Daily Brief: U.S. held secret meeting with Haqqanis

Event notice: The New America Foundation will host former FBI Special Agent Ali Soufan TODAY from 11:30am – 1:00pm for a discussion of his new book, The Black Banners: The Inside Story of 9/11 and the War Against al-Qaeda (NAF).  Behind closed doors    Unnamed U.S. officials told ABC News that the United States had ...

STRDEL/AFP/Getty Images
STRDEL/AFP/Getty Images
STRDEL/AFP/Getty Images

Event notice: The New America Foundation will host former FBI Special Agent Ali Soufan TODAY from 11:30am - 1:00pm for a discussion of his new book, The Black Banners: The Inside Story of 9/11 and the War Against al-Qaeda (NAF). 

Behind closed doors   

Unnamed U.S. officials told ABC News that the United States had held a meeting in recent months, reportedly set up by Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI), with the Pakistan-based militant group the Haqqani Network (ABC). The de facto leader of the group, Sirajuddin Haqqani, confirmed the meeting on Monday, telling the BBC Pashto service that the United States had approached him about joining the Afghan government (AP).  

Event notice: The New America Foundation will host former FBI Special Agent Ali Soufan TODAY from 11:30am – 1:00pm for a discussion of his new book, The Black Banners: The Inside Story of 9/11 and the War Against al-Qaeda (NAF). 

Behind closed doors   

Unnamed U.S. officials told ABC News that the United States had held a meeting in recent months, reportedly set up by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI), with the Pakistan-based militant group the Haqqani Network (ABC). The de facto leader of the group, Sirajuddin Haqqani, confirmed the meeting on Monday, telling the BBC Pashto service that the United States had approached him about joining the Afghan government (AP).  

Afghan President Hamid Karzai begins his two-day visit to India today for security talks that may include an agreement for India to train Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) (ToloBBCAFPReuters). In a televised speech Monday, Karzai accused Pakistan of playing a "double game" in the battle against militant groups, but said that he hopes the two countries can continue to cooperate "like brothers" (Post, AP, BBCAFP). Karzai also announced that he would hold a traditional jirga to decide how the country will proceed with achieving peace following the loss of former High Peace Council head Burhanuddin Rabbani, whose death has revealed tensions between different ethnic groups over the best way to bring peace to Afghanistan (NYT). 

Top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan Gen. John Allen, told CBS’ 60 Minutes on Monday that the United States will have a presence in Afghanistan "for a long time" (CBS). He also said that militant safe havens in Pakistan will be his biggest challenge in leading the military effort in Afghanistan (ABC).  

Repeated tragedy

Unidentified gunmen outside Quetta this morning killed at least 13 Shi’a Hazara laborers taking a bus to market, the second such attack on Shi’a bus riders in Balochistan in two weeks (NYT, Reuters, AFP, AP, BBC). The gunmen reportedly intercepted the bus and forced non-Hazara passengers off before opening fire on those still inside. The killings sparked protests in Quetta over the government’s failure to protect the area’s Shi’a, and demonstrators blocked the main highway leading into Quetta (NYT).   

Pakistani Prime Minister Yousef Raza Gilani on Monday claimed the "victory of the Pakistani nation" over the United States in the recent public spat over alleged Pakistani cooperation with militant groups, and credited a recent "All-Party Conference" with uniting the country’s political parties in response to U.S. criticism (Tel). And Reuters reports on factors complicating Pakistan’s pursuit of China as a close regional partner (Reuters).

Violent protests against mass power outages raged in all four of Pakistan’s provincial capitals Tuesday, as Prime Minister Gilani ordered Pakistan’s Finance Ministry to release funds to the Pakistan Electric Power Company (Pepco) to resume energy provision (ET, ET, Dawn, ET, Dawn). Dozens were either injured or arrested in the Punjab today, where some areas face power cuts as high as 18 hours a day (AP). The judge who sentenced former police guard Mumtaz Qadri to death on Saturday for the murder of former Punjab governor Salman Taseer has gone on indefinite leave after receiving multiple threats on his life  (ET). Supporters of Qadri protesting against the verdict in his case clashed with police in Lahore on Monday (ET).

Four stories round out the day in Pakistan: The deputy commander of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and its leader in Bajaur, Maulvi Faqir Muhammad, welcomed Prime Minister Gilani’s stated intention to hold talks with the TTP in a phone called with the Tribune (ET). Pakistan has called on the United States to investigate the January 27 shooting of two Pakistani men in Lahore by CIA contractor Raymond Davis (Dawn). Pakistan’s Supreme Court is likely to release the results on October 6 of their investigation into targeted killings in Karachi (DT). And in South Waziristan, the Taliban have released eight Pakistani aid workers kidnapped in July while returning from working in an Afghan refugee camp in Balochistan (ET).

Music and dance 

A new Urdu-language musical is set to open on October 22 in Karachi, "Karachi – Haar Na Mano (Never give up)" (ET). The show depicts residents of Karachi’s volatile Lyari neighborhood who maintain their love for sports, particularly boxing, despite the violence surrounding them.

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Jennifer Rowland is a research associate in the National Security Studies Program at the New America Foundation, where Andrew Lebovich is a policy analyst.

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