Daily brief: majority of Afghans back Taliban talks: poll

Webcast: tune in today from 9:00am to 5:15pm EST for a conference on the future of South Asia featuring discussions of the insurgencies in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Pakistan’s strategic outlook, the new ‘Great Game,’ regional perspectives of the U.S., militant reconciliation, and Afghan politics and economics (NAF). Asking the people A new public opinion poll ...

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

Webcast: tune in today from 9:00am to 5:15pm EST for a conference on the future of South Asia featuring discussions of the insurgencies in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Pakistan's strategic outlook, the new 'Great Game,' regional perspectives of the U.S., militant reconciliation, and Afghan politics and economics (NAF).

Asking the people

A new public opinion poll from the Asia Foundation finds that 83 percent of those surveyed support Afghan government efforts to negotiate with insurgents, compared with 71 percent last year, and insecurity, unemployment, and corruption top the list of concerns for Afghans (AP, Reuters, BBC, Pajhwok). Read the poll here (AF).

Webcast: tune in today from 9:00am to 5:15pm EST for a conference on the future of South Asia featuring discussions of the insurgencies in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Pakistan’s strategic outlook, the new ‘Great Game,’ regional perspectives of the U.S., militant reconciliation, and Afghan politics and economics (NAF).

Asking the people

A new public opinion poll from the Asia Foundation finds that 83 percent of those surveyed support Afghan government efforts to negotiate with insurgents, compared with 71 percent last year, and insecurity, unemployment, and corruption top the list of concerns for Afghans (AP, Reuters, BBC, Pajhwok). Read the poll here (AF).

The Afghan government has reportedly dropped all charges against an aide to Afghan President Hamid Karzai who was arrested in late July by U.S.-backed corruption investigators, then freed after intervention by Karzai (NYT). The Afghan attorney general’s office — seen by observers as deeply politicized — is investigating allegations that electoral officials were involved in fraud during the September 18 parliamentary contests (WSJ). The Independent Election Commission chief called the investigation unconstitutional and accused the AG’s office of interference with the election process. 

The Canadian government has agreed to keep 750 military trainers in Afghanistan until 2014, after Canada’s combat mission ends in 2011 (AP, Pajhwok). NATO has identified a shortfall of 900 trainers. NATO’s training command turned one year old yesterday; over the past year, the Afghan National Army has grown from 97,011 to 144,638, and the Afghan police from 94,958 to 116,367 (Post). Afghan security forces have been troubled by attrition and illiteracy.

The Times of London reports on a NATO color coded map of Afghanistan on which green means handover to Afghan forces this spring, yellow means transition within 12 months, orange for 18 months, red for two years, and gray for more than two years (Times). And the district chief of Khwak in Paktia was killed by a roadside bombing earlier today (AP, Pajhwok). A Taliban spokesman took responsibility for the attack.

More schools bombed

Earlier today, three primary schools were bombed in the northwest tribal agency of Mohmand (Dawn). Pakistan’s foreign office released a statement disapproving of U.S. President Barack Obama’s backing of India for a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council (ET). 

The Post profiles the checkpoint advertising industry in Islamabad, where "a dazzling display of brightly colored advertisements plastered on jersey barriers, metal gates, guard booths and sun umbrellas" greets drivers at the city’s more than 60 checkpoints (Post). Advertisers include a barbecue restaurant, Samaa TV, and Tasty snack foods.

Next: IT help center

Two information technology centers with 56 computers and access to the internet were inaugurated on Monday at the University of Kandahar, funded by USAID (Pajhwok). There are 162 teachers and 3,000 students at the university, which was founded in 1989.

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