The South Asia Channel

Daily brief: U.S. finds bin Laden “diary”

Bin Laden in charge  U.S. counterterrorism officials said yesterday that the Navy SEALs who killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden seized his "meticulous" handwritten diary along with other documents and electronic information, showing that bin Laden was in operational control of al-Qaeda, communicating with his lieutenants, offering suggestions to diversify targets, and calculating the number ...

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

Bin Laden in charge 

U.S. counterterrorism officials said yesterday that the Navy SEALs who killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden seized his "meticulous" handwritten diary along with other documents and electronic information, showing that bin Laden was in operational control of al-Qaeda, communicating with his lieutenants, offering suggestions to diversify targets, and calculating the number of Americans that would need to die before America would depart the Middle East (AP, Independent, CNN, AFP). Bin Laden also reportedly retained a singular focus on the West, a position that caused tension with other members of al-Qaeda (Post).

While authorities say the diary and other documents contain no "imminent" threat information, they do reportedly show that bin Laden was in direct communication with Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), and even offered criticism of an article published in the affiliate’s English-language magazine "Inspire" (ProPublica, AP).  

Protest, protest, protest 

Pakistani opposition leader Nawaz Sharif yesterday called for a civilian-led probe into how the Pakistani Army, chastened by the raid, could have allowed U.S. forces to penetrate Pakistan and exit the country without being engaged (NYT, Reuters, ET). The AP has a must-read story on the history of involvement between Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and various militant groups (AP). According to former Taliban militants and U.S. officials, the ISI chief after the 9/11 attacks told Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar, "Protect Osama. Hide him. We will help you." And the family of bin Laden’s youngest wife, Amal Ahmed Abdulfattah, tells the AP that bin Laden gave her the choice before the 9/11 attacks to leave Afghanistan, but she opted to stay and be "martyred" with the terrorist leader (AP).

Allegations of official Pakistani support for the militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba will be on show at the trial next week of Chicago-based Canadian man Tahawwur Hussain Rana, accused of supporting the 2008 Mumbai attacks (Reuters). Jonathan Landay and Saeed Shah explain the reasons the United States will continue to work with Pakistan despite reports of official support for militants (McClatchy).

Unknown assailants in Karachi threw grenades at the Saudi Arabian consulate in the city yesterday, while AQAP leader Nasir al-Wuhayshi and several leaders of the Somali militant organization al-Shabaab threatened renewed attacks against the west in statements posted to jihadist websites (DT, AFP). And Afghan officials tell the Journal that some members of the Taliban have been providing information on al-Qaeda operatives in the last several months to show their commitment to reconciliation, a claim dismissed by some U.S. and Pakistani officials (WSJ).

In other news, a suspected U.S. drone strike in the Datta Khel area of North Waziristan targeting a "pick-up van" has reportedly killed up to eight suspected militants, the third such strike since the death last Monday of Osama bin Laden (Reuters, AFP, BBC, The News, AP, CNN). Five bodies bearing gunshot wounds have been found in the Pakistani province of Baluchistan, and at least three of the dead were political activists (Dawn).

Keep calm and pull out?

British Prime Minister David Cameron is reportedly pushing for a withdrawal of some 450 soldiers from Afghanistan by July of this year, a move that has put him at odds with some of his top military leadership (Telegraph). Britain’s chief of defense staff Gen. Sir David Richards and two others testified in the House of Commons yesterday that "serious intelligence failures," especially about tribal organization and U.S. operations in southern Afghanistan, led British troops to underestimate the Taliban when they deployed deep into Helmand province in 2006 (Guardian).

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is expected to visit Kabul today and tomorrow to discuss regional cooperation, counterterrorism, and other bilateral issues (Reuters, AP, Pajhwok). Additionally, India is expected to announce up to $100 million in aid for Afghanistan, and Singh offered his support for the Afghan government’s reconciliation efforts (AP).  

The United States yesterday declared Badruddin Haqqani, a senior military commander of the insurgent Haqqani network, a "specially designated global terrorist," forbidding Americans from doing business with him and restricting any assets under U.S. control (Bloomberg, Daily Times, Reuters, AP). The U.N. also added him to its al-Qaeda and Taliban sanctions list, requiring all member nations to freeze his assets and enforce a travel ban and arms embargo against him.

And in the Afghan province of Nangarhar a U.S.-led "night raid" is reported to have accidentally killed a young girl and an Afghan police officer (AP).

Must love dogs 

The New York Times yesterday pointed out the major increase in the use of dogs in Afghanistan, where they serve increasingly as bomb-detectors, and play roles in protection, tracking, and search and rescue (NYT). There are about 2,700 dogs currently in service with the U.S. military. Bonus read: War Dog (FP). 

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