Daily brief: 9 dead in Afghanistan car bomb

Peter Bergen’s new book, The Longest War: Inside the Enduring Conflict between America and Al-Qaeda, which the Guardian called "detailed, serious, scrupulously fair, perceptive and sometimes startling," is on bookshelves in the U.K. this week (Amazon). A year later Earlier today, the Taliban claimed responsibility for a suicide car bombing targeting a police station in ...

ADEK BERRY/AFP/Getty Images
ADEK BERRY/AFP/Getty Images
ADEK BERRY/AFP/Getty Images

Peter Bergen's new book, The Longest War: Inside the Enduring Conflict between America and Al-Qaeda, which the Guardian called "detailed, serious, scrupulously fair, perceptive and sometimes startling," is on bookshelves in the U.K. this week (Amazon).

A year later

Earlier today, the Taliban claimed responsibility for a suicide car bombing targeting a police station in the eastern Afghan province of Khost, leaving up to 9 dead, and a man wearing an Afghan National Army uniform opened fire on coalition troops in Baghlan, killing one German soldier (AP, Pajhwok, Reuters, AFP, LAT, Reuters, AP). McClatchy has a pair of articles describing conditions in Marjah, the Helmand town that was the site of a major coalition offensive a year ago, where residents and U.S. Marines report progress, though some are skeptical: one Marjah bakery owner worried, "If the Marines left, the Taliban would be back in two weeks" (McClatchy, McClatchy).

Peter Bergen’s new book, The Longest War: Inside the Enduring Conflict between America and Al-Qaeda, which the Guardian called "detailed, serious, scrupulously fair, perceptive and sometimes startling," is on bookshelves in the U.K. this week (Amazon).

A year later

Earlier today, the Taliban claimed responsibility for a suicide car bombing targeting a police station in the eastern Afghan province of Khost, leaving up to 9 dead, and a man wearing an Afghan National Army uniform opened fire on coalition troops in Baghlan, killing one German soldier (AP, Pajhwok, Reuters, AFP, LAT, Reuters, AP). McClatchy has a pair of articles describing conditions in Marjah, the Helmand town that was the site of a major coalition offensive a year ago, where residents and U.S. Marines report progress, though some are skeptical: one Marjah bakery owner worried, "If the Marines left, the Taliban would be back in two weeks" (McClatchy, McClatchy).

Afghanistan’s finance ministry has partially blamed a lack of foreign technical support and an erroneous audit for contributing to crises at the troubled Kabul Bank, which U.S. officials quickly refuted (AFP, AP, Reuters, FT). The IMF recently said the bank should be put into receivership, a form of bankruptcy, and sold off.

The Post considers the role of imams in Afghanistan delivering "half-hour sermons that blend Islamic teaching with often-harsh criticism of the U.S. presence," presenting a "serious and delicate problem" for the Obama administration’s counterinsurgency strategy: "how to respect the sacredness of Islam without conceding the propaganda war" (Post).

Davis drama continues

The Lahore High Court has ordered the Punjab police to arrest the second American man involved in the Raymond Davis case, the driver of a vehicle reportedly sent to help Davis after he shot and killed two Pakistani men he says were trying to rob him late last month, who is said to have struck and killed a third Pakistani man (BBC, ET, Reuters, AP, ET). Today in Lahore, some 200 protesters affiliated with Jamaat-ud-Dawa, the front organization for the militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba, demanded that Davis, a former U.S. Special Forces soldier who the U.S. maintains qualifies for diplomatic immunity, be hanged. Davis remains on Pakistan’s exit control list, preventing him from leaving the country; he is currently in Pakistani custody (Dawn).

The brothers of the two men Davis shot have rejected an idea floated by Pakistani prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani of Davis providing a financial settlement instead of going on trial (AP, Tel). Though the U.S. has curbed some diplomatic contacts with Pakistan, top members of Congress rejected talk of potentially cutting aid to the country over the Davis case (AFP).

The Wall Street Journal takes a step back and reports on the current nadir in the U.S.-Pakistan relationship, which some U.S. officials say is at its worst point since September 11, 2001 (WSJ).

Fried chicken wars

A 38 year old Afghan fried chicken guru has declared war: war against other establishments using the name of his restaurants, Kennedy Fried Chicken; Abdul Haye sees himself as the "reigning chicken king," and owns the trademark of the name (NYT). Haye complained, "Their poor-quality chicken is going to kill my reputation! I am the only real Kennedy."

Sign up here to receive the daily brief in your inbox. Follow the AfPak Channel on Twitter and Facebook.

More from Foreign Policy

An illustration shows George Kennan, the father of Cold War containment strategy.
An illustration shows George Kennan, the father of Cold War containment strategy.

Is Cold War Inevitable?

A new biography of George Kennan, the father of containment, raises questions about whether the old Cold War—and the emerging one with China—could have been avoided.

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on the DISCLOSE Act.
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on the DISCLOSE Act.

So You Want to Buy an Ambassadorship

The United States is the only Western government that routinely rewards mega-donors with top diplomatic posts.

Chinese President Xi jinping  toasts the guests during a banquet marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on September 30, 2019 in Beijing, China.
Chinese President Xi jinping toasts the guests during a banquet marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on September 30, 2019 in Beijing, China.

Can China Pull Off Its Charm Offensive?

Why Beijing’s foreign-policy reset will—or won’t—work out.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar chairs a meeting in Ankara, Turkey on Nov. 21, 2022.
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar chairs a meeting in Ankara, Turkey on Nov. 21, 2022.

Turkey’s Problem Isn’t Sweden. It’s the United States.

Erdogan has focused on Stockholm’s stance toward Kurdish exile groups, but Ankara’s real demand is the end of U.S. support for Kurds in Syria.