Daily Brief: Anti-Taliban militia leader targeted in Pakistan

Reprisal attack The leader of an anti-Taliban militia, Aziz ur-Rehman, was killed Tuesday along with has 12-year-old son and two others in a remote-detonated roadside bomb attack in Pakistan’s northwestern Lower Dir District (CNN, AFP, BBC). In the nearby Khyber Agency, at least 18,000 people have fled their homes following a Pakistan Army directive to leave because ...

Syed Zargham/Getty Images
Syed Zargham/Getty Images
Syed Zargham/Getty Images

Reprisal attack

Reprisal attack

The leader of an anti-Taliban militia, Aziz ur-Rehman, was killed Tuesday along with has 12-year-old son and two others in a remote-detonated roadside bomb attack in Pakistan’s northwestern Lower Dir District (CNNAFPBBC). In the nearby Khyber Agency, at least 18,000 people have fled their homes following a Pakistan Army directive to leave because of ongoing operations against militants in the area (ETDawn). And ten people were killed in 24 hours on Monday and Tuesday in violence in Karachi (Dawn).

The Post’s Joshua Partlow reports that following U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit to the region this weekend, the U.S. military’s second-in-command in Afghanistan, Lt. Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, is looking to rebuild ties between the Pakistan and U.S. militaries, too (Post). After the May 2 U.S. raid in Abbottabad that killed former al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, Lt. Gen. Scaparrotti says the two countries’ forces ceased conducting coordinated operations to "squeeze" Taliban militants based along the Afghan-Pakistan border.

However, a senior U.S. diplomat told The Express Tribune that the United States is no longer "asking Pakistan to invade North Waziristan," and has tempered its request to include the elimination of the Haqqani Network through any means (ET). A senior Haqqani Network commander told Reuters Tuesday that the group would not participate in talks with the United States alone, and that any solution in Afghanistan would have to come through "talks with the Taliban shura" (Reuters). And the BBC reported Tuesday on purported evidence the United States possesses of "active" Pakistani support for the Taliban against Afghan and NATO forces in neighboring Afghanistan (BBC).

The Canadian government Monday pledged $11 million to fund eight projects for flood-ravaged areas in southern Pakistan, including the provision of food, emergency shelters, and mobile medical teams (ET). To the east, Chinese and Pakistani officials and academics attended a one-day conference in Beijing on Monday to discuss ways to increase economic cooperation and investment between the two countries (ET). On a less cooperative note, the Indian media is reporting that the Pakistan Army downloaded sensitive data from an Indian helicopter forced to land Sunday after crossing into Pakistani airspace, including the GPS coordinates of all Indian helipads in Siachen and Kargil (Hindustan Times).

Backtracking

Across the border, Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s office released a statement on Monday asserting that the president’s remarks to a Pakistani television network had been "misinterpreted" (AFPLAT). President Karzai said in an interview with Geo Television broadcast on Saturday that Afghanistan would side with Pakistan if it went to war with the United States.

Afghans are reportedly showing support for Abdul Sameh, a policeman killed last month when he and a would-be suicide bomber fired at each other simultaneously as the attacker approached a base Sameh was guarding (Reuters). The support is an encouraging sign for the Afghan government, which has included Sameh’s story in a campaign to improve the public’s perception of the oft-criticized Afghan police forces. Residents of eastern Afghanistan, on the other hand, have voiced skepticism over the likelihood of success against militants in Afghan and NATO operations in that region, and are nervous about the repercussions of ongoing fighting (McClatchy). German NATO spokesman Brig. Gen Carsten Jacobsen said Monday that tens of thousands of Afghan and NATO troops were involved in two eight-day operations concluded last week that killed or captured 200 militants, 20 of whom were linked to the Haqqani Network (AP,AFP).

Style savvy

As Pakistan mourns former first lady and popular politician Nusrat Bhutto, some in the country’s fashion industry remember her as one of the most prominent style icons of the 1970s (ET). Bhutto was always the picture of grace and elegance in outfits deftly combining Western trends and Pakistani tradition.

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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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