Negotiations on Pakistani supply routes fail
Publication notice: The New America Foundation’s National Security Studies Program has just released a new database detailing drone strikes against militants in Yemen. Amidst faltering relations between Pakistan and the U.S., the U.S. pulled out a low-level delegation of its negotiators from Islamabad on Monday after talks failed to produce a breakthrough on re-opening a ...
Publication notice: The New America Foundation's National Security Studies Program has just released a new database detailing drone strikes against militants in Yemen.
Publication notice: The New America Foundation’s National Security Studies Program has just released a new database detailing drone strikes against militants in Yemen.
Amidst faltering relations between Pakistan and the U.S., the U.S. pulled out a low-level delegation of its negotiators from Islamabad on Monday after talks failed to produce a breakthrough on re-opening a major supply route for NATO in Afghanistan which goes through Pakistan (Dawn, ET, NYT). Pakistan has not allowed NATO to use the supply route since an errant U.S. airstrike killed 24 Pakistani soldiers last November. U.S. officials stressed that by pulling out the team they were not intending to send any political message to the Pakistanis, and that higher-level political negotiations over the supply route are ongoing.
A suicide bombing in Peshawar, Pakistan killed two and injured two on Tuesday after targeting anti-Taliban tribal leader Muhammad Fahim (Dawn). The victims were his security guards. Meanwhile, in Baluchistan province in southwestern Pakistan, a motorcycle bomb killed three and injured 40 on Monday after hitting a bus in the Mastung district of Quetta. A Pakistani official suggested that the attack was intended to target Shiite pilgrims traveling to Iran but hit the bus instead (CBS). The attacks came after a bomb hidden in a toy killed a mother and injured three young children in the Nasir Bagh area of Peshawar on Monday (AFP).
Meanwhile, two days of discussions between India and Pakistan in Rawalpindi over the disputed Siachen glacier have ended without any progress, though it was agreed that the talks would continue (NYT).
Taliban attacks in Afghanistan
In two separate Taliban attacks in Afghanistan on Tuesday, at least eight people were killed and several injured. In one bombing a suicide bomber on a bicycle targeted a police patrol in the northern province of Balkh and killed at least three people (AFP). Elsewhere, a minivan hit a roadside bomb in Wardak province south of Kabul and killed five (ET, CBS). The incidents came after a separate roadside bombing Monday night killed seven in Farah province in western Afghanistan.
The Afghan government said on Monday that militia loyal to the army chief of staff General Abdul Rashid Dostum were interfering with oil exploration being done in northern Afghanistan by the Chinese firm National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) (Reuters). The company signed a deal last year with the Afghan government — the first international oil deal with Afghanistan in decades — for exploration of the Amu Darya basin, a move that is expected to accrue billions of dollars to the government over the coming decades. Afghan government officials complained that men loyal to Dostum were demanding a cut of the profits, though Dostum’s National Front party denied the allegations.
Between 80 and 90 people are feared dead in a remote village in Afghanistan’s Baghlan province after two earthquakes struck Afghanistan yesterday, triggering a landslide that destroyed their homes (CNN).
The Pentagon’s Defense Criminal Investigative Service has launched a full-scale probe into one of the U.S. military’s top private contractors, Leonie Industries (USA Today). The company, which is seen as the largest ‘propaganda’ contractor for the U.S., stands accused of failing both to pay millions of dollars in back taxes and to provide services for its Afghan employees. Rep. John Tierney of Massachusetts, who has led the effort at investigating Leonie and who is a senior member on the House Committee on Government Oversight and Reform, said that "it is critical that we hold the Pentagon, and companies working with our government, to the highest standards…claims of ongoing lack of accountability in war zone contracting cannot be ignored."
Pakistani judicial commission reopens ‘memogate’
A judicial commission’s report to the Pakistani Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled that former Pakistani Ambassador to the U.S., Hussain Haqqani, did in fact author a memo to members of the Obama administration warning against the possibility of a military coup against Pakistan’s civilian leadership (ET, NYT). The Supreme Court also declared that Haqqani must come back to Pakistan. Messages from Twitter by Haqqani, an avid social media user, defended his innocence against the controversial commission: "One-sided proceedings of Commission that refused to hear me will be challenged by my lawyers", said one, with another noting: "Commission is not a court and those claiming it has determined guilt or innocence are wrong." Mansoor Ijaz, the Pakistani-American businessman whose initial claims about Haqqani’s actions first led to the ‘Memogate’ controversy, said the news vindicated the "truth he had been speaking from the day the case started. (ET)"
Bearish on mangos?
Mango crops in Sindh are showing a 30 percent production deficit this year, primarily as a result of last year’s monsoon season which caused extensive crop damages. According to a Pakistani fruit wholesaler named Ziauddin who spoke about the reduced crop with Dawn, however, the downward trend may find some respite if an export ban to Iran — which accounted for nearly 40 percent of Pakistani mango exports last year — is overturned this year (Dawn).
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