Daily Brief: Suicide attack targets NATO aid team

Deadly blast A suicide attack on Thursday targeting a NATO provincial reconstruction team (PRT) in the capital city of Helmand Province, Lashkar Gah, killed at least four civilians and wounded dozens (AFP, AP). Meanwhile, an Afghan identified only as Mahmood has been sentenced to 16 years in prison for spying on NATO forces on behalf of ...

JANGIR/AFP/Getty Images
JANGIR/AFP/Getty Images
JANGIR/AFP/Getty Images

Deadly blast

Deadly blast

A suicide attack on Thursday targeting a NATO provincial reconstruction team (PRT) in the capital city of Helmand Province, Lashkar Gah, killed at least four civilians and wounded dozens (AFPAP). Meanwhile, an Afghan identified only as Mahmood has been sentenced to 16 years in prison for spying on NATO forces on behalf of Iran, after being found with photographs of NATO bases and the telephone numbers of Iranian intelligence agents (AFP). 

Reuters reports on the improvement in both the capabilities and equipment of Afghanistan’s newly formed special forces division, to the extent that they now feel ready to take over the night raids usually performed by foreign forces, which President Hamid Karzai has vehemently insisted be halted (Reuters).

Defense force

Pakistani soldiers killed at least 20 militants on Thursday in Kurram Agency after coming under attack close to the Afghan border (AP). In the Sui area of Balochistan Province, five soldiers were killed when militants attacked a check post on Thursday, while in the Baloch capital city of Quetta, three people were shot and killed by unidentified gunmen on Wednesday (ETDawnET).

The Associated Press reports that the recent kidnappings of several foreign aid workers in Pakistan has sparked fears not only for the safety of humanitarian volunteers, but also for the Pakistanis in need of their help (AP). Elderly American aid worker Warren Weinstein is still believed to be in the custody of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), a sectarian Pakistani militant organization, which is providing Weinstein with "all available medical treatment" according to one LeJ member (McClatchy).

Thousands of trucks destined for Afghanistan but denied permission to cross through Pakistan are clogging up the port in Karachi, where some exasperated drivers have simply deserted their trucks (AP). Others have remained after hearing rumors of a reopening of the border, which was closed after 24 Pakistani soldiers were killed in a NATO airstrike on November 26. Elsewhere in Pakistan, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif announced on Thursday that the death toll from tainted cardiac medication has risen to 100, as the government began doling out compensation packages to the family members of the deceased (DawnAFPET).

Cavity of corruption

Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI) leader Javed Hashmi joined a crowd of aspiring doctors and dentists on Tuesday at the inaugural ceremony of a private medical and dental school in Multan (ET). Speaking to the media later, Hashmi added that he thinks dentists in Pakistan should look into developing an injection that attacks the teeth of the corrupt politicians and bureaucrats that are stealing the nation’s wealth.

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

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