Daily brief: Taliban mock NATO over impostor
Event notice: Join Steve Coll tomorrow in DC at 3:00pm for a conversation with David Rohde and Kristen Mulvihill, as they discuss Rohde’s captivity in Pakistan’s tribal areas and Mulvihill’s interactions with American and Pakistani officials as she tried to win his release. Details and RSVP here (NAF). Mocking NATO The Taliban released a statement ...
Event notice: Join Steve Coll tomorrow in DC at 3:00pm for a conversation with David Rohde and Kristen Mulvihill, as they discuss Rohde's captivity in Pakistan's tribal areas and Mulvihill's interactions with American and Pakistani officials as she tried to win his release. Details and RSVP here (NAF).
Event notice: Join Steve Coll tomorrow in DC at 3:00pm for a conversation with David Rohde and Kristen Mulvihill, as they discuss Rohde’s captivity in Pakistan’s tribal areas and Mulvihill’s interactions with American and Pakistani officials as she tried to win his release. Details and RSVP here (NAF).
The Taliban released a statement yesterday praising the man who impersonated a Taliban leader to the Afghan government, British intelligence, and NATO, calling the episode "a stigma on the forehead of the Americans and their allies" (AFP). The Taliban repeated their public position that they will not negotiate while international forces are in Afghanistan. Bonus read: fake Taliban, real embarrassment (FP).
Afghanistan’s Independent Election Commission certified the final results of the September 18 parliamentary contest yesterday, in spite of an Afghan government criminal probe into election officials accused of fraud and bribery (AFP, WSJ). Alissa Rubin writes that the conflict between the IEC and the Afghan government "is in part about who has final say over the process" of elections, noting that while Karzai "may have bought himself some breathing space" by referring dissatisfied candidates to the court system, "he has also made his Western backers nervous since they badly wanted a successful election and view the job done by the IEC as a quantum leap forward over last year[‘s]" presidential vote (NYT). The earliest the new parliament is likely to be inaugurated is January 21.
Canada’s military is investigating allegations that U.S. Special Forces illegally killed a man said to be wounded and unarmed in January 2008, which a former Canadian soldier says he witnessed (AFP). Separately, Staff Sergeant Robert Stevens was sentenced to nine months in prison after confessing to shooting "in the direction of" civilians in Afghanistan, and will now testify against other soldiers accused of crimes related to alleged attacks on Afghan civilians (AFP).
Reuters reports that would-be investors in Afghanistan’s potentially lucrative energy and mining industries are holding off because of security conditions, with Japanese business interested in lithium reserves and Italy considering investing in the energy sector (Reuters). China’s interest in copper mining continues.
More Wikileaks disclosures
Pakistani outlets continue to dig in to the U.S. diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks, and revelations include that Pakistan’s intelligence services, the ISI, believe the UAE, India, and Russia are involved in supporting the Baluch insurgency (ET); former Pakistani president Gen. Pervez Musharraf said in April 2007 that he believed, though he had no solid evidence, that Osama bin Laden and his deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri were in Bajaur (ET); Pakistani president Asif Ali Zardari sought a promise from the UAE to grant his family refuge if he were assassinated (AP); and the chief of the ISI told Israeli officials about potential attacks on Israeli targets in India in October 2009 (Reuters). Saba Imtiaz describes more than a dozen other disclosures here (ET).
Suspected Taliban fighters attacked a NATO supply truck in Mardan earlier today, killing the driver and damaging the vehicle with assault rifles (AFP). The Pakistani man suing the U.S. government for $500 million over the alleged deaths of his relatives in a December 31, 2009 drone strike in Mir Ali, North Waziristan denied that he had any connections with Haji Omar, a local Taliban commander who intelligence officials say he was housing and who was reported killed in the strike (CNN, The News).
Flood watch: Nearly $60 million in the Pakistani prime minister’s flood relief fund is unspent amid concerns about mismanagement and misuse of cash (AFP). Farmlands across Pakistan could remain submerged for another six months, and nearly seven million Pakistanis need emergency shelter as winter approaches.
Building bridges, literally
An $800,000, Turkish-funded bridge in Kabul was inaugurated yesterday, and officials are hopeful that it will improve traffic flows in the busy Afghan capital (Pajhwok). The bridge took a month to build and is 42 meters long and 15 meters wide.
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