Daily brief: Taliban who shot down SEAL chopper reported killed

Retribution In a statement Wednesday, the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan Gen. John Allen said that U.S. F-16 fighter aircraft had killed the Taliban fighters responsible for the downing Saturday of a CH-47 helicopter carrying 30 Americans, including 17 Navy SEALs and five Special Operations support personnel, as well as eight Afghans (NYT, ...

ROMEO GACAD/AFP/Getty Images
ROMEO GACAD/AFP/Getty Images
ROMEO GACAD/AFP/Getty Images

Retribution

In a statement Wednesday, the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan Gen. John Allen said that U.S. F-16 fighter aircraft had killed the Taliban fighters responsible for the downing Saturday of a CH-47 helicopter carrying 30 Americans, including 17 Navy SEALs and five Special Operations support personnel, as well as eight Afghans (NYT, BBC, AP, McClatchy, LAT, Post, WSJ, AFP, Tel, Guardian, CNN, CNN, DT, Bloomberg). Allen said that the airstrike occurred Monday after U.S. forces tracked a group of less than 10 Taliban to a compound, while a separate NATO statement said that the strike had also killed local Taliban leader Mullah Mohibullah. The Taliban leader targeted in the raid the SEAL team was supporting has yet to be captured (NYT).

Investigations into the helicopter's destruction continue, and U.S. defense secretary Leon Panetta announced Wednesday that the names of those killed would be released "within 24 hours" (Reuters, AFP, Post). Virginia, where the Naval Special Warfare Development Group is based, has declared a day of mourning for those killed, as families and communities cope with Saturday's deaths, the largest one-day toll since the Afghan war began (Post, LAT, Post). Bonus read: "A statement from the family of Jared Day" (FP).

Retribution

In a statement Wednesday, the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan Gen. John Allen said that U.S. F-16 fighter aircraft had killed the Taliban fighters responsible for the downing Saturday of a CH-47 helicopter carrying 30 Americans, including 17 Navy SEALs and five Special Operations support personnel, as well as eight Afghans (NYT, BBC, AP, McClatchy, LAT, Post, WSJ, AFP, Tel, Guardian, CNN, CNN, DT, Bloomberg). Allen said that the airstrike occurred Monday after U.S. forces tracked a group of less than 10 Taliban to a compound, while a separate NATO statement said that the strike had also killed local Taliban leader Mullah Mohibullah. The Taliban leader targeted in the raid the SEAL team was supporting has yet to be captured (NYT).

Investigations into the helicopter’s destruction continue, and U.S. defense secretary Leon Panetta announced Wednesday that the names of those killed would be released "within 24 hours" (Reuters, AFP, Post). Virginia, where the Naval Special Warfare Development Group is based, has declared a day of mourning for those killed, as families and communities cope with Saturday’s deaths, the largest one-day toll since the Afghan war began (Post, LAT, Post). Bonus read: "A statement from the family of Jared Day" (FP).

Three stories round out the Afghanistan news: The Telegraph reports that initial direct talks between the United States and the Taliban had broken down due to leaks about the meetings and the identity of the Taliban interlocutor, Tayyed Agha (Tel). The Guardian looks at the confusion and ambiguity surrounding a decree issued Wednesday by Afghan president Hamid Karzai related to last year’s disputed Afghan parliamentary elections (Guardian). And Karzai’s office said in a statement Thursday that he would not seek a third term as president, in keeping with Afghanistan’s constitutional limit of two terms (AFP). Bonus read: Scott Worden, "Karzai blinks in Afghan election crisis" (FP).

Uneasy access?

Rep. Peter King (R-NY), the chairman of the U.S. House Homeland Security Committee, called for an investigation Wednesday into the access to sensitive information allegedly given by the Obama administration to filmmaker Kathryn Bigelow, who is making a film about the hunt for Osama bin Laden (BBC, Tel). A National Security Council spokesman told the Post that King’s claim is "ridiculous" (Post). And Pakistani authorities have sent suspected Bali bomb plotter Umar Patek — arrested in January in the city of Abbottabad, where bin Laden was later killed — back to his native Indonesia to face trial (ET, CBS, BBC, AFP, AP, The News).

At least seven police and civilians have been killed in Peshawar after a teenaged female suicide bomber struck people gathered around the scene of an earlier explosion, a remote-controlled bomb that targeted a police truck (BBC, CNN, Reuters, AP, AFP). In separate incidents in Baluchistan Wednesday two construction workers, a teacher, and three police officers were shot dead by unknown attackers (ET, DT, ET). In Orakzai, five militants were reportedly killed Wednesday when their vehicle struck a landmine (Dawn). And the commission investigating the death of journalist Saleem Shahzad took witness testimony Wednesday (Dawn).

A Rawalpindi anti-terrorism court has issued a contempt of court notice for Pakistani interior minister Rehman Malik, after Zaki ur-Rehman Lakhvi, who stands accused of involvement in the 2008 Mumbai attacks, alleged that Malik lied about the government setting up a commission to investigate the attacks (ET). In New Delhi, Pakistani militant Mohammed Arif lost his appeal to stop his execution, following his conviction for murder related to the 2000 Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) assault on the city’s historic Red Fort (AFP). Kashmiri separatist leader Yassin Malik welcomed talks between India and Pakistan Wednesday over the future of the disputed region, but warned that a failure to come to a resolution could lead to more violence (Reuters). And the BBC reports on an apology written by a former Pakistani fighter pilot to the family of an Indian pilot killed when the former shot down an Indian civilian airplane during the 1965 war between the two countries (BBC).

And finally, NPR’s Julie McCarthy digs into the debates surrounding birth control in Pakistan, which has one of the fastest-growing populations in Asia (NPR).

Freezer burn

Pajhwok reported last week that the Taliban have banned the sale of frozen chickens in Afghanistan’s Ghazni province, on the grounds that they do not conform to Islamic dietary laws (Pajhwok). The militants contend that the chickens, cheaper than live poultry and imported from the United States, India, Brazil, and China, are not slaughtered or cleaned appropriately.

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