Daily Brief: Afghan, NATO troops launch offensive against Haqqanis

Making moves Senior Afghan defense officials said yesterday — and U.S. Gen. John Allen confirmed — that Afghan and NATO forces began an operation on Sunday aimed at rooting out fighters belonging to the Haqqani Network along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border (AFP,AP, McClatchy). A senior NATO official said yesterday that coalition troops in Afghanistan have noticed a ...

PASCAL GUYOT/AFP/Getty Images
PASCAL GUYOT/AFP/Getty Images
PASCAL GUYOT/AFP/Getty Images

Making moves

Senior Afghan defense officials said yesterday -- and U.S. Gen. John Allen confirmed -- that Afghan and NATO forces began an operation on Sunday aimed at rooting out fighters belonging to the Haqqani Network along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border (AFP,APMcClatchy). A senior NATO official said yesterday that coalition troops in Afghanistan have noticed a significant increase in the number of militants coming into Afghanistan from Pakistan, using the provinces of Khost, Paktia, Logar, and Wardak as a route to the capital city of Kabul (CNN).

An Afghan government spokesman said today that five Afghan soldiers were killed when their vehicle ran over a roadside bomb in the western province of Herat (APAFP). And the first 200 of some 4,000 French troops currently deployed in Afghanistan are scheduled to leave today as part of NATO's gradual troop drawdown ahead of the 2014 deadline (AFP).

Making moves

Senior Afghan defense officials said yesterday — and U.S. Gen. John Allen confirmed — that Afghan and NATO forces began an operation on Sunday aimed at rooting out fighters belonging to the Haqqani Network along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border (AFP,APMcClatchy). A senior NATO official said yesterday that coalition troops in Afghanistan have noticed a significant increase in the number of militants coming into Afghanistan from Pakistan, using the provinces of Khost, Paktia, Logar, and Wardak as a route to the capital city of Kabul (CNN).

An Afghan government spokesman said today that five Afghan soldiers were killed when their vehicle ran over a roadside bomb in the western province of Herat (APAFP). And the first 200 of some 4,000 French troops currently deployed in Afghanistan are scheduled to leave today as part of NATO’s gradual troop drawdown ahead of the 2014 deadline (AFP).

Not it

Pakistani Army Chief Gen Ashfaq Kayani told two parliamentary defense committees during a briefing today that the United States should focus on achieving stability in Afghanistan, where "the real problem lies," rather than pushing Pakistan to take action against militants based on Pakistani soil (APReutersETDawn). He added that the United States "will have to think ten times" before launching an attack on militants in Pakistan’s North Waziristan, "because Pakistan is not Iraq or Afghanistan."

Pakistan army spokesman Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas said in an interview with Radio Pakistan yesterday that Frontier Corps and army troops had been sent to the Afghan-Pakistan border region to protect civilians from cross-border attacks (Dawn). He said the locations of militant safe havens in Afghanistan have been pointed out to NATO and Afghan forces, but he has not seen any action on their part. Lt. Gen. Asif Yasin Malik, a senior commander in the Pakistani army, commended private militias in the northwestern town of Kohat for keeping the peace and stamping out militants in the region (ET). Pakistani security forces killed at least six militants in the tribal region of Kurram today, while a Pakistan Air Force plane crashed in the province of Balochistan, killing the pilot (DawnETAFP).

Armed gunmen on motorcycles opened fire on a shop in Karachi today, killing five and injuring one (Dawn). Police in Karachi today disposed of a bomb initially discovered by a child underneath a car parked near a private hospital (ETDawn). Interior Minister Rehman Malik told reporters in Balochistan that intelligence reports show terrorists are operating from prisons there, and are in contact with militant groups in Punjab (ET). The federal government has reportedly told all provincial governments to crack down on the sectarian militant group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, which took responsibility for a recent attack on Shi’a Muslims in Balochistan (ET). And police in Peshawar said yesterday they had seized a vehicle with a large cache of weapons that were being smuggled to Punjab (ET).

Pakistan’s National Assembly yesterday deferred a vote on amendments to the Prevention of Anti-Women Practices Bill that would set punishments for those found guilty of forcing a woman into marriage to settle disputes or guilty of denying a woman her rightful inheritance (ETDawn). The federal government appointed Pakistan’s acting central bank governor Yaseen Anwar as permanent Governor of the State Bank of Pakistan today, making him the fourth person in that position under the Zardari administration (ReutersET). Pakistan’s Supreme Court agreed today to hear a petition filed by former Information Minister Mohammad Ali Durrani that alleges some Pakistani military and civilians officials have laundered money from the government to private bank accounts abroad (ET). And the commission investigating the May 2 U.S. raid in Abbottabad that killed Osama bin Laden received a report from the military’s ammunition and ballistics experts on the weapons used during the raid (Dawn).

Here comes the bride

Pakistan’s annual Bridal Couture Week was held over the past weekend in Lahore, featuring well-known Pakistani and Indian designers (ET). Extravagant performances included traditional and non-traditional dances by some of the models, as well as a young Egyptian whirling dervish.

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Jennifer Rowland is a research associate in the National Security Studies Program at the New America Foundation.

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