Daily Brief: Suspected U.S. drone strike kills Taliban commander

Strike force A suspected U.S. drone strike killed five senior militants allegedly affiliated with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) commander Maulvi Nazir on Thursday, including Nazir’s deputy commander Khan Mohammad and younger brother Hazrat Omar (AP,Reuters, AFP, AJE, Dawn). The unmanned aircraft reportedly targeted the vehicle the militants were driving in Azam Warsak, a village in Pakistan’s tribal region of South ...

Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Strike force

A suspected U.S. drone strike killed five senior militants allegedly affiliated with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) commander Maulvi Nazir on Thursday, including Nazir's deputy commander Khan Mohammad and younger brother Hazrat Omar (AP,ReutersAFPAJEDawn). The unmanned aircraft reportedly targeted the vehicle the militants were driving in Azam Warsak, a village in Pakistan's tribal region of South Waziristan (BBCCNN). In Karachi, police and Frontier Corps troops arrested a TTP commander identified as Mullah Usman Ghani, along with four other senior militants and 16 other suspected affiliate fighters (ET).

In the fifth consecutive day of military operations against militants in Pakistan's northwestern Khyber Agency, three Lashkar-i-Islam (LI) fighters and three volunteer militia members were killed during two separate clashes on Thursday, while a roadside bomb injured two security officers (ETET). LI is reportedly emerging as the largest threat to security in Khyber (Reuters). In neighboring Orakzai Agency, four people were killed Thursday in an explosion at an arms dealership, and in nearby Bajaur Agency, cross-border shelling injured four children (ETET). Just a day after an explosion in Peshawar's Shah Afzal Market injured at least 12 people, a second bomb blast struck the northwestern city's Rampura Market Thursday, leaving 13 people injured (ETAPAFP).

Strike force

A suspected U.S. drone strike killed five senior militants allegedly affiliated with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) commander Maulvi Nazir on Thursday, including Nazir’s deputy commander Khan Mohammad and younger brother Hazrat Omar (AP,ReutersAFPAJEDawn). The unmanned aircraft reportedly targeted the vehicle the militants were driving in Azam Warsak, a village in Pakistan’s tribal region of South Waziristan (BBCCNN). In Karachi, police and Frontier Corps troops arrested a TTP commander identified as Mullah Usman Ghani, along with four other senior militants and 16 other suspected affiliate fighters (ET).

In the fifth consecutive day of military operations against militants in Pakistan’s northwestern Khyber Agency, three Lashkar-i-Islam (LI) fighters and three volunteer militia members were killed during two separate clashes on Thursday, while a roadside bomb injured two security officers (ETET). LI is reportedly emerging as the largest threat to security in Khyber (Reuters). In neighboring Orakzai Agency, four people were killed Thursday in an explosion at an arms dealership, and in nearby Bajaur Agency, cross-border shelling injured four children (ETET). Just a day after an explosion in Peshawar’s Shah Afzal Market injured at least 12 people, a second bomb blast struck the northwestern city’s Rampura Market Thursday, leaving 13 people injured (ETAPAFP).

The first installment in a BBC Two documentary, "Secret Pakistan," broadcast Wednesday night features interviews with alleged mid-level Afghan Taliban commanders, who claim that Pakistan’s intelligence agency, the ISI, provides weapons and training to Taliban fighters (BBCReutersET). One commander tells his interviewer "Because Obama put more troops into Afghanistan and increased operations here, so Pakistan’s support for us increased as well." Former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf said Wednesday in a visit to Washington D.C. that Afghanistan "always has been anti-Pakistan" and people "should not begrudge if Pakistan orders ISI to take counter-measures to protect its own interests" (AFP).

Workin’ on the railroad

Pakistan Railways finally received funds from the Ministry of Finance on Wednesday to pay the salaries and pensions of staff and retired employees (ET). But in less positive economic news, efforts by the Indian and Pakistani governments to increase trade relations between their countries are seen by some Pakistani business owners as a serious threat to domestic industries (AP). The United States praised Pakistan’s handling of an Indian helicopter’s violation of Pakistani airspace on Sunday, and the Pakistan military has reportedly made plans to hold joint military exercises with China next month (ETET).

As temperatures drop in Pakistan, displaced flood victims in Sindh are beginning to worry about surviving the winter months without any shelter (ET). And the International Committee of the Red Cross has said that a lack of clean drinking water remains the biggest problem for the victims (ET).

Friends forever

Afghan President Hamid Karzai reportedly invited retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal back to Afghanistan over a month ago, and Gen. McChrystal is expected to make the trip with his wife in the coming weeks (NYT). Gen. McChrystal commanded NATO forces in Afghanistan in 2009 and 2010 but has not been back since he resigned following a controversial June 2010 article in Rolling Stone magazine.  U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will testify today before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on her recent trip to Afghanistan and Pakistan, where she will likely receive questions on President Karzai’s recent declaration of support for Pakistan in the event of war with the United States (AP).

Militants launched an attack Thursday on a U.S.-run Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) base in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar, but NATO has said there were no casualties (Reuters). Two armed men fired on the base from a nearby building and an alleged Taliban spokesman claimed responsibility for the attack, saying also that the men were wearing suicide vests (AFP).

Occupy Islamabad?

Pakistani students, workers, activists and volunteers turned out in Islamabad on Tuesday for the country’s own "Occupy Wall Street" protest (Dawn). Speakers who addressed the crowd outside the World Bank echoed the sentiments of similar protest movements in the United States and Europe, calling for an end to the capitalist oppression of Pakistan’s "99%."

Sign up here to receive the Daily Brief in your inbox. Follow the AfPak Channel on Twitter and Facebook.

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

More from Foreign Policy

A Panzerhaubitze 2000 tank howitzer fires during a mission in Ukraine’s Donetsk region.
A Panzerhaubitze 2000 tank howitzer fires during a mission in Ukraine’s Donetsk region.

Lessons for the Next War

Twelve experts weigh in on how to prevent, deter, and—if necessary—fight the next conflict.

An illustration showing a torn Russian flag and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
An illustration showing a torn Russian flag and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

It’s High Time to Prepare for Russia’s Collapse

Not planning for the possibility of disintegration betrays a dangerous lack of imagination.

An unexploded tail section of a cluster bomb is seen in Ukraine.
An unexploded tail section of a cluster bomb is seen in Ukraine.

Turkey Is Sending Cold War-Era Cluster Bombs to Ukraine

The artillery-fired cluster munitions could be lethal to Russian troops—and Ukrainian civilians.

A joint session of Congress meets to count the Electoral College vote from the 2008 presidential election the House Chamber in the U.S. Capitol  January 8, 2009 in Washington.
A joint session of Congress meets to count the Electoral College vote from the 2008 presidential election the House Chamber in the U.S. Capitol January 8, 2009 in Washington.

Congrats, You’re a Member of Congress. Now Listen Up.

Some brief foreign-policy advice for the newest members of the U.S. legislature.