Daily brief: American dead arrive at Dover

Somber homecoming President Barack Obama flew to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware Tuesday afternoon to witness the transfer of the remains of 30 American servicemen and eight Afghans killed Saturday when their CH-47 helicopter was shot down by Taliban fighters (Post, Tel, Bloomberg, McClatchy, CSM, CNN, BBC, WSJ, ET, LAT, Reuters). Obama stood in ...

Pete Souza/White House via Getty Images
Pete Souza/White House via Getty Images
Pete Souza/White House via Getty Images

Somber homecoming

President Barack Obama flew to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware Tuesday afternoon to witness the transfer of the remains of 30 American servicemen and eight Afghans killed Saturday when their CH-47 helicopter was shot down by Taliban fighters (Post, Tel, Bloomberg, McClatchy, CSM, CNN, BBC, WSJ, ET, LAT, Reuters). Obama stood in a C-17 transport plane while a chaplain said a prayer over the cases containing the remains, before meeting and addressing 75 family members of the crash victims. The investigation into the incident, which killed 17 members of the elite Naval Special Warfare Development Group, continues, as the L.A. Times details the secret lives and careers of Navy SEALs (AP, TIME, LAT).

Afghan president Hamid Karzai issued a decree Wednesday urging the country's Independent Election Commission (IEC) to ratify the rulings of the Karzai-appointed special election court in invalidating 62 parliamentarians elected last year, but stated that only the IEC could decide final election results (AP, Pajhwok). The decree appeared to be an  attempt to put an end to a constitutional controversy over the authority to evaluate election claims, after the special courts' creation sparked protests and allegations that Karzai sought to rig election results in his favor. Bonus read: Scott Worden, "Afghanistan's ongoing election drama" (FP).

Somber homecoming

President Barack Obama flew to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware Tuesday afternoon to witness the transfer of the remains of 30 American servicemen and eight Afghans killed Saturday when their CH-47 helicopter was shot down by Taliban fighters (Post, Tel, Bloomberg, McClatchy, CSM, CNN, BBC, WSJ, ET, LAT, Reuters). Obama stood in a C-17 transport plane while a chaplain said a prayer over the cases containing the remains, before meeting and addressing 75 family members of the crash victims. The investigation into the incident, which killed 17 members of the elite Naval Special Warfare Development Group, continues, as the L.A. Times details the secret lives and careers of Navy SEALs (AP, TIME, LAT).

Afghan president Hamid Karzai issued a decree Wednesday urging the country’s Independent Election Commission (IEC) to ratify the rulings of the Karzai-appointed special election court in invalidating 62 parliamentarians elected last year, but stated that only the IEC could decide final election results (AP, Pajhwok). The decree appeared to be an  attempt to put an end to a constitutional controversy over the authority to evaluate election claims, after the special courts’ creation sparked protests and allegations that Karzai sought to rig election results in his favor. Bonus read: Scott Worden, "Afghanistan’s ongoing election drama" (FP).

NATO troops engaged in a firefight with Afghan police under unclear circumstances Wednesday in the provinces of Ghazni and Kandahar, reportedly killing four Afghan police (AP, AFP). And Karzai is making a push for clerics to convince insurgents not to place suicide bombs in turbans or target mosques, as a British commander warned that a small group of Taliban were plotting "spectacular attacks" against British forces in Helmand province (Tel, Tel).

The AP has reportedly obtained a copy of a February 2010 cable from then-U.S. ambassador to Kabul Karl Eikenberry, warning that a planned program to expedite visas for Afghans who worked with the U.S. government, "could drain [Afghanistan] of our very best civilian and military partners: our Afghan employees" (AP).

War in a faraway place

A suspected U.S. drone strike hit a compound near North Waziristan’s capital Miram Shah Wednesday, reportedly killing up to 25 fighters linked to the Haqqani Network (Reuters, AJE, CNN, AP, Dawn, BBC, Tel). Meanwhile, in South Waziristan, fighting between tribesmen and militants is said to have killed up to nine people (ET). Pakistani authorities have deported five Chinese nationals to the restive western province of Xinjiang, an area at the heart of China’s planned "Silk Road" that will include a new rail line through Pakistan to the port of Gwadar (Dawn, WSJ). And Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI) denied holding five activists from the radical group Hizb-ut-Tahrir Wednesday (ET)

Three people were killed in Karachi overnight, and a grenade attack in the city’s Lyari neighborhood wounded three, including a local official of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) (ET, Dawn, ET). Pakistani interior minister Rehman Malik announced Tuesday that the deadline for weapons owners in the city to obtain new licenses has been extended until the end of September, as violence and governance in the city and the wider province of Sindh continues to dominate Pakistani political debates (Dawn, ET, DT, ET). And a panel from Pakistan’s Supreme Court expressed disappointment yesterday at the government’s delays in appointing a court-ordered commission to investigate the disappearances of several hundred people in Baluchistan (ET, DT).

The U.N. children’s fund UNICEF warned Tuesday about the rise in polio cases in Pakistan, saying in a statement that the country could be the "last polio reservoir worldwide" (BBC, Dawn). And the BBC has a special feature on Pakistan’s growing AIDS problem (BBC).

Finally, a shallow earthquake struck parts of Baluchistan and Karachi Wednesday, though no damage has been reported (Dawn, AFP).

Flashpoint

Pakistani foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar addressed the country’s National Assembly Wednesday, telling the body that Pakistan seeks a "new chapter" in relations with India after talks last month with her Indian counterpart, adding that the two sides will meet in Islamabad next month to discuss confidence-building measures around nuclear and conventional weapons (Dawn, DT). And Lydia Polgreen reports on the calm political situation in Indian-administered Kashmir (NYT).

Trouble on the big screen

Despite the impending release of a number of films at the end of the holy month of Ramadan, Pakistan’s "Lollywood," the name of the country’s movie industry based in Lahore, is reportedly having trouble finding theaters that will feature its productions (ET). Pakistan’s indigenous film industry faces stiff competition from India.

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