The South Asia Channel

7 dead in suicide attack on Georgian base

Deadly blast A suicide bomber detonated a truck filled with explosives inside the outer perimeter of a base in Helmand Province run by Georgian troops, killing seven soldiers (NYT, LAT, AP, BBC). The attack was the second within a month on a Georgian base in Helmand; on May 15, three Georgian troops died in a ...

VANO SHLAMOV/AFP/Getty Images
VANO SHLAMOV/AFP/Getty Images

Deadly blast

A suicide bomber detonated a truck filled with explosives inside the outer perimeter of a base in Helmand Province run by Georgian troops, killing seven soldiers (NYT, LAT, AP, BBC). The attack was the second within a month on a Georgian base in Helmand; on May 15, three Georgian troops died in a similar bombing. Georgia’s defense minister Irakli Alasania flew to Afghanistan on Friday to meet with his Afghan counterpart Bismillah Khan Mohammadi and discuss the attack (AP). 

Relatives of the 16 Afghan civilians who were murdered by Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales last March are furious that Bales’ guilty plea allows him to avoid the death penalty (AFP, VOA, WSJ, Deutsche Welle, BBC). "All I want is to see this guy executed. We don’t want anything else," Samiullah, whose mother was killed in the massacre, told AFP.

The parents of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was taken hostage by the Taliban in mid-June 2009, said Thursday that they had received a letter from their son delivered by the International Committee of the Red Cross (AP)."Our family is greatly relieved and encouraged by this letter," they said, but did not release details of its contents.

Historic case

On Friday, Shahrukh Jatoi and Siraj Talpur, young men from two of Karachi’s wealthiest families, received death sentences for the murder of 20-year-old Shahzeb Khan last December (AP, ET, Dawn). Two other suspects, Sajjad Ali Talpur and Ghulam Murtaza Lashari were sentenced to life in prison. Khan’s father has said he encountered trouble trying to register the case with the police – an allegation the police have denied – prompting activists to start a social media campaign calling for the perpetrators to be held accountable despite their socio-economic status.

An improvised explosive device (IED) exploded in Peshawar while police were on patrol on Thursday, killing two officers and wounding three others (ET). Meanwhile, security forces killed at least three Taliban militants and two women during a raid on a home in Quetta on Thursday (AFP). And families of some of the people killed in U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan’s tribal regions wrote a letter to their new prime minister on Thursday urging him to put an end to the strikes (Dawn). About a month ago, the high court in Peshawar declared the drone program in Pakistan a "war crime," and ordered the central government to stop them.

Aftab Sultan, who served as director general of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI) from October 2011 to July 2012, has been chosen by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to once again head the country’s spy agency (Dawn).

Movers and shakers

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has sent a personal letter to Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leader Imran Khan asking for his help in furthering the anti-polio campaign that has come under fire from militants in Pakistan (ET). Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, of which the PTI took control after the May 11 general elections, has witnessed continued militant attacks against polio vaccination teams.

— Jennifer Rowland

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