Daily brief: three drone strikes reported in NW Pakistan

The air war goes on Three separate drone strikes were reported yesterday in the Pakistani tribal area of North Waziristan — in Qutub Khel near Miram Shah, Khaso Khel near Mir Ali, and Pai Khel in Datta Khel (AJE, AFP, The News, BBC, CNN, AP, AFP, Geo). At least 11 were said to be killed; ...

RIZWAN TABASSUM/AFP/Getty Images
RIZWAN TABASSUM/AFP/Getty Images
RIZWAN TABASSUM/AFP/Getty Images

The air war goes on

Three separate drone strikes were reported yesterday in the Pakistani tribal area of North Waziristan -- in Qutub Khel near Miram Shah, Khaso Khel near Mir Ali, and Pai Khel in Datta Khel (AJE, AFP, The News, BBC, CNN, AP, AFP, Geo). At least 11 were said to be killed; there have been nearly 100 drone strikes reported so far in 2010, compared with 53 in 2009 (NAF).

In response to Pakistani media reports this week that NATO gunship helicopters flew into Pakistani territory and turned back, the U.S. embassy in Islamabad issued a press release and called the allegations "entirely false" (ET, Islamabad). Pakistani lawmakers from the PML-N and Jamaat-e-Islami staged a walkout from the Pakistani Senate in protest of the alleged incursions (Daily Times).

The air war goes on

Three separate drone strikes were reported yesterday in the Pakistani tribal area of North Waziristan — in Qutub Khel near Miram Shah, Khaso Khel near Mir Ali, and Pai Khel in Datta Khel (AJE, AFP, The News, BBC, CNN, AP, AFP, Geo). At least 11 were said to be killed; there have been nearly 100 drone strikes reported so far in 2010, compared with 53 in 2009 (NAF).

In response to Pakistani media reports this week that NATO gunship helicopters flew into Pakistani territory and turned back, the U.S. embassy in Islamabad issued a press release and called the allegations "entirely false" (ET, Islamabad). Pakistani lawmakers from the PML-N and Jamaat-e-Islami staged a walkout from the Pakistani Senate in protest of the alleged incursions (Daily Times).

The U.K. Border Agency’s independent watchdog has reportedly found that the UKBA may be discriminating against Pakistanis, saying that it’s more difficult to enter Britain from Pakistan than from Bahrain, Dubai, and Abu Dhabi (BBC). Pakistan is the fourth largest source of visa applications to the U.K.

Declan Walsh reports on the ongoing violence in the southern port city of Karachi, where at least 80 people have been killed since mid-October and more than 1,100 have died on the streets so far this year (Guardian). Bonus read: Karachi’s downward spiral (FP).

Opening a probe

The office of the Afghan attorney general has reportedly launched criminal investigations into allegations that nine election officials, eight of whom are at the Kabul headquarters of the Independent Election Commission, engaged in vote rigging in the September parliamentary contests (Post). The IEC is reportedly responding to the AG’s charges today.

U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry said yesterday that the U.S. is planning to spend $511 million expanding its embassy in Kabul, a project which currently employs 500 Afghans and will employ more than 1,500 once construction gets underway (AP). The embassy has tripled its civilian staff in the last year, according to Eikenberry.

Coalition commanders are said to be reluctant to list specific areas of Afghanistan targeted for transition to Afghan control at the NATO summit in Lisbon on November 19 and 20, because doing so would "paint a bull’s-eye" on those provinces or districts according to a senior coalition official (WSJ). Italy and France’s defense ministers would reportedly like to pull their troops from Herat province and Surobi district, and the Dutch have already pulled out of Uruzgan. The lower house of the Czech Republic’s parliament gave the final approval to expand its mission to 720 troops next year, up from 535 (Reuters).

The governor of Helmand Gulab Mangal said yesterday in London that Afghan forces could take control of some areas of the southern Afghan province by the end of next year, and observed that security has improved in areas where U.S. Marines assumed responsibility from British forces (Times, Guardian, Reuters). The governor of Ghazni, Musa Khan Akbarzada, said he recently had face-to-face talks with three Taliban commanders as part of ongoing reconciliation efforts (Pajhwok).

The British Museum finds Afghan charm

The Afghan and British governments signed an agreement recently allowing the "Lost Treasures of Afghanistan" exhibit of Bactrian gold jewelry, glassware, and funeral ornaments — some of which dates to the sixth century B.C. — to be displayed at the British Museum this spring (BBC, Tel). The gold had been hidden by museum employees during Afghanistan’s civil war, and was thought to have been stolen or destroyed until the collection turned up in 2003 in ten tin trunks inside a bank vault.

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