Daily Brief: Fuel tanker blast kills at least 10 in Afghanistan
Tragic blast At least ten Afghan civilians were killed and over 35 were wounded in the northern province of Parwan on Tuesday night when a small magnetized bomb created a hole in the side of a fuel tanker bound for a U.S. military base at Bagram, and a second explosion caused a massive fire (BBC, Reuters, CNN, AP, Dawn, AFP, AJE). ...
At least ten Afghan civilians were killed and over 35 were wounded in the northern province of Parwan on Tuesday night when a small magnetized bomb created a hole in the side of a fuel tanker bound for a U.S. military base at Bagram, and a second explosion caused a massive fire (BBC, Reuters, CNN, AP, Dawn, AFP, AJE). Dozens of people had gathered around the leaking fuel tanker to collect fuel before it was engulfed in flames, though it was unclear what had caused the second blast. An Afghan official announced Wednesday the next 17 provinces in which control may be transitioned from NATO to Afghan security forces (AP, Reuters, Tel, AFP). President Hamid Karzai will make the official transition announcement on November 2.
Some Afghans have voiced their apprehension about a recently signed Indian-Afghan strategic partnership agreement that riled Pakistan, saying Afghanistan should not become involved in the protracted conflict between India and Pakistan, particularly considering Pakistan’s potential role in peace talks in Afghanistan (McClatchy). A senior leader of the militant group Hizb-e-Islami, Dr. Ghairat Baheer, reportedly told The Express Tribune that his organization is "willing to have direct or indirect dialogue with Washington," but that the talks must take place in a third country and Pakistan’s participation would be imperative (ET).
Female soldiers are taking on a new and important role in U.S. Special Forces teams in Afghanistan designed to conduct counterinsurgency and "stability operations," through their ability to reach out to Afghan women and children who make up as much as 71 percent of the population (AP). A group of 28 women deployed with Army Rangers and Special Forces in January, and troops report success not only in their ability to search and glean information from Afghan women, but also in providing medical assistance and skills training.
Two videos surfaced Tuesday showing a Swiss couple kidnapped by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in July – and believed to be held in Pakistan’s northwestern tribal region – holding a newspaper dated September 15 (AFP, Reuters, AP, ET). The couple tells the camera their "lives are at risk" if the United States, Switzerland, and Pakistan do not give in to the TTP’s demands for the release of Aafia Siddiqui, who was convicted on terrorism-related charges in the United States last year.
Also in Pakistan’s northwest, a bomb blast at a cloth market in Peshawar on Wednesday injured eleven people (ET, Dawn). Police apprehended four suspects Wednesday believed to be involved in Tuesday’s roadside bomb blast in Lower Dir that killed four people, including an anti-Taliban militia leader (ET). In another remote-controlled roadside bomb attack, three security officers were wounded near the town of Tank in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province (ET). And Pakistani military officials alleged Wednesday that two NATO helicopters breached Pakistani airspace over North Waziristan at around two o’clock that morning, although a NATO spokesman denied the accusation (AFP).
A gunman shot and wounded Ghulam Mustafa Mughal, Chief Justice of Pakistan-controlled Kashmir, on Tuesday evening in the capital city of Muzaffarabad (AFP, AP, ET,The Nation). Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani has ordered a probe into the attack (Dawn). Residents of a neighborhood in Karachi rattled by a bomb attack on the home of a police chief in September are going to court to ask that a police station in the area be moved, for fear of further attacks that may endanger their children (ET). And Kharotabad police in Balochistan on Wednesday dismissed two low-level officers at the urging of a tribunal investigating the killing of five foreigners in May when police and Frontier Corps troops opened fire on them (ET).
Cattle traders in Karachi tell reporters they are hiking the price per kilogram of their cows in the run-up to Eid ul-Azha because of their own rising costs at the cattle markets (ET). To make matters worse for potential customers, one trader says "Rs 100,000 [$1,150] will simply be added to that price if the animal is very beautiful."
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