U.S. Special Forces hand over district of key province
Reluctant withdrawal U.S. Special Forces withdrew from their base in the Nerkh District of Wardak Province on Saturday, surrendering to demands for their withdrawal by Afghan President Hamid Karzai that came about after locals complained of human rights abuses by the Special Forces and Afghan commandos operating with them (Post, AP, LAT). U.S. officials initially ...
U.S. Special Forces withdrew from their base in the Nerkh District of Wardak Province on Saturday, surrendering to demands for their withdrawal by Afghan President Hamid Karzai that came about after locals complained of human rights abuses by the Special Forces and Afghan commandos operating with them (Post, AP, LAT). U.S. officials initially rejected the accusations and ignored Karzai’s demands for the immediate withdrawal of U.S. forces, but as pressure mounted from the Afghan government the U.S. military eventually agreed to a "gradual withdrawal," of which Nerkh is the first district.
President Karzai was in Qatar this weekend for talks with officials about peace negotiations with the Taliban that could happen by way of a Taliban office established in the Gulf nation (BBC, Reuters, AP, Tel, WSJ). But Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan told AFP that, "The opening of the Taliban office in Qatar is not related to Karzai, it is a matter between the Taliban and the Qatar government," and vowed that Taliban representatives in Qatar would not see or speak to President Karzai.
A NATO helicopter strike killed at least one child and nine militants in the eastern province of Ghazni on Saturday (Reuters). Local officials also said a woman was killed and eight civilians were injured in a firefight between Afghan security forces and Taliban insurgents.
Taliban militants on Sunday detonated a roadside bomb in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa targeting the motorcade of Malik Adnan Wazir, a politician associated with the secular Awami National Party (ANP) (AP, ET, Dawn). The blast injured eight people, including Wazir, who was said to be in stable condition. Two other wounded members of the convoy died at the hospital.
Dr. Nima Saeed Abid, the acting World Health Organization chief in Pakistan, said Friday that some 240,000 children in the tribal regions have missed polio vaccinations because of security concerns (AP). She said health workers had not been able to immunize children in North or South Waziristan since July 2012.
Gunmen attacked and set ablaze five trucks carrying supplies out of Afghanistan through Balochistan Province on Monday (AFP, Dawn). On Sunday, two Pakistani security forces were injured in an explosion in Quetta, the capital city of Balochistan (ET).
And in Lahore, residents are bickering over the name of a roundabout, which some Lahoris want renamed for a Sikh revolutionary, Bhagat Singh, who was hanged at the site by the British in 1931 (NYT). Others are outraged at the proposition because Singh was not a Muslim; the circle is currently named for Chaudhry Rehmat Ali, the Muslim student who coined the name "Pakistan" in the 1930s.
Badam Zari made history this weekend when she filed papers to become the first woman to contest a parliamentary seat in the Federally Administered Tribal Area (FATA) (ET). Zari will run for one of Bajaur Agency’s two seats, and she aims to address the difficulties faced by women in Pakistan’s tribal regions.
— Jennifer Rowland
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