Karzai dismisses intelligence chief, nominates new defense and interior ministers

New post: Kiran Nazish, "Imprisoned, an activist speaks" (FP). Not-so-new faces Afghan president Hamid Karzai on Wednesday dismissed the country’s head of intelligence Rahmatullah Nabil, just before nominating new defense and interior ministers (AP, Reuters). The Afghan parliament voted earlier this month to sack Defense Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak and Interior Minister Bismillah Khan Mohammadi ...

BAY ISMOYO/AFP/Getty Images
BAY ISMOYO/AFP/Getty Images
BAY ISMOYO/AFP/Getty Images

New post: Kiran Nazish, "Imprisoned, an activist speaks" (FP).

New post: Kiran Nazish, "Imprisoned, an activist speaks" (FP).

Not-so-new faces

Afghan president Hamid Karzai on Wednesday dismissed the country’s head of intelligence Rahmatullah Nabil, just before nominating new defense and interior ministers (AP, Reuters). The Afghan parliament voted earlier this month to sack Defense Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak and Interior Minister Bismillah Khan Mohammadi over their failure to stem corruption in the government and cross-border attacks from militants in Pakistan.

But following the removal of Nabil, Karzai nominated current interior ministry deputy Mushtaba Parag as interior minister, former Kandahar governor Asadullah Khalid as chief of the National Directorate of Security (NDS), and former Interior Minister Mohammadi as the new defense minister (Reuters). All three men are part of Karzai’s inner circle, and parliament is thus likely to find their nomination unappealing.

Minimizing exposure

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said Tuesday that it is resuming its activities in Pakistan on a reduced scale following a 4-month suspension of operations in response to the murder of a British aid worker outside Quetta, Balochistan in April (AFP, Reuters, The News, AP, Dawn). The aid agency will close its offices in Karachi and Quetta, as well as scale back its projects in the country’s northwest.

The head of the All Pakistan Ulema Council, Pakistan’s top body of Muslim clerics, on called for the fair treatment of Rimsha Masih, a young Christian Pakistani girl who may suffer from Down syndrome and who was arrested on August 16 on charges of blasphemy (AFP, The News). Masih’s lawyers on Tuesday applied for her release from jail, citing a medical report that confirmed she is a minor with some degree of mental illness (NYT).

A Pakistani military official said Tuesday that 11 militants who had crossed into Pakistan’s Bajaur tribal agency from Afghanistan were killed along with three security force personnel in clashes sparked by the militants’ attacks (AP). It was the fifth day that battles were reported between local security forces and militants from Afghanistan, and local officials said many families were stranded in their homes due to the intense fighting. Pakistani Taliban militants on Wednesday attacked an Army post in South Waziristan, killing at least eight Pakistani troops (AP, NYT).

And India’s Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld the death sentence given in May 2010 to Mohammed Kasab, the lone surviving gunman involved in the 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed 166 people, and which India blames on the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (ET/AFP).

A national crisis of athleticism

Many in Pakistan were disappointed by the poor performance of Pakistani athletes at this year’s summer Olympic Games in London, where the country’s biggest feat was coming in seventh place in the men’s field hockey tournament, because they finished ahead of rival India (Post). But one lawyer in Lahore has filed a lawsuit in the Supreme Court alleging that "nepotism, favoritism, [and] corruption" are at the root of the Pakistan’s medal-less departure from the United Kingdom, a failure he calls a "national crisis."

— Jennifer Rowland

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

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