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The South Asia Channel
Daily brief: Ahmed Wali Karzai buried in ancestral village
Laid to rest Attack helicopters circled as a weeping Afghan president Hamid Karzai buried his half-brother Ahmed Wali Karzai in the family’s ancestral village of Karz today, after leading a convoy of thousands of mourners from Kandahar City (Post, AP, Reuters, Tel, BBC). After the funeral, Karzai made an emotional appeal to the Taliban, who ...
Laid to rest
Attack helicopters circled as a weeping Afghan president Hamid Karzai buried his half-brother Ahmed Wali Karzai in the family’s ancestral village of Karz today, after leading a convoy of thousands of mourners from Kandahar City (Post, AP, Reuters, Tel, BBC). After the funeral, Karzai made an emotional appeal to the Taliban, who claimed responsibility for killing Ahmed Wali, saying, "My message for them (the Taliban) is that my countrymen, my brothers, should stop killing their own people…It is easy to kill and everyone can do it, but the real man is the one who can save people’s lives" (AP, Guardian). The Times reconstructs the events leading up to Ahmed Wali’s murder at the hands of his confidant and police commander Sardar Muhammad, and Afghan officials announced today that "several" unidentified suspects had been arrested in connection with the killing (NYT, Pajhwok).
A towering, powerful, and feared figure in Afghanistan’s south, Ahmed Wali’s death has sparked concern amongst Western officials and Afghans alike that violence will spike as others vie to fill the power vacuum in the area (Post, NYT, Guardian, WSJ, Tel, BBC, LAT, NPR). The governor of Helmand province, Gulab Mangal, survived a roadside mine explosion while on his way to the funeral (CNN, AFP, AJE). Bonus reads: FP’s coverage of Ahmed Wali’s death and what it means for Afghanistan (FP, FP, FP, FP).
In other news, five French soldiers and an Afghan civilian were killed in a suicide bombing in Kapisa province, while a suicide bomber attacked a joint Afghan-NATO base in Wardak province (BBC, AP, Pajhwok, Pajhwok). NPR investigates the growth in Afghanistan’s drug economy as many fear aid to Afghanistan will shrink (NPR). And a wounded soldier and the families of two others killed by an Afghan interpreter in January 2010 have sued the U.S. contractor who hired the attacker (AP).
A little help
The Guardian reports that the United States is pressuring Pakistan to release the doctor who supposedly set up a fake vaccination ring in Abbottabad to help track Osama bin Laden, Shakil Afridi, as well as his family (Guardian, ET, Guardian). And according to U.S. officials, evidence recovered from bin Laden’s compound revealed that he was aware in advance of the 7/7 London transportation bombing plot as well as a failed plot to bomb transatlantic airlines in 2006; however, the officials said that 7/7 was the last successful terrorist plot in which bin Laden played a part (Reuters, Tel).
Pakistan’s military Corps Commanders reportedly decided at a meeting Tuesday not to seek a reversal in the U.S. decision to withhold nearly $800 million in military aid, though no word was given as to whether Pakistan plans to withdraw soldiers from the country’s border with Afghanistan, as defense minister Chaudhry Ahmad Mukhtar has threatened (ET, DT, CBS, Post, Reuters). Pakistan’s intelligence chief Lt. Gen. Ahmad Shuja Pasha arrived in Washington today, his first visit since bin Laden’s death (BBC, ET, CNN, AFP, AP). And the Post looks at aggressive American efforts to court Pakistani public opinion through exchanges and electronic media, as security concerns have kept American diplomats behind the walls of their compounds (Post).
A fourth drone strike since Monday evening reportedly hit a compound in North Waziristan Tuesday evening, bringing the death toll in the wave of attacks to 61, though casualty reports from the strikes remain highly varied (The News, Dawn, Reuters, DT). In Karachi, police announced that they had arrested several militants purportedly linked to violence there, including a Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) commander named Ali Imran, as an uneasy calm persists in the city (DT, Dawn, BBC, Dawn). The Tribune indicates that Pakistan’s military supposedly resisted government pressure to stage operations in Karachi that could have further inflamed tensions there (ET). And a bill to alter the system of governance in the province of Sindh passed in the provincial parliament despite a protest by the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) (Dawn, ET).
The U.N. has announced that it is increasing its operations in Kurram agency, where 84,000 people are believed to have been displaced by fighting between the government and militants,while two women in Bajaur agency were killed by mortar shells fired from Afghanistan (AP, AFP, DT). And as Pakistan’s monsoon season is about to begin, many victims of last year’s devastating floods have yet to recover (Dawn, ET).
A recent study has found that Karachi is the least expensive city in the world for expatriates (Dawn). According to the report, prepared by the Mercer group, it costs three times less for a foreigner to live in Karachi than in Luanda, Angola.