The South Asia Channel
Daily brief: Taliban attack Kandahar police
Complex attacks Earlier this morning, several Taliban suicide bombers and gunmen with rocket-propelled grenades attacked an Afghan police training and recruitment center in the southern city of Kandahar, killing four Afghan intelligence officers, a soldier, and a police officer (AP, BBC, AFP, CNN). Pajhwok adds that an additional suicide bomber in an ambulance detonated ...
Earlier this morning, several Taliban suicide bombers and gunmen with rocket-propelled grenades attacked an Afghan police training and recruitment center in the southern city of Kandahar, killing four Afghan intelligence officers, a soldier, and a police officer (AP, BBC, AFP, CNN). Pajhwok adds that an additional suicide bomber in an ambulance detonated explosives near Afghan and international forces clearing casualties from the first attacks (Pajhwok). Also earlier today, NATO officials announced that a "significant operation" had recently concluded in the eastern province of Kunar, and an Afghan official said yesterday that up to 132 militants had been killed there in the last 8 days (Pajhwok, AP). And coalition forces in Faryab have reportedly killed the Afghan who killed two U.S. soldiers earlier this week while wearing a border police uniform (AP).
The LA Times reports on combat statistics showing that U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan "suffered an unprecedented number of catastrophic injuries last year, including a tripling of amputations of more than one limb" (LAT).
Afghan president Hamid Karzai and U.S. president Barack Obama reportedly held an hour-long video conference yesterday to discuss the recent outbreak of violence in Afghanistan over the burning of a Quran in Florida last month, as protests continue (AFP). Afghan officials reportedly said that several of the suspected insurgents allegedly involved in the protests last week at the U.N. compound in Mazar-i-Sharif had previously renounced the Taliban and joined a government reintegration program (AP). The U.S. just announced a pledge of $50 million for reintegration efforts: the funds will be used for "facilitating meetings, as well as development projects in communities where young men have joined the insurgency, job training programs and support for those who leave the fight" (Post). Officials in the former Taliban regime complain that Afghan and international forces’ raids on their homes are setting back the process (Guardian).
The NYT, Post, and FT add to reporting about the potential reshuffling of Obama’s national security team, which is expected to happen this summer (NYT, Post, FT). And the U.S. and Russia have reportedly agreed on a contract to supply Afghanistan with 21 MI-17 helicopters, at a price of $17.5 million per chopper (AFP).
The ties that bind
Pakistan has rejected the U.S.’s assessment of its counterinsurgency operations, and Dawn reports that Pakistan’s "military leadership has already been complaining of American arrogance and high-handedness in its dealings with Pakistan" (Dawn, AP, AFP). CENTCOM commander Gen. James Mattis arrived in Islamabad last night for a regularly scheduled visit and is set to meet with Pakistani Army chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani.
A suicide car bomber first opened fire on the home of the deputy inspector general of police in Quetta, then detonated explosives, wounding Wazir Khan Nasir, his son, and his daughter (AP, ET). A police constable guarding the home was killed. The Express Tribune reports that refugees from Pakistani military operations in the Swat Valley in 2009 are frustrated because reconstruction has not yet begun and promised compensation has not been paid out (ET).
Yesterday the State Department announced a reward of $5 million for information leading to Ilyas Kashmiri, the commander of Harakat-ul-Jihad al-Islami (HUJI), an al-Qaeda linked militant group that has attacked India and Pakistan, and provided fighters for the Taliban in Afghanistan (AP, State). Pamela Constable reports that the slow pace of prosecutions of seven Pakistanis detained in connection with the deadly 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks continues to cause tension between India and Pakistan (Post).
Horning in on the shoe market
The owners of Afghan shoe factories tell Tolo they have recently begun to see an uptick in shoes sent to markets across the region (Tolo). One factory owner, calling on the Afghan government to support local industries, said imports from Taiwan can get stuck in Karachi’s ports for months.