U.S. officials deny two strikes were work of drones

The Rack: Vali Nasr, "The Inside Story of How the White House Let Diplomacy Fail in Afghanistan" (FP). Not ours Media reports described two missile attacks in Pakistan’s tribal regions in early February as the work of U.S. drones, but U.S. officials now say that the drone program hasn’t had "any kinetic activity since January," ...

Bonny Schoonakker/AFP/Getty Images
Bonny Schoonakker/AFP/Getty Images
Bonny Schoonakker/AFP/Getty Images

The Rack: Vali Nasr, "The Inside Story of How the White House Let Diplomacy Fail in Afghanistan" (FP).

Not ours

Media reports described two missile attacks in Pakistan's tribal regions in early February as the work of U.S. drones, but U.S. officials now say that the drone program hasn't had "any kinetic activity since January," meaning the two reported strikes in February may not have been from CIA-directed drones (NYT). Some American officials think the strikes must have been carried out by the Pakistani government, which is blaming them on U.S. drones to avoid criticism of their own military operations in the militant-ridden northwest.

The Rack: Vali Nasr, "The Inside Story of How the White House Let Diplomacy Fail in Afghanistan" (FP).

Not ours

Media reports described two missile attacks in Pakistan’s tribal regions in early February as the work of U.S. drones, but U.S. officials now say that the drone program hasn’t had "any kinetic activity since January," meaning the two reported strikes in February may not have been from CIA-directed drones (NYT). Some American officials think the strikes must have been carried out by the Pakistani government, which is blaming them on U.S. drones to avoid criticism of their own military operations in the militant-ridden northwest.

A 77-year-old Muslim cleric from south Florida, Hafiz Khan, was convicted Monday of sending thousands of dollars to the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which has been blamed for attacks that have killed both Americans and Pakistanis (AP, NYT). The case began in May 2011 with six defendants indicted, but Khan’s two sons were cleared of charges and the other three individuals remain at large in Pakistan. 

Feeling the consequences

An Afghan court on Tuesday convicted 21 people in connection to the Kabul Bank scandal, including the bank’s founder Sherkhan Farnood, and its former chief executive Khalilullah Frozi, each of whom received 5-year prison sentences and hundreds of millions of dollars in fines (NYT, AP, CNN, Reuters, Guardian, BBC, AJE). Investigators have described Kabul Bank as a Ponzi scheme, which bank officials used to launder money from depositors to their own accounts as well as those of their friends and family.

At Forward Base Apache in Zabul Province, U.S. engineers are building up facilities rather than tearing them down, as the base prepares to take in international soldiers from smaller bases around the province who are pulling back and handing combat operations over to Afghan forces (McClatchy). The consolidation of troops is a major step toward the eventual withdrawal of most international forces and equipment by the end of 2014.

And the Times’ Michael R. Gordon reported this weekend on the forthcoming book from former State Department expert Vali Nasr, who criticizes that the Obama administration for purportedly shutting out its diplomats from key decisions concerning foreign policy, much of which, Nasr asserts, was felt in its policy toward Afghanistan and Pakistan (NYT).

Bills to pay

According to electricity bills from the Islamabad Electric Supply Company, Interior Minister Rehman Malik owes 4.2 million rupees in 56 months of outstanding electric bills (Dawn). But he isn’t the only official who has failed to pay bills to the country’s cash-strapped power companies; Dr. Fahmida Mirza, the Speaker of the National Assembly, owes over 380,000 rupees on 13 months of unpaid bills, and Haji Khuda Bakhsh, the Minister for Narcotics Control owes 1.07 million rupees for 49 months of bills.

— Jennifer Rowland

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

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