Daily brief: Afghanistan recalls ambassador to Qatar
Get back Afghanistan has withdrawn the country’s ambassador to Qatar following reports that plans had been nearly finalized for a Taliban office to open in the country, one that would have the "privileges but not the formal protection of a diplomatic mission" according to the Indian newspaper The Hindu (AJE, Reuters, CNN, WSJ). The ambassador’s recall reportedly stems from Afghanistan ...
Afghanistan has withdrawn the country’s ambassador to Qatar following reports that plans had been nearly finalized for a Taliban office to open in the country, one that would have the "privileges but not the formal protection of a diplomatic mission" according to the Indian newspaper The Hindu (AJE, Reuters, CNN, WSJ). The ambassador’s recall reportedly stems from Afghanistan being left out of discussions about the establishment of the office, while former Taliban ambassador to Pakistan Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef, mentioned as a possible head of a Taliban post, denied knowledge of the office’s creation Thursday (AP). And Afghan President Hamid Karzai said Wednesday that Afghanistan wanted no part in the ongoing war of words between the United States and Iran over an American drone that crashed in Iranian territory (CNN, AFP).
An Afghan woman imprisoned for two and a half years after reporting being raped to police, Gulnaz, was freed by authorities Tuesday two weeks after she was told she would be released (Guardian, CNN, Reuters, Tel, BBC). Her lawyer told reporters that she was released without preconditions, meaning she will not have to marry her attacker — a cousin — in exchange for her freedom.
A British court has ordered that British authorities obtain the release of a Pakistani man held by American forces at the detention center at Bagram, Yunus Rahmatullah (AP,Guardian). The ruling puts the British government in an awkward position, as they are bound to follow the ruling, but American authorities are not required to give Rahmatullah up.
Home is where the heart is
Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari was discharged from a hospital in Dubai Wednesday, where he has been receiving treatment for an unknown medical condition since leaving Pakistan suddenly last week (NYT, AP, Reuters, Post, WSJ, BBC, Dawn, Tel, ET). Some officials in Zardari’s Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) have said he would return to Pakistan on December 27, the same date his wife, former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, was killed in 2007 in Rawalpindi.
Pakistan’s Attorney General said Thursday that Zardari would not submit a statement on that day to the Supreme Court as part of the investigation into the "Memogate" scandal, as Mansoor Ijaz, the Pakistani-American businessman at the heart of the scandal, submitted an 81-page statement to the court Thursday (ET, Dawn). Ijaz also claimed Thursday that Pakistani intelligence chief Lt. Gen. Ahmad Shuja Pasha visited several unnamed Arab countries following the U.S. raid that killed Osama bin Laden in May, allegedly looking for support to overthrow Zardari (Dawn). And the Supreme Court on Wednesday allowed former Pakistani ambassador to the United States Husain Haqqani to file an appeal with the court (ET).
The AP and Reuters both have must-reads about a journey taken by their reporters deep into North and South Waziristan with Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) fighters who remain ensconced in Pakistan’s tribal areas (AP, Reuters). Authorities in Karachi arrested a woman Wednesday, Sabiha Khatoon, who claims to have played a role in the May assault on the Pakistani naval base in Mehran along with her husband, a militant named Qari Shahid Khan who was killed by police last week (Dawn, ET). Six militants were reportedly killed Thursday in a clash with paramilitary Frontier Corps (FC) personnel near Turbat in Balochistan, while two FC members were killed by a landmine elsewhere in the province (ET, Dawn, ET).
Four stories round out the news today: Issam Ahmed talks to the truck drivers of NATO supplies waiting impatiently for Pakistan to open the border to Afghanistan, closed after NATO forces accidentally killed 24 Pakistani soldiers in Mohmand last month (CSM). The Tribune looks at a new report detailing the nightmarish sexual abuse of women in displaced person camps in Khyber-Pukhtunkhwa province (ET). The Post’s Karin Brulliard reports on the difficulties of teaching family planning in Pakistan, where the population is growing rapidly (Post). And Dawn details the rise in malnourishment among women and children in Pakistan (Dawn).
Indian animal welfare groups have called on Pakistani authorities to free a monkey, nicknamed Bobby, who was detained and then transferred to a zoo after he wandered into Pakistan from India (Tel). Bobby currently resides with a Pakistani monkey named Raju, though as Rob Crilly writes, "His illicit arrival in Pakistan immediately provoked suspicions that he was an Indian agent, sent to gather intelligence on Delhi’s nuclear-armed rival."
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