The South Asia Channel
Daily brief: Pakistan tells U.S. to curb CIA activities
Invite: Join Anatol Lieven and Peter Bergen for a discussion of Lieven’s new book, Pakistan: A Hard Place, tomorrow in DC at 12:15pm. Details and RSVP here. Bonus AfPak Channel read: Huma Yusuf reviews the book. Rocky road Pakistani and American officials reportedly said that Pakistani Army chief, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, ...
Invite: Join Anatol Lieven and Peter Bergen for a discussion of Lieven’s new book, Pakistan: A Hard Place, tomorrow in DC at 12:15pm. Details and RSVP here. Bonus AfPak Channel read: Huma Yusuf reviews the book.
Pakistani and American officials reportedly said that Pakistani Army chief, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, "personally demanded" that about 335 American personnel — CIA officers and contractors, and Special Operations forces — in Pakistan leave the country, a direct reaction to the Raymond Davis incident earlier this year in which a CIA contractor shot and killed two Pakistani men he said were trying to rob him (NYT). A U.S. official told CNN that the 335 figure was a "very inflated number" (CNN). Pakistan has also reportedly demanded that the U.S. halt drone strikes in the country’s northwest, and a Pakistani official said the Pakistani Army "firmly believes that Washington’s real aim in Pakistan is to neutralize the nation’s nuclear arsenal" (WSJ, Dawn).
After yesterday’s meeting between Pakistani intelligence chief Lt. Gen. Ahmad Shuja Pasha and CIA director Leon Panetta, however, a CIA spokesman sought to play down differences and said the intelligence relationship remains on "solid footing," and in Islamabad U.S. ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter gave his first major public speech since the Raymond Davis shootings on January 27, trying to patch up ties (The News, FT, ET, AP). Pakistani Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir is scheduled to visit DC later this month.
A roadside bombing in Kurram killed a religious cleric and two others, and wounded 13 people, and the general secretary of the Islamist political party Jamaat-i-Islami in Khyber-Pukhtunkhwa, Shabbir Ahmed Khan, survived a potential bombing after a bomb disposal team defused a 6 kilogram explosive outside his doorstep in Peshawar yesterday (DT, ET).
NBC reports that for the first time, U.S. service members were killed by friendly fire from an Air Force Predator drone in Afghanistan, in an incident last week in Sangin district in Helmand province (NBC, Guardian). U.S. Marines under attack in the area were apparently watching video of the battle streaming from a Predator flying overhead, and calling in a strike as "hot spots" moved toward them.
In Afghan president Hamid Karzai’s news conference yesterday in which he denounced Western advisers for not alerting his government earlier about problems with the Kabul Bank last fall, he also said he would split the institution into a "good bank" with viable parts of the business and a "bad bank" with the troubled assets (NYT, WSJ). The Afghan government is expected to sign an agreement with the IMF in the coming days to restore aid to the country, which is contingent on the dissolution of the Kabul Bank.
An Afghan border police officer and three Afghan civilians were wounded yesterday when Iranian forces fired across the border into Nimroz, after Afghan police reportedly stopped Iranian forces from diverting water from a canal inside Afghanistan to a village in Iran (Pajhwok). In Kandahar, six Afghan civilians were injured in a roadside blast apparently targeting a NATO convoy, and in Zhari, two Afghan soldiers who were destroying opium poppies were killed in an IED attack (Pajhwok, AP). Around 50 Taliban fighters, including a commander who said he had recently been appointed the shadow governor of Kunduz province, reportedly joined the peace process in Kandahar and were promptly disowned by the Taliban movement (Reuters, Pajhwok). And Afghan intelligence has reportedly arrested a Pakistani man from Peshawar who was allegedly trained in North Waziristan and attempted an insurgent attack on a NATO base in Jalalabad earlier this month (AP).
I read the news today, oh boy
Fifty years after the Beatles performed their first show at a London dive, a Karachi band called E Sharp — known around the southern port city for their "precise Beatles covers" — performed over the weekend at the "lit cafe-cum-art space" T2F for a full house of fans of the Fab Four (ET). Two other bands, The Queen and Me and Spoonful, also performed classics like "Norwegian wood," "All you need is love," and "Helter skelter."