U.S. releases letters from bin Laden compound

Inside scoop: The U.S. government on Thursday released 17 letters written by Osama bin Laden during last years in a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, which reveal his concern over the deteriorating public image of al-Qaeda, as well as the civilians killed in attacks by regional al-Qaeda affiliates, and his attempt to remain intimately involved with the ...

ASIF HASSAN/AFP/Getty Images
ASIF HASSAN/AFP/Getty Images
ASIF HASSAN/AFP/Getty Images

Inside scoop: The U.S. government on Thursday released 17 letters written by Osama bin Laden during last years in a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, which reveal his concern over the deteriorating public image of al-Qaeda, as well as the civilians killed in attacks by regional al-Qaeda affiliates, and his attempt to remain intimately involved with the activities of his lieutenants around the world (APLATNYT). CNN National Security Analyst Peter Bergen detailed on Wednesday his experience inside the bin Laden compound just weeks before Pakistani authorities demolished it; he was the only journalist to gain access to the house in which the al-Qaeda leader lived his final years (CNN).

A suicide bomber struck a Pakistani market close to the Afghan border in Bajaur Agency on Friday, killing at least 20 people and wounding dozens more, including four Pakistani security forces and 16 civilians (APTelNYTBBCCNNETReutersAJEThe News). The attacker -- described by officials as a teenager -- approached a police checkpoint at the market on foot, and detonated his explosive vest near a group of paramilitary soldiers preparing to head out on patrol; the Tehree-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) later took responsibility.

Pakistan's National Assembly and Senate each passed resolutions on Thursday declaring their support for embattled prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, who vowed to stay in his position despite opposition calls for his resignation since he was convicted of contempt of court last week (ETDawnDT). Both the National Assembly and Senate are dominated by members of Gilani's own party, the Pakistan People's Party. Members of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz have announced a boycott of a scheduled parliamentary debate on a March 17 speech by President Asif Ali Zardari until Gilani steps down (ETDawn).

Inside scoop: The U.S. government on Thursday released 17 letters written by Osama bin Laden during last years in a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, which reveal his concern over the deteriorating public image of al-Qaeda, as well as the civilians killed in attacks by regional al-Qaeda affiliates, and his attempt to remain intimately involved with the activities of his lieutenants around the world (APLATNYT). CNN National Security Analyst Peter Bergen detailed on Wednesday his experience inside the bin Laden compound just weeks before Pakistani authorities demolished it; he was the only journalist to gain access to the house in which the al-Qaeda leader lived his final years (CNN).

A suicide bomber struck a Pakistani market close to the Afghan border in Bajaur Agency on Friday, killing at least 20 people and wounding dozens more, including four Pakistani security forces and 16 civilians (APTelNYTBBCCNNETReutersAJEThe News). The attacker — described by officials as a teenager — approached a police checkpoint at the market on foot, and detonated his explosive vest near a group of paramilitary soldiers preparing to head out on patrol; the Tehree-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) later took responsibility.

Pakistan’s National Assembly and Senate each passed resolutions on Thursday declaring their support for embattled prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, who vowed to stay in his position despite opposition calls for his resignation since he was convicted of contempt of court last week (ETDawnDT). Both the National Assembly and Senate are dominated by members of Gilani’s own party, the Pakistan People’s Party. Members of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz have announced a boycott of a scheduled parliamentary debate on a March 17 speech by President Asif Ali Zardari until Gilani steps down (ETDawn).

Foiled attack

Afghanistan’s intelligence agency, the National Directorate of Security (NDS), said in a statement Thursday that officers had arrested a Pakistani national driving a truck packed with explosives in eastern Kabul, purportedly preventing a large-scale suicide bombing (APAFP). Authorities in the eastern province of Paktia said Thursday that six Taliban fighters were killed and two wounded when the bomb they were building inside of a mosque exploded accidentally.

Officials from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Switzerland and the United Nations met Thursday at a conference in Geneva, where they endorsed a $1.9 billion plan to resettle and support almost 9 million current and former Afghan refugees, though the officials also acknowledged that the money has not yet been raised (AP).

Afghanistan’s budding media is reaching out to the government for support, having seen many colleagues fall victim to threats, beatings, and even murders, often for their coverage of corruption and drug-trafficking amongst government officials (Reuters).

Dog days are over

Pakistani cricketer Muhammad Asif was released from Canterbury Prison in Kent on Thursday, after a grueling 6-month sentence for his involvement in a match-fixing scam (The News). "These six months were difficult," Asif said. "We played football and badminton and used [the] gym regularly…The staff in the Canterbury were very supportive."

 Jennifer Rowland

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

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