Daily brief: Afghanistan, Pakistan meet in Turkey

The Rack: Mike Giglio, "Pervez Musharraf launches his political comeback" (Newsweek). Like a good neighbor Afghanistan and Pakistan on Tuesday held their first meeting since the assassination of High Peace Council Head Burhanuddin Rabbani in September, the day before an international conference on Afghanistan opens in Istanbul (Reuters, FT, Reuters, Dawn). Afghan President Hamid Karzai, ...

AFP PHOTO / MUSTAFA OZER
AFP PHOTO / MUSTAFA OZER
AFP PHOTO / MUSTAFA OZER

The Rack: Mike Giglio, "Pervez Musharraf launches his political comeback" (Newsweek).

Like a good neighbor

Afghanistan and Pakistan on Tuesday held their first meeting since the assassination of High Peace Council Head Burhanuddin Rabbani in September, the day before an international conference on Afghanistan opens in Istanbul (Reuters, FT, Reuters, Dawn). Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, and Turkish President Abdullah Gul met, while the army chiefs from their respective countries held separate discussions. U.S. officials called Monday for Afghanistan's neighbors to respect the country's sovereignty, while U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was forced to cancel her trip to Istanbul for the conference after her mother fell ill (Reuters, Tel). Bonus read: Omar Samad, "Afghanistan's missed opportunities and new choices" (FP).

The Rack: Mike Giglio, "Pervez Musharraf launches his political comeback" (Newsweek).

Like a good neighbor

Afghanistan and Pakistan on Tuesday held their first meeting since the assassination of High Peace Council Head Burhanuddin Rabbani in September, the day before an international conference on Afghanistan opens in Istanbul (Reuters, FT, Reuters, Dawn). Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, and Turkish President Abdullah Gul met, while the army chiefs from their respective countries held separate discussions. U.S. officials called Monday for Afghanistan’s neighbors to respect the country’s sovereignty, while U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was forced to cancel her trip to Istanbul for the conference after her mother fell ill (Reuters, Tel). Bonus read: Omar Samad, "Afghanistan’s missed opportunities and new choices" (FP).

The Telegraph reports that Karzai will use the conference as an opportunity to announce new provinces to be transferred to Afghan security control, including the former Taliban-held district of Nad-e-Ali in Helmand province (Tel, Tel). Reuters notes that U.S. President Barack Obama has asked the Pentagon for a detailed plan for troop numbers in Afghanistan in 2014, pending the negotiation of a longterm strategic partnership between the two countries (Reuters). Karen DeYoung looks at the new American strategy in Afghanistan of pushing for negotiations with the Taliban involving regional powers, including Pakistan, while stepping up combat efforts against the insurgency (Post). Parliamentarians from Kandahar protested Tuesday against a quick transition to Afghan command of security in their province (Reuters). And Reuters digs into persistent doubts about the training of Afghan forces (Reuters).

Finally, a lawyer for U.S. Army Sgt. Calvin Gibbs admitted Monday in court that his client took "war trophies" from three dead Afghan civilians, including fingers from the victims, but denied accusations that Gibbs was involved in killing civilians for sport (BBC, NYT, Reuters, AP, LAT).

Case closed?

The Pentagon on Monday released excerpts from its previously classified investigation into the 2007 killing of an American officer near a Pakistani border town in 2007, finding that the officer was shot by a lone Pakistani militia member rather than as part of a Pakistani army plot, as suggested in a September New York Times article (AP, AFP, CNN). The inquiry, conducted just after the incident took place, found that a member of the Kurram militia, a part of Pakistan’s paramilitary Frontier Corps, opened fire on several Americans as they were leaving a meeting of Pakistani, American, and Afghan officers. American troops returned fire, sparking a gun battle that may have killed as many as seven Pakistanis (AP).  

Pir Zubair Shah and Carlotta Gall report on the freedom of movement enjoyed by the Haqqani Network and members of the Haqqani family in Pakistan, noting that according to experts, "The Haqqani family…maintains several town houses, including in Islamabad and elsewhere, and they have been known to visit military facilities in Rawalpindi, attend tribal gatherings and even travel abroad on pilgrimages" (NYT). A suspected U.S. drone strike near Miranshah in North Waziristan Monday is said to have killed up to four militants (AP, AFP, ET, CNN). And the chief cleric at Islamabad’s Red Mosque, Abdul Aziz, was cleared Tuesday of four out of 12 criminal charges against him, including keeping illegal weapons (ET).

The Tribune, citing finance ministry sources, reports that Pakistani officials asked for American help in securing another International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan, just a day after Pakistani Finance Minister Hafeez Shaikh said that the country would forgo the final $3.7 billion tranche of a current loan package ( ET, AFP). Gas shortages in Pakistan may force the diversion of gas intended for an industrial plant in Sindh, while prices for petrol have declined slightly in the country, as oil prices drop worldwide (Dawn, ET, Dawn). And thousands of employees of Pakistan’s electric company Pepco protested in several cities Tuesday against the company’s privatization (ET). 

Several stories round out the day: The AP reports that a U.N. investigation has found new evidence that Pakistani scientist A.Q. Khan may have helped Syria gain technology to help it manufacture nuclear weapons (AP). A Baloch nationalist group killed four members of a pro-government militia in Balochistan Tuesday, while unknown gunmen killed a senior investigative official in Peshawar, and police in Karachi arrested eight people allegedly involved with killings in the city (ET, ET, Dawn). Two more people have died from dengue fever in Lahore, bringing the toll in the city to 300 (Dawn). And Mark Magnier highlights the growing number of Pakistanis seeking medical treatment in India (LAT).

Paki Rambo

The AP profiles a unique figure in Pakistan’s cultural scene — rapper Adil Omar, who was discovered by a member of the American rap group Cypress Hill at 16 and is set to release his first album next year (AP). His newest song, Paki Rambo, depicts an anti-Taliban vigilante.

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

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.