Daily Brief: Nine Pakistani soldiers killed in militant ambush
Sneak attack Nine Pakistani troops and 14 militants were killed on Monday after the militants’ ambush of a Frontier Corps convoy on the outskirts of Peshawar triggered a gunfight that lasted "two to three hours" according to military spokesman Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas (AFP, ET,BBC, AP). The troops were conducting a search operation in the Bara District ...
Nine Pakistani troops and 14 militants were killed on Monday after the militants’ ambush of a Frontier Corps convoy on the outskirts of Peshawar triggered a gunfight that lasted "two to three hours" according to military spokesman Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas (AFP, ET,BBC, AP). The troops were conducting a search operation in the Bara District of Khyber when they came under attack. Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik told reporters today that the government has received indications from the Taliban that they want to hold talks, but it would not negotiate with Taliban militants if they "held a Kalshinkov [rifle] in one hand" (AP, Reuters).
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said yesterday that he sees "no alternative" for Western governments to working with Pakistan against militant groups, particularly the Haqqani Network, while U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner told reporters separately that the United States believes Pakistan is "capable" of working with the U.S. on shared challenges (ET,Dawn).
Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari today paid tribute to the nearly 200 people killed in a failed assassination attempt on former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in Karachi four years ago today, saying "their sacrifices will not be allowed to go in vain" (ET). The Express Tribune reports that the man thought to be the mastermind of the attacks, Adbul Wahab Mehsud, has been back to Karachi twice since the deadly attacks, but security forces have failed to hunt him down (ET). And Punjab governor Latif Khosa on Monday alleged that on the day she was assassinated, Bhutto was planning to expose former president Pervez Musharraf’s intention to rig the 2008 elections (ET).
Pakistan Railways workers protested across the country against the company’s failure to pay their salaries — some for over five months — blocking the tracks and forcing massive train delays and cancellations (ET, ET, Dawn, ET). President Zardari called an emergency meeting to find a solution to the crisis, during which he directed the government to fund the payment of workers’ salaries and pensions within seven days and grant a loan to Pakistan Railways to be used on train repairs and purchases (ET,ET). Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani today laid the foundation stone of the hydroelectric Diamer Bhasha Dam in Gilgit-Baltistan (ET). On Monday, the commission investigating the May 2 U.S. raid that killed Osama bin Laden interviewed the widow of the al-Qaeda courier Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti who lived in bin Laden’s Abbottabad compound with her husband and family (ET).
Rangers in Karachi today arrested a suspected killer who reportedly confessed to the murders of 26 people, while nine police officers in Peshawar were suspended after an investigation found they might have killed an innocent man they had claimed was a militant (ET, Dawn, ET). The death toll from dengue fever reached 242 in Punjab Province today as an uptick in diagnosed cases brings the number of dengue patients to almost 17,400 across the province (ET). And the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) vowed yesterday to challenge President Zardari’s appointment of retired naval chief Adm. Fasih Bokhari as chairman of the National Accountability Bureau, saying the appointment was made in violation of the Constitution (ET).
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Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Monday demanded an explanation from NATO for the deaths of three family members of a former Afghan senator in a night raid carried out by NATO troops early Sunday morning in Wardak Province (AP). NATO says the raid was a joint operation with Afghan and NATO troops, and that the three who were killed — two of whom were women — were all seen with weapons. NATO also said that on Sunday an insurgent was killed in a joint U.S.-Afghan operation in Faryab Province, a Taliban leader was killed in an airstrike in Zabul Province, and an Afghan-NATO patrol unit recovered 200 pounds of opium and 220 pounds of ammonium nitrate in Helmand Province (AP). Ammonium nitrate can be used both as a fertilizer and in the production of explosives.
When asked yesterday whether U.S. troops in Afghanistan have experienced greater levels of rocket fire from Pakistan recently, U.S. Defense Department press secretary George Little told reporters "This summer, June-August, we did see an increase in cross border incidents" (AFP). The outgoing head of NATO’s training mission in Afghanistan Lt. Gen. William Caldwell said yesterday that the 306,000-strong Afghan security forces have made "significant progress" and will be able to "sustain the force we’ve built them" following the withdrawal of NATO troops in 2014 (AFP).
A homemade remedy as simple as one teaspoon of black pepper ground with eight teaspoons of sugar may be able to prevent you suffering from allergies this year (ET). Take one teaspoon of the mixture each morning, do not eat for half an hour afterward, and continue for two weeks for the best results.
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