Daily brief: CIA bomber not properly vetted: investigation
Talks with the Taliban The NYT reports that three members of the Quetta shura, the Taliban’s leadership council, and a member of the Haqqani family have taken part in discussions with the Afghan government (NYT). In at least one case, Taliban leaders were transported to Kabul by a NATO aircraft. An Afghan MP reportedly says ...
Talks with the Taliban
Talks with the Taliban
The NYT reports that three members of the Quetta shura, the Taliban’s leadership council, and a member of the Haqqani family have taken part in discussions with the Afghan government (NYT). In at least one case, Taliban leaders were transported to Kabul by a NATO aircraft. An Afghan MP reportedly says the Karzai government has been in "direct contact" with Jalaluddin Haqqani, the leader of the Haqqani insurgent network (AP). The Taliban continue to deny involvement in talks.
Afghanistan’s election authorities threw out more than a million votes from the September 18 parliamentary contests, nearly a quarter of the total cast (BBC, AP, Pajhwok). Pajhwok has the list of preliminary winners (Pajhwok-pdf). Final results are expected on October 30.
The U.S. military has launched a criminal investigation into the apparent death from a gunshot wound of a Taliban prisoner who was in U.S. custody in the Arghandab district of Kandahar (AFP, AP, Reuters, Pajhwok). A U.S. soldier has been taken into custody. The Afghan Local Police program, whose mission Gen. David Petraeus has likened to an armed community watch in contrast with the duties of Afghanistan’s national police, is aiming to recruit 10-person teams in 900 villages by March 2011 (LAT). The annual salary will be around $1,440.
The CIA’s internal investigation into the deadly suicide bombing at a CIA base in Khost in eastern Afghanistan late last year reportedly documents "major security lapses at the base in Afghanistan, a lack of war zone experience among the agency’s personnel at the base, insufficient vetting of the alleged defector, and a murky chain of command with different branches of the intelligence agency competing for control over the operation" (NYT, FT, BBC, Tel, Reuters, AFP). A CIA officer in Jordan also received warnings from his Jordanian counterpart three weeks before the attack, which left seven CIA employees and contractors dead, that the bomber Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi may have been working for al-Qaeda, but did not pass his concerns along because he thought the warning may have been part of internal squabbling over who should handle the informant (WSJ, LAT, Times).
CIA chief Leon Panetta said yesterday that there was a "systemic breakdown" in judgment amidst eagerness to meet a source who could lead the agency to Ayman al-Zawahiri, al-Qaeda’s number two (Post, NYT). The CIA did not assign responsibility to any individuals, concluding that the failures were cross-cutting.
As many as 32 people were killed yesterday in Karachi, including a shooting near the Shershah market with more than a dozen fatalities, as violence continues and Pakistani authorities consider imposing a curfew in the southern port city (ET, The News, Daily Times, AJE, Geo, Dawn). Up to 73 people have been killed in the last four days. The two political parties most closely linked to the violence in Karachi are the MQM, which represents much of the city’s Urdu-speaking population, and the Awami National Party, which has its base among ethnic Pashtuns (AP). The Pakistani government has not sent in the Army, and Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said he is "confident that political leadership will be able to control the situation" (AFP).
Earlier today, militants attacked the Bara Qadeem checkpost on the outskirts of Peshawar in northwest Pakistan, injuring a policeman (AP, ET, Geo, Dawn). One of the attackers was killed in the resulting crossfire. Militants also attacked a Pakistani military convoy in South Waziristan yesterday, killing three soldiers (AFP).
Watching: Three days of U.S.-Pakistan talks are beginning today in Washington (AFP, Reuters).
Protesters against the recent arrest of Kashmiri separatist leader Masarat Alam clashed with Indian security forces in Indian-administered Kashmir, and 16 were reportedly wounded (AFP). Pakistan’s ambassador to the U.S. Amb. Husain Haqqani says Kashmir will be brought up during the U.S.-Pakistan talks (PTI).
A woman in Afghanistan has given birth to the country’s first in-vitro fertilization babies, a boy and two girls, and everyone is in good health (Pajhwok). The parents, who have been married 12 years, were unable to conceive naturally and the procedure cost at least 150,000 afghanis.
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