Daily brief: Doubts persist about Loya Jirga

Wonk Watch: The Asia Foundation, "Afghanistan in 2011: A Survey of the Afghan People" (Asia Foundation). Negotiating the future Doubts continue to swirl around the Loya Jirga, or traditional assembly, that Afghan President Hamid Karzai will convene Wednesday in Kabul, as Afghans and outside observers question the ambiguous goals of a meeting set to discuss ...

RAVEENDRAN/AFP/Getty Images
RAVEENDRAN/AFP/Getty Images
RAVEENDRAN/AFP/Getty Images

Wonk Watch: The Asia Foundation, "Afghanistan in 2011: A Survey of the Afghan People" (Asia Foundation).

Negotiating the future

Doubts continue to swirl around the Loya Jirga, or traditional assembly, that Afghan President Hamid Karzai will convene Wednesday in Kabul, as Afghans and outside observers question the ambiguous goals of a meeting set to discuss the nine-month old Strategic Partnership negotiations with the United States as well as peace talks with the Taliban (NYT, Guardian, WSJ). The Taliban have vowed to attack the meeting of nearly 2,000 delegates, and al-Jazeera reports that according to Afghan officials, the "security plan" for the conference leaked by the insurgent group over the weekend was genuine (AJE). Bonus read: Javid Ahmad, "Bonn and beyond: Afghanistan's uncertain future" (FP).

Wonk Watch: The Asia Foundation, "Afghanistan in 2011: A Survey of the Afghan People" (Asia Foundation).

Negotiating the future

Doubts continue to swirl around the Loya Jirga, or traditional assembly, that Afghan President Hamid Karzai will convene Wednesday in Kabul, as Afghans and outside observers question the ambiguous goals of a meeting set to discuss the nine-month old Strategic Partnership negotiations with the United States as well as peace talks with the Taliban (NYT, Guardian, WSJ). The Taliban have vowed to attack the meeting of nearly 2,000 delegates, and al-Jazeera reports that according to Afghan officials, the "security plan" for the conference leaked by the insurgent group over the weekend was genuine (AJE). Bonus read: Javid Ahmad, "Bonn and beyond: Afghanistan’s uncertain future" (FP).

The Afghan government announced Tuesday that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) would be reinstating a $129 million loan package, suspended last year in the wake of the Kabul Bank crisis (AP). The Australian government is set to deport its first Afghan asylum seeker, after it forged an agreement with Kabul in January whereby Afghanistan will readmit Afghans who are refused entry into Australia (AP). And Reuters reports on the challenges slowing efforts to build civil society groups in Afghanistan (Reuters).

Also Tuesday, a bomb strapped to a donkey killed a policeman and a civilian in a market in the northern province of Faryab (AP).

Movin’ out

Former Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi announced his resignation from the ruling Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) as well as Pakistan’s National Assembly Monday (Dawn, ET). Qureshi blamed the PPP for abandoning the vision of assassinated former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, and told members of the media Tuesday that he had resigned as Foreign Minister in January because he was "being forced to give [CIA contractor] Raymond Davis diplomatic immunity" (ET). While Qureshi said he would discuss his political future later this month, speculation abounds that he may join opposition figure Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI) party (ET).

Up to seven suspected militants were reportedly killed Tuesday in a suspected U.S. drone strike on a house in Miranshah, with most of the militants said to have belonged to the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) (AP, CNN, BBC, AJE, Dawn, ET). Meanwhile, Pakistani military operations in Orakzai have reportedly killed 16 militants, while four paramilitary Frontier Corps personnel were killed by militants in Khyber, and three militants were killed after crossing from Afghanistan into Mohmand (ET, Dawn, ET, Dawn, DT, Dawn). Additionally, British police on Tuesday arrested four men in Birmingham who they say were part of a suicide bombing plot and had undergone militant training in Pakistan (BBC, Tel, AFP).

Three stories round out the day: Pamela Constable has a must-read about Siraj Ahmed Malik, a Baloch journalist granted asylum by the United States recently out of concern that he would be killed if he returned to Pakistan (Post). A court in Lahore has ordered the dismissal of corruption charges against opposition figure Nawaz Sharif filed in 1990 (Dawn). And Pakistan’s Supreme Court ordered Monday that eunuchs, also known as "gender confused" men, be allowed to register to vote (Dawn).

Jump up, jump up, and get down

The U.S. embassy in Islamabad on Monday hosted a concert by a hip-hop group from Chicago, the FEW Collective, which performed for a mostly "Westernized, educated elite audience of young Pakistanis" (Reuters). The group is on a 10-day swing through Pakistan, as part of the U.S. State Department-sponsored American Festival of the Arts.

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