Daily Brief: Reported Drone Strike Kills Haqqani Commander
Hot pursuit A suspected U.S. drone strike in the North Waziristan region of Pakistan today killed four militants, including Jalil Haqqani, who was believed to an important commander of the Haqqani Network, responsible for the group’s communications, and close to the leader Sirajuddin Haqqani (Reuters, AFP/ET, AP). A second suspected drone strike later today in South Waziristan ...
A suspected U.S. drone strike in the North Waziristan region of Pakistan today killed four militants, including Jalil Haqqani, who was believed to an important commander of the Haqqani Network, responsible for the group’s communications, and close to the leader Sirajuddin Haqqani (Reuters, AFP/ET, AP). A second suspected drone strike later today in South Waziristan killed three and injured four. The strikes came as U.S. Special Representative for Pakistan and Afghanistan Marc Grossman arrived in Islamabad for talks with Pakistani leaders (ET). Speaking at a joint press conference, Amb. Grossman and Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar Pakistan reiterated both nations’ commitment to working together to achieve a stable Afghanistan. Pakistani Army Chief Gen. Ashfaq Kayani reportedly told Amb. Grossman during their meeting that Pakistan would no longer tolerate cross-border attacks from militants there, while Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani stressed that relations between the two countries must concern more than just counterterrorism (Dawn, Dawn).
Foreign Minister Khar told Pakistani parliamentarians yesterday that the government has decided to make India a "most-favored nation," which would guarantee its rival trade equality with the other countries that enjoy preferential trade agreements with Pakistan (ET, Nation). Pakistan will also remove 233 goods from a "sensitive list" of products that are subject to 5% higher tariffs in an effort to protect domestic industries, in order to come into compliance with a provision of the South Asia Free Trade Agreement (ET,Dawn). A spokesman for the Awami National Party said today that terror threats have been made against the party in the run-up to party elections in Sindh, which have been postponed indefinitely due to security concerns (ET). And Interior Minister Rehman Malik reportedly prevented a fistfight from breaking out during today’s session of the National Assembly between members of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) (ET).
Police in Islamabad today arrested two suspected terrorists and recovered several guns as well as several thousand rounds of ammunition from their vehicle (ET, Dawn) Gunmen in North Waziristan released journalist Rehmatullah Darpakhel yesterday after holding him captive for two months (AFP, ET). A report released Wednesday by the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers found that Pakistan tops the list of the most dangerous countries for journalists in 2011, with eight killed there so far this year (Guardian). The governor of Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, who was targeted yesterday in a rocket attack, has vowed to "chase" Taliban militants until "their complete elimination," calling terrorists "enemies of Islam" (AFP). And Reuters reports today on the sacrifices of life and limb that many Pakistani soldiers have made in the country’s struggle to stamp out militancy, and the widespread sentiment that the Pakistan military is already doing all it can (Reuters).
Not done yet
The United Nations Security Council moved yesterday in a unanimous vote to extend the deployment of the 130,000 NATO-led troops in Afghanistan, saying that conditions on the ground in Afghanistan still pose "a threat to international peace and security" (AP). U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta reportedly presented President Barack Obama yesterday with a plan to withdraw the 10,000 U.S. troops scheduled to leave Afghanistan by the end of the year (ABC). The Associated Press reports that as of Wednesday, the death toll for U.S. troops in the decade-long war in Afghanistan was at least 1,687, with at least 100 more having been killed in other theaters of the War on Terror (AP).
The results of a U.S. military investigation released yesterday show that the crash of a Chinook helicopter in Afghanistan in August that killed 30 U.S. troops was caused by a insurgent-fired rocket-propelled grenade, and that no U.S. personnel were at fault (Reuters, AP, LAT).
Facing a dearth of young Pakistani chess masters, former professional chess player Shehzad Mirza now spends his time training Pakistan’s next generation of competitors (ET). It’s not easy, though; "chess is a violent sport and a defeat can haunt you for weeks," Mirza says.
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