Daily brief: suicide bomber kills Kandahar police chief
Violent spring ahead A day after U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned of a violent spring ahead in Afghanistan and cautioned NATO allies against bringing home their forces too soon, a suicide bomber killed the police chief of Kandahar province along with two other policemen (Post, AP, AFP, Reuters, Pajhwok). The suicide bomber ...
Violent spring ahead
Violent spring ahead
A day after U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned of a violent spring ahead in Afghanistan and cautioned NATO allies against bringing home their forces too soon, a suicide bomber killed the police chief of Kandahar province along with two other policemen (Post, AP, AFP, Reuters, Pajhwok). The suicide bomber was reportedly wearing a police uniform, and the Taliban have claimed responsibility for the attack.
Afghan president Hamid Karzai invited Pakistani prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani to visit him this weekend in Kabul, and the two will discuss "bilateral relations and regional matters," according to a Pakistani foreign ministry spokeswoman (AFP). A Pakistani official said yesterday that Pakistan would support a plan that would allow the Taliban to open an office in Turkey as part of efforts at dialogue between the insurgent movement and the Afghan government (AFP, Reuters). And the Pakistani Army has begun a construction project to build a road from the northwest Pakistani town of Bannu through Pakistan’s tribal areas, ending at the Afghan border town of Ghulam Khan in North Waziristan (AFP, DT). The road, which will cost an estimated $48 million and take 18 months to complete, is designed to serve as a central trade route between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
In late January in Lahore, two French citizens of Pakistani origin were arrested for alleged links to the Pakistani Taliban and for meeting with a man with suspected ties to al-Qaeda (AP, Reuters). Intelligence officials said the men had planned to go to Waziristan to seek militant training, and that the man with suspected ties to al-Qaeda provided information that led to the arrest of Umar Patek, an Indonesian militant linked to the 2002 Bali bombings. The AP has today’s must-read reporting on the details of how Patek was captured earlier this year in Pakistan, one of the biggest terror arrests under the Obama administration (AP).
A U.S. official reiterated yesterday that the U.S. has no plans to halt C.I.A. operations in Pakistan, despite Pakistani objections (AFP). In Quetta, a religious leader and one of his students were killed when gunmen on motorbikes opened fire near a shrine last night (Dawn). The cleric’s son and another student were injured in the attack. And residents of Pakistan’s Swat Valley, site of a major military offensive in 2009, are worried that slow economic development could roll back security gains (Reuters).
As a confidence building measure, Pakistan released 89 Indian fisherman authorities had arrested in the last 13 to 19 months for fishing in Pakistani waters (AFP, PTI, DT). Earlier this week, India released 39 Pakistani prisoners.
Coming to a theater near you
Yesterday, Lahore opened the city’s first 3-D movie theater with a red carpet showing of "Avatar," and the organizers noted that a 3-D cinema costs 10 times as much as a standard theater (ET). Reusable 3-D glasses will be for sale for eager moviegoers.
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