The South Asia Channel

Daily brief: Afghan suicide attack kills 37

Recruit in disguise A Taliban suicide bomber reportedly posing as a new Afghan National Army recruit carried out a suicide attack in the northern Afghan province of Kunduz earlier today, killing up to 37 and wounding 40 at a recruitment center (AP, AFP, Reuters, Pajhwok, Post). The attack is the third major assault in the ...

GUL RAHIM/AFP/Getty Images
GUL RAHIM/AFP/Getty Images

Recruit in disguise

A Taliban suicide bomber reportedly posing as a new Afghan National Army recruit carried out a suicide attack in the northern Afghan province of Kunduz earlier today, killing up to 37 and wounding 40 at a recruitment center (AP, AFP, Reuters, Pajhwok, Post). The attack is the third major assault in the area in less than a month, according to the province’s deputy governor. On Saturday, an Afghan civilian was reportedly killed by shells fired from Pakistan into the Goshta district of Nangarhar province (Pajhwok, AFP).

In Helmand, British paratroopers are "offering themselves as targets" to a Taliban sniper who has been aiming at the base in Qadrat (Tel). The NYT explores tricky issues surrounding compensation for Afghans whose property and land has been damaged in coalition operations, describing one instance in which the same piece of land was claimed by five different people, and reports, "Unable to evaluate the claims, or to work out who the real owners of the land are, the military has pushed the onus of settling the claims onto Afghan district officials" (NYT). The Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission is concerned that Afghan officials lack the "ability and honesty" to handle the claims fairly.

Top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan Gen. David Petraeus, who is in Washington ahead of Congressional testimony later this week, is reportedly meeting with U.S. president Barack Obama today in the White House (AFP). Afghan president Hamid Karzai, in an emotional speech in Kunar over the weekend, "appeared to call for and the United States to cease military operations in Afghanistan, but then issued a clarification saying that he was referring only to specific operations that had caused civilian casualties" (NYT). And two former guards who worked for the security contractor formerly known as Blackwater were acquitted of more serious charges but convicted of involuntary manslaughter for a May 2009 shooting that left two dead in Kabul (AFP).

Delayed, again

The Lahore High Court has again delayed reaching a resolution in the case of Raymond Davis, the CIA contractor who shot and killed two Pakistanis in Lahore in late January, saying that the court that is to try him for murder can also decide whether he qualifies for diplomatic immunity, as the U.S. claims (NYT, WSJ, Reuters, Geo, ET). Mark Mazzetti writes that the case of Davis, who is said to have worked with a team gathering information about the militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba, which is reportedly supported by the Pakistani military, reveals tension between the U.S. and Pakistan, and the LA Times adds to reporting about the possible resolution of the case via ‘blood money’ (NYT, LAT). And regional outlets report that a U.S. embassy vehicle injured a man and his wife who were riding a motorcycle in Islamabad over the weekend (The News, PTI, Dawn). Pakistani police reportedly identified the driver as "Carlos," said to be an embassy official. Bonus read: spy for a spy: the CIA-ISI showdown over Raymond Davis (FP).

Several suspected U.S. drone strikes were reported in Pakistan’s tribal regions over the last few days, including one in South Waziristan that local officials said missed its target and allowed alleged militants to escape (AP, AFP, AFP, AFP, ET, CNN, BBC, AFP). In Orakzai, eight militants were killed after reportedly attacking a security checkpost on Saturday (Dawn). Ten civilians were reportedly killed by unidentified gunmen en route from Kurram to Hangu, in an area covered by a recent peace deal between Sunni and Shia tribes (ET, Daily Times, Geo, AP). Bonus read: a Haqqani-brokered peace in Kurram? (FP).

At least 30 people have reportedly been killed in Karachi since last Thursday evening in politically-motivated violence, including 13 since last night (ET, ET, Geo, Daily Times). Karin Brulliard has today’s must-read examining how the assassinations of Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer and minority affairs minister Shahbaz Bhatti highlight the "sway of radical clerics" in Pakistan (Post).

You’ve come a long way, lady

Zahida Kazmi, Pakistan’s first female cab driver, took up taxi driving in 1992 following the death of her husband, taking advantage of a government plan that allowed would-be cabbies to purchase new cars with installments (Indian Express, BBC). She eventually became the chair of Pakistan’s yellow cab association.

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