Daily brief: dozens reported killed in Pakistan drone strike

Fire from above    As many as 38 militants allegedly affiliated with Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan commander Hafiz Gul Bahadur were killed in a suspected U.S. drone strike on a house in the Datta Khel area of North Waziristan earlier today (AJE, AP, CNN, BBC, Reuters, The News, Geo, ET). Bahadur’s top commander for the Datta Khel ...

AAMIR QURESHI/AFP/Getty Images
AAMIR QURESHI/AFP/Getty Images
AAMIR QURESHI/AFP/Getty Images

Fire from above 

 

As many as 38 militants allegedly affiliated with Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan commander Hafiz Gul Bahadur were killed in a suspected U.S. drone strike on a house in the Datta Khel area of North Waziristan earlier today (AJE, AP, CNN, BBC, Reuters, The News, Geo, ET). Bahadur's top commander for the Datta Khel area, Sharabat Khan, is said to be among the dead.  

Fire from above 

 

As many as 38 militants allegedly affiliated with Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan commander Hafiz Gul Bahadur were killed in a suspected U.S. drone strike on a house in the Datta Khel area of North Waziristan earlier today (AJE, AP, CNN, BBC, Reuters, The News, Geo, ET). Bahadur’s top commander for the Datta Khel area, Sharabat Khan, is said to be among the dead.  

 

Militants reportedly attacked two NATO fuel tankers headed for Afghanistan in Peshawar earlier today, and seven people were killed overnight in various shootings in Karachi (Geo, ET).  

 

The Davis fallout 

 

More details are emerging about the release of CIA contractor Raymond Davis, who shot and killed two Pakistanis in Lahore in late January and was acquitted of murder charges by a Lahore court yesterday: although U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the U.S. did not pay any compensation to the victims’ families, they received around $2.3 million in ‘blood money,’ and some may be resettled in the United States (NYT, ET, Dawn, AP, Independent, WSJ, Post, ABC, Daily Times, LAT, Geo, ET, AJE). American and Pakistani officials say the government of Pakistan paid the money and expects to be reimbursed by the United States (Times, ABC). Pakistani officials said the family of a third Pakistani man, who was killed by a vehicle presumably sent to rescue Davis after the January 27 incident, was also compensated (Guardian).  

 

Davis has reportedly left Pakistan, flying through Afghanistan to go back to the United States at some point, and the judge who heard his case has gone on leave "due to personal engagements" (Dawn, Post, AFP, Geo, The News). The Express Tribune has copies of the court documents, and reports that Davis’s release was three weeks in the making, along with other inside details (ET, ET).  

 

U.S. ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter thanked the families for their generosity, though reports suggest they may have accepted the deal under pressure from the Punjab government (ABC, Dawn, Geo, ET). Munter also said the Department of Justice has opened an inquiry into the shooting. Islamist groups staged several protests across the country, and more are expected tomorrow after Friday prayers (WSJ, The News, FT, Guardian, ET). The CIA and Pakistan’s intelligence service, the ISI, are reportedly smoothing over their bumpy relationship, which was exacerbated by the Davis case, though tensions remain (AP, AFP, NYT, AFP). Bonus read: behind the scenes of Raymond Davis’s release (FP).  

 

In the hot seat 

 

During more congressional testimony yesterday, top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan Gen. David Petraeus said that some combat troops may be included in this July’s initial American withdrawal, though said he is "still formulating the options" (NYT). Petraeus also disclosed that his son, Lt. Stephen Petraeus, a 2009 graduate of MIT, recently completed a combat tour in Afghanistan (AP, NYT). The House of Representatives is expected to vote today on a resolution "demanding the speedy withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan," introduced by Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) (LAT). A similar resolution last year won 65 votes. And Ban Ki-Moon, the U.N. Secretary General, said in a report to the U.N. Security Council that while Afghan parties have "taken a number of positive steps," the country must still overcome "major obstacles" (AP).    

 

NATO has reportedly opened an investigation into the deaths of two Afghan boys who were killed by a coalition helicopter strike in the eastern province of Kunar earlier this week (AP, Pajhwok). The governor of Kunar survived a Taliban rocket attack on his convoy earlier today, and a dozen oil tankers were destroyed in Uruzgan after a motorcycle loaded with explosives detonated in Tarin Kot (Pajhwok, NYT). More than 10 alleged insurgents were killed in Kunar earlier today, along with more than 30 in two days of fighting in Helmand (AP). And a spokesman for Afghanistan’s intelligence agency said yesterday that there have been "serious disagreements" between Taliban leaders and footsoldiers, though did not specify what they were (Tolo).   

 

The Afghan government is reportedly planning to phase out private security companies over the next year, which "should clear the way for projects that had been delayed by security concerns to resume development" (NYT). And the NYT explores recent developments toward finding a political solution to the Afghan war via reconciliation with the Taliban and other insurgents (NYT).  

 

Better for the budget

 

The price of firewood has fallen in Kabul by several hundred afghanis because of the warmer weather this week, according to a firewood seller (Pajhwok). The prices of other daily commodities remained the same.

 

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