Daily brief: Security concerns precede Loya Jirga opening

The Rack: Ron Moreau and Sami Yousafzai, "Dueling Manifestos" (Newsweek). Best-laid plans The Taliban released a 27-page document on their website this weekend that they claimed was the official security plan for a Loya Jirga, or traditional meeting, of local Afghan leaders and elders scheduled to be convened this week (BBC, CNN, AP, AJE, WSJ). ...

SHAH MARAI/AFP/Getty Images
SHAH MARAI/AFP/Getty Images
SHAH MARAI/AFP/Getty Images

The Rack: Ron Moreau and Sami Yousafzai, "Dueling Manifestos" (Newsweek).

Best-laid plans

The Taliban released a 27-page document on their website this weekend that they claimed was the official security plan for a Loya Jirga, or traditional meeting, of local Afghan leaders and elders scheduled to be convened this week (BBC, CNN, AP, AJE, WSJ). Afghan and NATO officials denied the Taliban claim, as Afghan forces shot and killed a suicide attacker reportedly carrying a bag of explosives Monday near the tent where the meeting is set to take place (Reuters, AFP). And Afghan opposition figure Abdullah Abdullah announced Sunday that he would not take part in the jirga, calling the assembly -- which is set to bring together 2,000 Afghan leaders to discuss Afghanistan's relationship with the United States and peace talks with the Taliban -- "contrary to Afghanistan's constitution" (AFP, Tel, Post, AP, DT).

The Rack: Ron Moreau and Sami Yousafzai, "Dueling Manifestos" (Newsweek).

Best-laid plans

The Taliban released a 27-page document on their website this weekend that they claimed was the official security plan for a Loya Jirga, or traditional meeting, of local Afghan leaders and elders scheduled to be convened this week (BBC, CNN, AP, AJE, WSJ). Afghan and NATO officials denied the Taliban claim, as Afghan forces shot and killed a suicide attacker reportedly carrying a bag of explosives Monday near the tent where the meeting is set to take place (Reuters, AFP). And Afghan opposition figure Abdullah Abdullah announced Sunday that he would not take part in the jirga, calling the assembly — which is set to bring together 2,000 Afghan leaders to discuss Afghanistan’s relationship with the United States and peace talks with the Taliban — "contrary to Afghanistan’s constitution" (AFP, Tel, Post, AP, DT).

Nine Afghan civilians, including a woman, a child, and a newly-wed groom, were killed Saturday by a roadside bomb in the eastern province of Laghman (AJE, CNN, AFP, AP). Elsewhere, unidentified gunmen shot and killed an elder in the southern Nimroz province, while a bicycle bomb in Herat wounded two Afghan police officers and two civilians (AP). And NATO forces announced Monday that they had arrested Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid in Paktika province, though the man usually identified as Mujahid denied the news in phone calls with reporters (NYT, AP). Bonus read: Kate Clark, "Have the Taliban changed their tune?" (FP).

Rounding out the weekend, the senior civilian NATO official in Afghanistan, Amb. Simon Gass, said in an interview with the BBC that life had improved in Kabul since the fall of the Taliban, even as local residents expressed their doubts (BBC). Laura King picks apart the tension over the "metrics" used by international forces to evaluate their progress against the insurgency (LAT). And CBS reports on the massive growth since 2009 of Afghanistan’s Bagram detention center, which houses nearly 3,000 detainees (CBS).

The end of the affair?

In a statement released Saturday, Taliban commander Hafiz Gul Bahadur threatened to break an unofficial truce with the Pakistani army if attacks in Pakistan on his fighters, including U.S. drone strikes, do not stop (AP, Reuters, ET). In his message on the occasion of the Eid al-Adha holiday, Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) leader Hakimullah Mehsud rejected calls from the Pakistani government to make peace (The News). Also this weekend, a Pakistani anti-terrorism court adjourned hearings into the trial of militant leader Sufi Mohammed until November 28 (ET). And the L.A. Times notes concern in Pakistan that the government will pursue a new round of deals with militants (LAT).

Pakistan’s military ended a clearing operation around the garrison town of Jhelum Sunday, a day after four military intelligence members were killed by suspected Lashkar-e-Jhangvi militants in a raid in the town (ET, AP, ET). At least 12 people were killed in two different militant attacks in Khyber this weekend (AFP, ET, AP). Three schools were destroyed in Khyber-Pukhtunkhwa province, while eight "terrorists" were arrested in Kohat district, near Pakistan’s tribal areas (Dawn, Dawn). Pakistani security forces declared a curfew in some parts of North Waziristan Sunday (Dawn). And two police officers were injured in a small explosion in Balochistan Saturday (ET).

Indian and Pakistani officials met for talks on trade normalization Monday, as Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said that Pakistan’s military is "on board" with peace talks between the two rivals (Dawn, Reuters, Dawn, ET, Dawn). And Indian Foreign Secretary Rajan Mathai asserted this weekend that evidence given by Indian authorities to Pakistan was sufficient to bring charges against Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) head Hafiz Saeed and others in relation to the 2008 Mumbai attacks (ET).

Five stories round out the news: China and Pakistan held war games this weekend, as military leaders from Pakistan and the United States met on Friday and announced an agreement on border coordination in Afghanistan (AP, ET). Joshua Partlow reports on tensions between the United States and Pakistan along the Afghan border (Post). Pakistan is aggressively marketing a fighter jet developed with China, the JF-17, offering the aircraft at a much lower cost than comparable Western fighters (Reuters). And London chief of police Bernard Morgan announced Sunday that two suspects in the murder case of key Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) figure Dr. Imran Farooq had been arrested in Karachi, even as Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik denied the report (ET, Dawn, The News). 

Bite the hand that feeds

Authorities in Rawalpindi have noted a major rise in dog bites recently and deaths from dog bites, as stray dogs have proliferated in the city (DT). On Saturday alone, 12 bites were reported.

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