Daily brief: U.S. facilitating Taliban talks: reports
Event notice: Today at 3:30pm EST in DC, join the New America Foundation’s Counterterrorism Strategy Initiative for the launch of a new report by the Campaign for Innocent Victims in Conflict (CIVIC), "Civilians in Armed Conflict: Civilian Harm and Conflict in Northwest Pakistan." Details and RSVP here. The drumbeat grows louder Chairman of the Joint ...
Event notice: Today at 3:30pm EST in DC, join the New America Foundation's Counterterrorism Strategy Initiative for the launch of a new report by the Campaign for Innocent Victims in Conflict (CIVIC), "Civilians in Armed Conflict: Civilian Harm and Conflict in Northwest Pakistan." Details and RSVP here.
Event notice: Today at 3:30pm EST in DC, join the New America Foundation’s Counterterrorism Strategy Initiative for the launch of a new report by the Campaign for Innocent Victims in Conflict (CIVIC), "Civilians in Armed Conflict: Civilian Harm and Conflict in Northwest Pakistan." Details and RSVP here.
The drumbeat grows louder
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Adm. Mike Mullen reportedly says in an interview with Judy Woodruff to be aired this weekend that Pakistani Army chief of staff Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani has "committed to [him] to go into North Waziristan," which he called the "epicenter of terrorism…where al-Qaeda lives" (Bloomberg, ET). Between three and 11 suspected militants, some of whom were reportedly involved with the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan or Hafiz Gul Bahadur, were killed yesterday in a U.S. drone strike in North Waziristan (Daily Times, ET, Geo, BBC, AP, CNN). There have been at least ten drone strikes this month, compared with 22 last month (NAF).
Pakistani police have arrested seven alleged militants in Bahawalpur and claim to have disrupted a plot that aimed to kill Pakistan’s prime minister, foreign minister, and others (AP, Geo, ET). The men, some of whom are believed to be involved in last year’s attack on the main Pakistani spy agency in Multan that left a dozen dead, are said to be affiliated with Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and/or the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan. Pakistani police say that there were 550 kidnappings in Khyber-Pukhtunkhwa in the first nine months of 2010, compared with 300 for all of last year (BBC).
Flood watch: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reiterated calls for Pakistan to reform its tax system so the wealthy can contribute to flood relief (AFP, Bloomberg). "It’s absolutely unacceptable for those with means in Pakistan not to be doing their fair share to help their own people while taxpayers in Europe, the United States, and other contributing countries are all chipping in," she said.
A senior NATO official said yesterday that the alliance has "indeed facilitated to various degrees the contacts between these senior Taliban members and the highest levels of the Afghan government," including allowing some militants safe passage to face-to-face meetings in Kabul (NYT, WSJ, Reuters, Tel). The Taliban continues to deny involvement in any talks, though the chairman of the Afghan government’s new High Peace Council, former Afghan president Burhanuddin Rabbani, said he is hopeful that the group is ready to engage in negotiations (AJE, AP).
The U.S. and NATO reportedly delivered a letter to Afghan President Hamid Karzai asking him to allow private security firms to continue protecting international aid organizations, after Karzai’s ban on the companies worried about how the ban would affect operations in Afghanistan (Post). Karzai was reportedly expected to sign the letter on Monday, but has not yet done so.
Craig Whitlock has today’s must-read describing the "aggressive, divergent war strategy" of the 5th Styker Combat Brigade in Afghanistan, five members of which have been accused of killing Afghan civilians for sport and whose leader allegedly forbade his officers from mentioning the term "counterinsurgency," which he disdained (Post). Col. Harry D. Tunnell IV’s "strike and destroy" approach contrasted with then-top commander in Afghanistan Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s "protect the population" mission.
British outlets report on British aid worker Linda Norgrove’s death during a U.S. rescue mission after she was kidnapped by militants in Afghanistan’s eastern Kunar province, with the BBC writing that Gen. David Petraeus and British PM David Cameron will discuss her case in person when they meet today and the Daily Telegraph adding that U.S. forces are engaged in "fierce fighting" to track down the leadership of the group thought to be responsible for her abduction, Jamaat-ud-Dawa al-Quran wal’Sunnah (BBC, Tel). JDQ reportedly operates under the command of a regional Taliban chief and is an al-Qaeda affiliate. The Guardian reports that the U.S. soldier who allegedly threw the grenade believed to have killed Dr. Norgrove may face disciplinary action for not immediately informing his commanding officers that he had used a grenade (Guardian).
A U.N. official said yesterday that civilian casualties in northern Afghanistan have doubled over the last six months compared to the same period last year (Pajhwok). And five more NATO soldiers have died in attacks across Afghanistan, bringing the two day total to 11 (AP).
Samangan Fried Chicken?
5,000 chickens have been distributed to dozens of women and poor people in the northern Afghan province of Samangan, with resources from Afghanaid and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (Pajhwok). Families were also given instruction on how to care for their chickens.
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