Daily brief: Pakistan test fires nuclear-capable missile
Power projection Pakistan’s military successfully tested the Ghauri Hatf 5, a ballistic missile with a range of 800 miles that is capable of carrying both conventional and nuclear warheads, as part of a field-training exercise (AFP, ET, The News). Pakistan’s prime minister, Yousuf Raza Gilani, said the test "demonstrates the credibility of our minimum deterrence ...
Pakistan’s military successfully tested the Ghauri Hatf 5, a ballistic missile with a range of 800 miles that is capable of carrying both conventional and nuclear warheads, as part of a field-training exercise (AFP, ET, The News). Pakistan’s prime minister, Yousuf Raza Gilani, said the test "demonstrates the credibility of our minimum deterrence strategy" and "sends the right signals internationally that Pakistan’s defense capability is impregnable and should never be challenged." Wonk watch: Jeffrey Lewis on managing the danger from Pakistan’s nuclear stockpile (NAF).
American officials say the U.S. is seeking to expand Special Operations ground raids on Pakistani territory in an indication of U.S. frustration with Pakistan’s efforts to combat militancy in its tribal areas, and Afghan militias backed by the CIA — called Counterterrorism Pursuit Teams — have reportedly carried out "a number of secret missions" in Pakistan’s tribal regions, including at least one that went on the offensive and destroyed a weapons cache (NYT). The Afghan militias are said to operate around Paktika, Khost, Kunar, and the cities of Kabul, Jalalabad, and Kandahar. Pakistan’s envoy to the U.S., Amb. Husain Haqqani, asserted that "Pakistani forces are capable of handling the militant threat within our borders and no foreign forces are allowed or required to operate inside our sovereign territory," and a spokesman for NATO in Afghanistan said there is "absolutely no truth" to the NYT’s report (APP, Pajhwok).
A senior Pakistani military official tells CNN that suspected U.S. drone strikes are moving northward in the tribal areas to the Tirah Valley, following the movement of militants as they seek to escape the drone strikes in Waziristan (CNN). The official added that a Pakistani military offensive in North Waziristan is likely to take place by the summer. Pakistan’s Daily Times reports that an aide to al-Qaeda number two Ayman al-Zawahiri and al-Qaeda’s operational manager, Umar Misri and Muhammad Muhammad, are believed to have been captured in a joint Pakistani-American raid in Karachi last month (Daily Times).
Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s office said yesterday that the White House’s Afghan war review, released last week, has "certain problems we want more attention to," including greater protections for Afghan civilians and the removal of private security firms from the country (Reuters, Post). Fifty-seven such companies have already been shut down, following the Karzai government’s edict in August, which has been "watered down" to permit "legal" firms to continue operating (AP, AFP). Roy Carver, the 75 year old CEO of the Red Sea Engineers and Constructors firm, which has received around half a billion dollars in contracts in the last three years, has been jailed by Afghan authorities for allegedly owing money to Afghan suppliers (Post).
Calling all bookworms!
Karachi is hosting its sixth international book fair beginning this Friday at the Expo Center (The News). The five-day event will feature tens of thousands of books in English, Urdu, Arabic, and Persian on a variety of topics.
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