Daily brief: Dozens killed in Karachi violence

Wonk Watch: James Shinn and James Dobbins, "Afghan Peace Talks: A Primer" (RAND). Escalation Spiraling violence in Karachi killed at least 33 people in the last 24 hours, including a former parliamentarian and senior leader of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Waja Karim Dad (AP, BBC, Reuters, Dawn, Tel, DT, The News). The violence has ...

ASIF HASSAN/AFP/Getty Images
ASIF HASSAN/AFP/Getty Images
ASIF HASSAN/AFP/Getty Images

Wonk Watch: James Shinn and James Dobbins, "Afghan Peace Talks: A Primer" (RAND).

Escalation

Spiraling violence in Karachi killed at least 33 people in the last 24 hours, including a former parliamentarian and senior leader of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Waja Karim Dad (AP, BBC, Reuters, Dawn, Tel, DT, The News). The violence has shut down about 60 percent of the city, as authorities report more bodies turning up bearing evidence of severe torture (AP, BBC, Dawn). The killings in the city have also become more indiscriminate, sparking protests in some neighborhoods.

Wonk Watch: James Shinn and James Dobbins, "Afghan Peace Talks: A Primer" (RAND).

Escalation

Spiraling violence in Karachi killed at least 33 people in the last 24 hours, including a former parliamentarian and senior leader of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Waja Karim Dad (AP, BBC, Reuters, Dawn, Tel, DT, The News). The violence has shut down about 60 percent of the city, as authorities report more bodies turning up bearing evidence of severe torture (AP, BBC, Dawn). The killings in the city have also become more indiscriminate, sparking protests in some neighborhoods.

The Tribune reports that the FBI is working closely with Pakistani police to recover kidnapped American aid expert Warren Weinstein, as police announced that they would administer polygraph examinations to Weinstein’s security guards and driver (ET, Dawn, DT, AP). In other news, the U.S. State Department released a statement Thursday that Pakistan is not a state sponsor of terrorism, following comments by defense secretary Leon Panetta about alleged Pakistani government links with the groups Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and the Haqqani Network (Dawn). And despite denials from Pakistan and China, U.S. officials remain concerned that Chinese engineers were given access to a modified helicopter that crashed during the Special Operations Forces raid that killed Osama bin Laden (Dawn).

The Post details Pakistani reactions to a promise by the civilian government to bring political and legal reform to the country’s tribal areas, as Pakistan’s military has reportedly told people displaced by fighting in central Kurram to return to the area after August 25 (Post, Dawn). The government is also considering a nationwide deradicalization program to fight spreading militancy in Pakistan, and has said that it intends to close "loopholes" in the country’s anti-terrorism laws (Dawn, ET).

And finally, Dawn reports that the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) plans to rejoin the PPP-led government "within the next two days" (Dawn).

The civilian toll

At least 24 Afghan civilians were killed when their minibus struck a roadside bomb in the western province of Herat Thursday, after a Taliban suicide bomber killed two Afghan guards in an attack on a Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) base near the eastern city of Gardez (CNN, BBC, Guardian, AP, Reuters, AFP, Tel, AJE). The Times looks at the increasing toll Afghanistan’s violence is taking on civilians (NYT). Bonus read: Erica Gaston, "Afghanistan’s civilians in the crosshairs" (FP).

In an interview with the AP, an anonymous senior Pakistani military officer said that the country’s military could "deliver" the Haqqani Network to peace negotiations in Afghanistan (AP). And Ron Moreau has a must-read about growing splits within the Taliban, disputes that have led to infighting, and in some instances physical confrontation (Daily Beast).

Two stories round out the day: The Times of London visits the central Afghan province of Ghor, which has only 200 international troops, and is a province, "where warlords rule fiefdoms with impunity and the insurgency is steadily taking hold" (Times). And three Afghan police have been killed in a firefight near Kandahar with Afghan Army forces, after the latter stopped the police, who were not wearing uniforms, at a checkpoint (NYT).

Fly me to the moon

Lunar astronaut Neil Armstrong flew to Afghanistan this week, to meet not with American troops but instead with members of Afghanistan’s small air force (AP). Armstrong was accompanied by two other former American astronauts, famed Apollo 13 commander Jim Lovell and Gene Cernan, the last man to walk on the moon.

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