The South Asia Channel

NATO allies extend Secretary General’s term one more year

Event notice: "Youth Bulge, Public Policy, and Prospects for Peace in Pakistan" at the U.S. Institute of Peace; October 10, 2012; 9 AM-5 PM (USIP). One more year NATO member countries agreed on Wednesday to extend Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen’s term for another year, meaning he will have served as the head of the ...

GEORGES GOBET/AFP/GettyImages
GEORGES GOBET/AFP/GettyImages

Event notice: "Youth Bulge, Public Policy, and Prospects for Peace in Pakistan" at the U.S. Institute of Peace; October 10, 2012; 9 AM-5 PM (USIP).

One more year

NATO member countries agreed on Wednesday to extend Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen’s term for another year, meaning he will have served as the head of the organization for five years, and is scheduled to leave his post at the end of July 2014, just months before the alliance completes the withdrawal of combat troops from Afghanistan (Reuters). NATO heads are always given four-year terms, with the option of staying on for a fifth year if all member countries agree.

The LA Times published a Q&A session with Rasmussen on Tuesday, in which the NATO chief maintains that the training of Afghan forces remains the core of the coalition strategy in Afghanistan, despite a worrying number of "insider attacks" by Afghan security forces on their NATO counterparts (LAT).

And a bomb blast on Tuesday in southern Afghanistan took the life of one American soldier (LAT).   

Workin’ women

As more Pakistani women enter the workforce, they are not only contributing more than ever before to their family’s income, but they also use this income to fuel the country’s booming retail industry by increasing their discretionary spending (Post). But this phenomenon is largely confined to middle class women in Pakistan’s urban centers, while women in rural areas tend to contribute even more to the economy but are paid much less.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is expected to be in Pakistan on Wednesday and Thursday for talks with the civilian leadership there, in what appears to be a conciliatory visit following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s postponement of his scheduled visit to Pakistan (ET). The trip comes at the same time as the head of Pakistan Army Gen. Ashfaq Pervez Kayani heads to Moscow for talks with Russia’s military leaders.

The protest market

While anti-American protests in Pakistan exacerbate bilateral tensions, and even sometimes result in death or injury to those involved, local makers of American flags are rewarded with a massive jump in sales (AFP). No matter that their wares are being bought just to be burned; "whenever we have these demonstrations, I make 10 times as much money as normal," one printing store owner declared.

 

— Jennifer Rowland

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