The South Asia Channel
Daily Brief: Taliban will not negotiate with Karzai – report
Rejection letter: Afghan Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid told CNN in an email on Tuesday that the Taliban refuse to negotiate with President Hamid Karzai’s "puppet" government, considering these talks pointless as "everyone around the world knows that the one who has got the authority in opposition to the Mujahideen [Taliban] is America" (CNN). Mujahid also ...
Rejection letter: Afghan Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid told CNN in an email on Tuesday that the Taliban refuse to negotiate with President Hamid Karzai’s "puppet" government, considering these talks pointless as "everyone around the world knows that the one who has got the authority in opposition to the Mujahideen [Taliban] is America" (CNN). Mujahid also confirmed that the Taliban have met with U.S. officials in Qatar, but that trust-building measures — such as the release of Guantánamo Bay detainees — must be completed before talks can proceed. CNN’s Nic Robertson explains how Mujahid’s statements reveal for the first time the Taliban’s political strategy (CNN). Bonus read: David H. Young, "Divide and conquer negotiations" (FP).
Despite the Taliban reluctance to talk, President Karzai reportedly plans to pressure Pakistan during a visit to Islamabad this week to facilitate his access to senior Taliban leaders believed to be based in the Pakistani city of Quetta (Reuters). And NATO communications director Gen. Lewis Boone said on Wednesday that the alliance regrets the accidental deaths of eight Afghan children in an air strike last week in the eastern province of Kapisa (Reuters, AP).
Pakistan’s Defense Minister Ahmed Mukhtar admitted Tuesday that NATO has been allowed to use Pakistani airspace only to ship perishable food items to troops in Afghanistan, following U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter’s statement last week that NATO had been transporting supplies over Pakistan (Dawn, ET, AP, AFP, The News).
A former Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate chief, Gen. Ziauddin Khwaja, has alleged that former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf new that Osama bin Laden was hiding in Abbottabad, and even knew that his compound had been "made to order" by another intelligence official (Daily Beast). Meanwhile, a longtime Pakistani resident of the United States, Majid Shoukat Khan, was charged by the U.S. Defense Department with plotting to assassinate Musharraf in a suicide bombing at a mosque in Karachi (Reuters/ET).
The AP’s Sebastian Abbot on Tuesday examined the rise of Pakistan’s Supreme Court as a force to be reckoned with in Pakistan, exemplified by its lack of hesitation in taking on both the country’s civilian and military powers (AP). While some analysts see the court’s newfound confidence as a moderating influence on the fierce competition between Pakistan’s civilian and military leaders, others view it as another attempt to take power from the elected government.
The Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) released a video on Tuesday claiming responsibility for a powerful suicide bombing last September targeting the home of senior law enforcement official Chaudhry Aslam, and killing eight people (ET). And Reuters’ Qasim Nauman on Tuesday discussed the dismal prospects of Pakistan’s ailing state airline, Pakistan International Arilines (PIA), and the ways in which its decline mirror that of Pakistan’s entire economy (Reuters).
Shop till you drop
Karachi’s first imported lingerie store, Triumph, opened last Friday just in time for Valentine’s Day, impressing women with its quality and moderate prices (ET). The storeowners say they are catering to women in the subcontinent with cotton undergarments instead of polyester, and a women-only policy at their mall-based shop that will allow customers more privacy than street-side stores.
Event Notice: Please join the U.S. Institute of Peace TODAY at 10:00 AM for the first public event in the U.S. with Ambassador Sherry Rehman, Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan to the U.S. This conversation, moderated by Stephen J Hadley, will discuss a ‘reset’ of the U.S.-Pakistan relationship (USIP).
— Jennifer Rowland