Seven killed in North Waziristan drone strike
Wonk Watch: Elizabeth Rubin, "Roots of Impunity: Pakistan’s Endangered Press and the Perilous Web of Militancy, Security, and Politics," a report by the Committee to Protect Journalists. Drone attacks continue Six days after President Obama gave a speech outlining the curtailed use of drone strikes as a counterterrorism tool, seven people were killed and four ...
Wonk Watch: Elizabeth Rubin, "Roots of Impunity: Pakistan’s Endangered Press and the Perilous Web of Militancy, Security, and Politics," a report by the Committee to Protect Journalists.
Drone attacks continue
Six days after President Obama gave a speech outlining the curtailed use of drone strikes as a counterterrorism tool, seven people were killed and four were injured early Wednesday morning in a strike in North Waziristan, the first since April 17 (Dawn, NYT, Post, Reuters). While early reports have not identified the victims, three Pakistani security officials have said the strike killed Waliur Rehman, the Pakistani Taliban’s number two (Reuters). Rehman was poised to succeed current leader Hakimullah Mehsud. Despite claims that Rehman’s death would be a significant blow to the group, Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry condemned the strike as a breach of sovereignty.
The chief of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), Maulana Fazlur Rehman, has offered his party’s Qaumi Aman Jirga (National Peace Council) as a place for negotiations between the incoming Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government and the Pakistani Taliban, according to members from both parties (ET). There were also reports that Maulana Samiul Haq, chief of his own JUI faction, had approached the PML-N with a similar offer but Raja Muhammad Zafarul Haq, the party’s chairman, rejected the rumors as premature since the party has not yet formed its government (ET).
Kauser Saqlain, a senior lawyer with the Sindh High Court, and his two sons were gunned down Tuesday morning on Karachi’s Mauripur Road (Dawn, ET). The attack occurred as Saqlain was taking his sons, aged 12 and 15, to school. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack, but it comes three weeks after another lawyer and his father were killed in a similar attack on the same road. Lawyers boycotted proceedings at the Sindh High Court, city courts, and district courts to protest the most recent killing (Dawn).
Seven insurgents wearing police uniforms and explosive vests attacked a government compound in Panjshir on Wednesday, killing one police officer and wounding four others (AFP, AP, Pajhwok). It is unclear how many of the bombers were able to detonate their vests and how many were killed by security officials protecting the building, but none of the militants survived the attack. The Afghan Taliban has claimed responsibility for the early morning attack in the normally peaceful province.
Nineteen militants were killed in separate security incidents in Helmand and Paktika Provinces on Wednesday, according to Afghan officials (Pajhwok). Two militants were killed in Helmand while in Paktika, two were killed when planting a roadside bomb, 11 were killed during a clash with Afghan Local Police, and three others were killed in a separate gun battle with police.
In Faryab Province, four local policemen joined the Taliban and surrendered their weapons on Wednesday after beating the checkpoint commander who opposed their surrender (Pajhwok). Another six members of the Afghan Local Police fled the area after refusing to join the militants. Three schoolgirls and a school employee were wounded on Wednesday morning when a remote-controlled bomb exploded outside their school in Ghazni City (Pajhwok). The suspected attacker, who had attached the bomb to a bicycle, was killed by policemen after the incident.
Afghan pathologists at the Directorate of Forensic Medical Services are working with family members to identify the remains of three men who were last seen being picked up by an American Special Forces unit in the Nerkh district of Wardak Province in late January (NYT). At the Directorate, crime scene investigators lack powerful microscopes and DNA testing equipment, so the remains are being identified only by detailed knowledge of the clothes the men were wearing when they were last seen. Afghan investigators have accused Zakaria Kandahari, an Afghan-American man who worked with U.S. Special Forces, of detaining, torturing, and murdering many of the missing men. None of the three U.S. investigations into the issue have been made public.
British Defense Secretary Phillip Hammond confirmed on Wednesday that up to 90 Afghans have been held for months by UK forces at Camp Bastion in Helmand Province, but denied that they were being detained indefinitely, and rejected comparisons to the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay (NYT). Hammond said their prolonged detention was a result of holdups in the Afghan legal system that have delayed their transfer to Afghan custody.
‘Taan," a Pakistani show similar to "Glee," follows the lives and loves of a group of young people in Lahore who regularly burst into song (AFP). A 26-episode series scheduled to air from September to October, Taan tackles several taboo subjects, including love affairs between two men and between a Taliban ext
remist and a Christian girl. The show’s producer insists it is not being used a "political pulpit" and some of the more controversial topics, like homosexuality, are suggested, not overt. The show is hoping to draw both older and younger viewers by using classic Pakistani songs and reworking them to be more contemporary, a method "Glee" has perfected over four seasons.
— Jennifer Rowland and Bailey Cahall
More from Foreign Policy
A New Multilateralism
How the United States can rejuvenate the global institutions it created.
America Prepares for a Pacific War With China It Doesn’t Want
Embedded with U.S. forces in the Pacific, I saw the dilemmas of deterrence firsthand.
The Endless Frustration of Chinese Diplomacy
Beijing’s representatives are always scared they could be the next to vanish.
The End of America’s Middle East
The region’s four major countries have all forfeited Washington’s trust.