Daily brief: Clinton promises to fight aid restrictions

Fighting cuts   In a letter written to members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Tuesday and later leaked to the media, U.S. secretary of state Hillary Clinton threatened to push for a veto against a proposed bill to cut or impose restrictions on funding to several key countries, including Pakistan (AFP, CNN, DT, Post, ...

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images
JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images
JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images

Fighting cuts
 
In a letter written to members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Tuesday and later leaked to the media, U.S. secretary of state Hillary Clinton threatened to push for a veto against a proposed bill to cut or impose restrictions on funding to several key countries, including Pakistan (AFP, CNN, DT, Post, Dawn). Another panel, the House Appropriations Committee subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations, unanimously voted for a bill Wednesday that would put tough restrictions on civilian aid to Pakistan (ET, Post, AFP). In other news, Dawn indicates that a new report from the Congressional Research Service highlights steps taken by Pakistan in recent years to prevent nuclear proliferation and improve the security of the country's nuclear stockpile (Dawn).

Continued violence in Karachi has claimed 11 lives on Thursday, as the Sindh province inspector general Wajid Ali Durrani said police had arrested at least 90 people involved in targeted killings, but added that "the criminals have more sophisticated arms than the police" (ET, ET, ET). A Human Rights Watch report released Thursday shines a light on the continued "forced disappearances" and torture of suspected separatists, activists, and militants in the province of Baluchistan (BBC, AP). The commission investigating the death of journalist Saleem Shahzad has obtained his "unofficial" phone records, showing that his last call from the phone was made to the producer for television journalist Asma Chaudhry (Dawn). And the Tribune tells the story of a woman accused of theft who alleges she was tortured by police for two days, before being locked overnight in a morgue (ET). 

The ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) continued its spat with Pakistan's Supreme Court Thursday, as both sides battled over the investigation into an alleged plot to swindle Hajj pilgrims (ET). The United Nations' Food and Agriculture Office said Wednesday that it would need $96 million to help Pakistani flood victims over the next two years (Dawn). Pakistan's finance ministry has postponed a scheduled meeting to plan for tax collection next year (ET). And former prime minister Nawaz Sharif was unanimously elected Wednesday to run the party that bears his name, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) (Dawn, ET).   

Fighting cuts
 
In a letter written to members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Tuesday and later leaked to the media, U.S. secretary of state Hillary Clinton threatened to push for a veto against a proposed bill to cut or impose restrictions on funding to several key countries, including Pakistan (AFP, CNN, DT, Post, Dawn). Another panel, the House Appropriations Committee subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations, unanimously voted for a bill Wednesday that would put tough restrictions on civilian aid to Pakistan (ET, Post, AFP). In other news, Dawn indicates that a new report from the Congressional Research Service highlights steps taken by Pakistan in recent years to prevent nuclear proliferation and improve the security of the country’s nuclear stockpile (Dawn).

Continued violence in Karachi has claimed 11 lives on Thursday, as the Sindh province inspector general Wajid Ali Durrani said police had arrested at least 90 people involved in targeted killings, but added that "the criminals have more sophisticated arms than the police" (ET, ET, ET). A Human Rights Watch report released Thursday shines a light on the continued "forced disappearances" and torture of suspected separatists, activists, and militants in the province of Baluchistan (BBC, AP). The commission investigating the death of journalist Saleem Shahzad has obtained his "unofficial" phone records, showing that his last call from the phone was made to the producer for television journalist Asma Chaudhry (Dawn). And the Tribune tells the story of a woman accused of theft who alleges she was tortured by police for two days, before being locked overnight in a morgue (ET). 

The ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) continued its spat with Pakistan’s Supreme Court Thursday, as both sides battled over the investigation into an alleged plot to swindle Hajj pilgrims (ET). The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Office said Wednesday that it would need $96 million to help Pakistani flood victims over the next two years (Dawn). Pakistan’s finance ministry has postponed a scheduled meeting to plan for tax collection next year (ET). And former prime minister Nawaz Sharif was unanimously elected Wednesday to run the party that bears his name, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) (Dawn, ET).   

The Times investigates the mystery surrounding an anonymous writing competition at Lahore’s University of the Punjab that will evaluate poems and essays eulogizing slain al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden (NYT). And former U.S. president George W. Bush, in an interview for an upcoming documentary, reportedly says that when he found out about bin Laden’s death, he "felt a sense of closure…a sense of gratitude that justice had been done" (AFP).  

Spreading fear

Analysts continue to assess the impact of the suicide bombing that killed Kandahar mayor and dual Afghan-American citizen Ghulam Haider Hamidi Wednesday, as TIME offers a profile of Hamidi, a staunch anti-corruption figure, and the Telegraph looks at the most recent adaptation in Taliban tactics, hiding bombs in turbans (AP, Reuters, ABC, TIME, Tel, LAT, Post, BBC, Globe and Mail). At least 17 people have been killed in an assault involving suicide bombers and gunmen on a government compound in the Uruzgan town of Tarin Kowt (BBC, AP). And the AP reports on the toll the war in Afghanistan has taken on Afghan police, who suffered more than twice as many casualties as Afghan soldiers or U.S. and foreign forces last year (AP).

A military court convicted Sgt. Derrick Miller of premeditated murder in the killing of an Afghan civilian last year, sentencing him to life in prison (BBC, Guardian). And a French soldier in Kapisa province killed three civilians Tuesday — including a pregnant woman — after their car failed to stop at a checkpoint, prompting a call from Afghan president Hamid Karzai for NATO to avoid killing civilians (BBC, CNN, AFP).

Lt. Gen. William Caldwell, the American officer in charge of training Afghan security forces, was cleared by the Defense Department Wednesday of allegations that he had used psychological warfare tactics to push U.S. senators to provide more money for the Afghan war (Post, AP). And NPR reports on the painstaking efforts to rebuild two giant stone Buddhas in the province of Bamiyan destroyed by the Taliban in 2001 (NPR).

That’s what she said?

Afghanistan is set to get its own version of the popular British and American television series "The Office," when "The Ministry" premiers on Afghanistan’s largest network, Tolo TV, later this year (Tel, NYT, CNN, Reuters). The comedy, like its predecessors, revolves around a phony "documentary," this one about the ministry of garbage in the fake country of Hechland.

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