Daily brief: Americans indicted for alleged illegal lobbying for Pakistan
Full disclosure The Department of Justice Tuesday arrested one American citizen, Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai, and indicted another believed to be in Pakistan, Zaheer Ahmed, on charges that they acted on behalf of Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI) without registering as foreign agents (DOJ, NYT, Post, ET, Tel, WSJ, FT, AP, ABC, AFP). The ...
The Department of Justice Tuesday arrested one American citizen, Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai, and indicted another believed to be in Pakistan, Zaheer Ahmed, on charges that they acted on behalf of Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI) without registering as foreign agents (DOJ, NYT, Post, ET, Tel, WSJ, FT, AP, ABC, AFP). The criminal complaint and related documents filed against the men allege that they took direction and payments from the ISI, funneled through Fai’s Kashmiri American Center (KAC) to organize high-profile events, trips to Kashmir, and give political donations in order to push for a referendum on self-determination in the disputed region (LAT). ISI payments for contributions allegedly reached $100,000 per year, with the intelligence agency reportedly spending some $4 million in the past two decades to influence Kashmir policy covertly in the United States (NYT, CNN, Tel).
After meeting with Indian external affairs minister S.M. Krishna in India Tuesday, U.S. secretary of state Hillary Clinton called on Pakistan to "swiftly and urgently" prosecute those allegedly behind the 2008 Mumbai attacks, and said the United States would not tolerate safe havens for terrorists (Post, WSJ, DT). The United States is also reportedly pushing aid agencies in Pakistan’s tribal areas receiving U.S. funding to "brand" the aid as coming from the United States, in a push to increase American visibility in the area (AP).
A retired Pakistan army officer serving on the commission investigating the presence of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, Gen. Nadeem Ahmed, stirred controversy Tuesday by saying in an interview that he did not believe the country’s army or intelligence service had assisted the slain al-Qaeda leader (AP, ET, Dawn). And the commission investigating the killing of journalist Saleem Shahzad on Tuesday reportedly viewed recordings of the road near where Shahzad’s car was dumped, and is trying to gain access to his phone records and emails (ET, Dawn).
Six stories round out the news: Hina Rabbani Khar was officially sworn in Tuesday as Pakistan’s foreign minister, becoming the first woman to hold the position (ET). Seven Americans were barred Tuesday from entering Peshawar after being told they did not have the correct documentation (Dawn). Pakistan’s electoral commission on Tuesday registered former military rule Pervez Musharraf’s All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) (Dawn). Pakistan’s navy inducted its first squadron of drone aircraft Wednesday (ET). According to the Indonesian government, terrorist leader Umar Patek, arrested in January in Abbottabad, will be deported to Indonesia to face prosecution (Sydney Morning Herald). And CNN reports on the growing problem of infanticide in Pakistan, with one private foundation saying 1,200 newborns were found killed last year (CNN).
U.S. and NATO forces transferred security to Afghan control in the important southern city of Lashkar Gah Wednesday, the day after militants attempted to bomb a nearby police station (Tel, BBC, Guardian). A bicycle bomb killed five people in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif, which is scheduled to move to Afghan control Saturday, while in Kandahar militants stormed a police station, engaging in a violent gunfight and killing the station’s commander and at least three other policemen (Reuters, BBC, AP). Nick Schifrin reports on the continued Taliban threat in Laghman province’s capital of Mehterlam, where Afghan forces took over security on Tuesday (ABC).
Reuters lays out the challenges still facing Afghanistan’s police forces (Reuters). And the Post reports on Afghan president Hamid Karzai’s possible plans to fill the vacuum left in southern Afghanistan by the killing last week of his half-brother Ahmed Wali Karzai (Post).
And finally today, Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid denied messages sent via email and from his phone early Wednesday that Taliban leader Mullah Omar had died, saying that the United States had hacked in and sent the messages (NYT, CNN, Tel, AP, Reuters). Mujahid also said the Taliban would take revenge on "the telephone network providers" over the supposed hacking (BBC).
Iron Chef Kabul?
The Telegraph reports that U.S. Special Forces soldiers will soon be taught how to butcher animals following Islamic precepts, as well as how to prepare an Afghan meal using "indigenous cooking equipment" (Tel). The goal is for the soldiers to be able to prepare a meal "cooked in the style and presentation that would be expected by local village elders."
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