Daily brief: Bin Laden family to stay in Pakistan
Staying put The independent Pakistani commission tasked with investigating the killing and presence of Osama bin Laden in the country met for the first time Tuesday, and ordered the government not to repatriate the former al-Qaeda leader’s three widows and six children (WSJ, BBC, Dawn, ET, AFP, AP, Reuters). The family are currently in the ...
The independent Pakistani commission tasked with investigating the killing and presence of Osama bin Laden in the country met for the first time Tuesday, and ordered the government not to repatriate the former al-Qaeda leader’s three widows and six children (WSJ, BBC, Dawn, ET, AFP, AP, Reuters). The family are currently in the custody of the Inter Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI). Rob Crilly reports that the ISI is demanding the CIA sign a contract promising not to engage in unilateral raids inside Pakistan against al-Qaeda (Tel).
A suspected U.S. drone strike Tuesday in the North Waziristan town of Mir Ali "completely destroyed" a purported militant guesthouse, killing at least four alleged fighters (BBC, AFP, AFP/ET, Reuters, CNN). Reuters reports that according to U.S. officials, CIA personnel are still present at the the Shamsi airbase in Baluchistan, which could be used to launch surveillance drones even if the Pakistani government demands a stop to armed drones attacks from the base (Reuters). And at least 24 people have been killed in targeted attacks in the last 24 hours in Karachi, as the BBC reports that 1,100 people have been killed in political violence in the city since the start of 2011 (BBC, AFP, Dawn, ET, Dawn, DT, Dawn, Dawn).
Pakistan’s army is slowly moving through Kurram agency, as its offensive in the restive tribal area, begun on Sunday, has displaced a reported 28,000 people (AFP, ET, Dawn). Over 100 militants attacked a village in Upper Dir after crossing the border with Afghanistan, clashing with local fighters and killing at least one person (Dawn, ET, AP, The News). Reuters reports that the use of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) in Pakistan has increased dramatically, with much of the explosive power coming from the readily available fertilizer ammonium nitrate (Reuters). And the Tribune profiles the Khyber agency town of Bara, a "ghost town" since 2009 operations to clear it of fighters from Mangal Bagh’s Lashkar-e-Islam group (ET).
Four stories close out the news today: Canada’s government on Tuesday formally designated the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) a terrorist organization (AFP). TIME’s Omar Warraich details the risks posed to journalists who cover Pakistan’s security forces (TIME). The ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) on Tuesday observed a "black day" to mark the 1977 overthrow of the country’s civilian government by Gen. Zia ul-Haq (DT, ET). And the Post reports on challenges to increasing exports of Pakistani mangoes to the United States, an important goal of American civilian assistance to the country (Post).
A fight broke out in Afghanistan’s parliament Tuesday as a majority of the body for the first time debated impeaching Afghan president Hamid Karzai over the legality of Karzai’s appointment of a special tribunal to decide election complaints (NYT). Two weeks ago the court disqualified 62 members of parliament elected last year, sparking what could become a constitutional crisis in the country. Pajhwok reports that since the tribunal ruling, some parliamentarians have been carrying guns during sessions (Pajhwok).
Another fight broke out yesterday as two female parliamentarians came to blows during a discussion of rocket attacks from Pakistan (CNN). Karzai said Tuesday that he would not fire on Pakistan in response to the rocket and mortar attacks, despite protests as well as requests from military officers (Reuters, DT, AFP).
The Guardian first reported Tuesday that a March 25 airstrike conducted by a British Reaper drone killed four civilians riding in vehicles with an alleged insurgent commander (Guardian, AJE, Tel, AFP). The British drone program’s pilots are based at Creech air force base in Nevada, where pilots remain stationed for three years at a time (Guardian). And British prime minister David Cameron said in a news conference with Karzai Tuesday that the Taliban could join a "political process" in Afghanistan, provided they lay down their arms (Reuters, Guardian, Tel, DT). Cameron, set to announce today a "modest" withdrawal of British forces from Afghanistan, also expressed condolences for a British soldier found dead under still-mysterious circumstances Monday (Tel, AFP, Guardian).
Canadian forces Tuesday turned responsibility for their last district in Afghanistan’s south over to U.S. forces, bringing their combat mission in Afghanistan to a close (CNN, BBC, Tel, Globe and Mail). President Barack Obama met Tuesday with his new Afghanistan team, including top U.S. and NATO commander in the country Lt. Gen. John Allen and newly-appointed ambassador to Kabul Ryan C. Crocker (Pajhwok). And finally, a cargo plane operated by an Azerbaijani company and carrying supplies for the U.S. military has crashed outside of Kabul, potentially killing up to nine employees (AP, AFP).
The government in the Pakistani province of Sindh has banned "pillion-riding," in Karachi, referring to riding in the seat behind the driver of a motorcycle or similar vehicle (Dawn). However, according to Dawn, the ban does not apply to, "women, children below the age of 12 years, senior citizens, disabled persons, journalists, personnel of law enforcement agencies in uniform and employees of essential services."
Sign up here to receive the Daily Brief in your inbox. Follow the AfPak Channel on Twitter and Facebook.
More from Foreign Policy
At Long Last, the Foreign Service Gets the Netflix Treatment
Keri Russell gets Drexel furniture but no Senate confirmation hearing.
How Macron Is Blocking EU Strategy on Russia and China
As a strategic consensus emerges in Europe, France is in the way.
What the Bush-Obama China Memos Reveal
Newly declassified documents contain important lessons for U.S. China policy.
Russia’s Boom Business Goes Bust
Moscow’s arms exports have fallen to levels not seen since the Soviet Union’s collapse.