar (NYT). Owuo-Hagood claims he was kidnapped by the Taliban and held for months before escaping to U.S. forces; he has been returned to his home in Atlanta.

Part of the solution

Pakistan has reiterated that talks between the Afghan government and the insurgency cannot take place without Pakistan’s help (AP). Pakistan’s prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani told reporters, "Look, nothing can happen without us because we are part of the solution. We are not part of the problem."

Pakistani security forces have arrested seven suspects related to the murder of Dr. Mohammad Farooq Khan, a doctor and vice chancellor of a new, liberal university in Swat, who was assassinated in Mardan earlier this month (ET, Geo, NYT).

Flood watch: Some international aid agencies working on flood relief in Pakistan are concerned that USAID’s ‘branding’ requirement — which mandates that those receiving grants from USAID must display a red, white, and blue logo reading "USAid: from the American people" will jeopardize their neutrality and possibly risk inviting attacks (Tel).

Flashpoint

Thousands of Indian security forces enforced a strict curfew to prevent a planned separatist march to protest the house arrest of the hardline Kashmiri separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani in the summer capital of Indian-administered Kashmir, Srinagar (AFP, PTI). Geelani has reportedly been under house arrest for almost a month.

Bowl me over

Afghanistan’s finance minister announced that Afghanistan is planning to construct standard cricket grounds in each of the country’s 34 provinces over the next few years (Pajhwok). The existing cricket ground in Kabul will be expanded to hold 6,000 spectators.

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