It is likely that Pakistan and the US have finally reached some kind of resolution on how to deal with the complex relations between Afghan Taliban, the TTP, and Al Qa'eda on the one hand and between Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the US on the other. For Islamabad, this may have involved agreement on joint operations and continued intelligence sharing vis-s-vis Al Qa'eda and TTP operatives. That has brought US economic and security assistance with the release of $600 million from the Coalition Support Fund and another $200 million for the Bhasha Dam.
Entries in Taliban (62)
The death of Mullah Nazir in a US drone strike in Pakistan yesterday fuels an argument that has been pursued to the point of death, metaphorically and literally. This argument says that there are two kinds of Taliban --- those who murder people in Afghanistan and Pakistan and are "enemies" of Islamabad, and those who murderpeople in Afghanistan and Pakistan but are Islamabad's "friends".
Mullah Nazir, some have told us, is the latter. He might be roaming on Pakistani territory with his armed gangs, terrorising local populations, stopping aid workers from immunising Pakistani children from diseases like polio, and adding to the insecurity in the nation, but still.... He does most of his dirty work in Afghanistan, and since Afghanistan and Pakistan are "enemies", he should not have been harmed. Indeed, he should have been protected.
Ten people were killed including Taliban warlord Mullah Nazir and several others injured in multiple US drone strikes carried out in the South and North Waziristan tribal regions on Thursday.
In the attack in South Waziristan, an unmanned drone fired two missiles at a vehicle killing six people in the Sar Kanda area of Birmil in Pakistan’s northwestern tribal district of South Waziristan.
While talking to Dawn.com, local Taliban and intelligence sources confirmed the killing of pro-government and anti-US Taliban commander Mullah Nazir along with five of his companions near Wana.
A female car bomber has killed at least 12 people, nine of them foreigners, this morning.
The attack took place at about 6:45 a.m. (0215 GMT) on the edge of the capital Kabul near the airport. The bomber blew herself up alongside a minivan, carrying foreigners who worked for the courier company ACS. Two police were wounded.
A senior police officer said six of the dead foreigners were Russian and South Africans. One of the Afghans killed was a street-side tyre fixer.
Rajiv Chandrasekaran's newly-released book, Little America: The War Within The War for Afghanistan (see extract in separate EA feature) has prompted soul-searching amongst US analysts about what went wrong, more than a decade after the situation was supposedly resolved with the ousting of the Taliban.
Michael Cohen's comment for The Progressive Realist resonates, in part because it returns to the key period in 2009 --- covered extensively by EA at the time --- when the US military bounced President Obama into an expanded intervention. Ostensibly, this was for development and political resolution as well as the vanquishing of the Taliban; in practice, the development and political resolution never followed the additional boots on the ground.
UPDATE 0815 GMT: Two suicide bombers have killed at least 22 people and wounded about 50 civilians at a bazaar near Kandahar, according to local police.
The explosion occurred near the city's airport, which houses a large NATO airbase, in an area used by vehicles carrying supplies for the international force. The police said an attacker drove a motorcycle packed with explosives into the area, while another attacker detonated bombs after approaching on foot.
A local Afghan official has said that 17 civilians have been killed in a NATO airstrike in eastern Afghanistan.
In a statement, NATO said it knew of only two light injuries to civilians during the pre-dawn incident on Wednesday.
President Barack Obama quietly flew into Afghanistan last week on a significant mission ---- to join Afghan President Hamid Karzai in signing the Strategic Partnership Agreement between the two countries. The text still needs to be ratified by the US Congress and the Afghan Parliament, but at face value, it is quite an achievement for Afghanistan.
Gun battles between Afghan security forces and Taliban fighters in the capital, Kabul, have ended after almost 18 hours of fierce fighting, according to government and police officials.
"The latest information we have about the Afghan parliament area is that the attack is over now and the only insurgent who was resisting has been killed," Hashmatullah Stanikzai, the Kabul police chief's spokesman, said on Monday.
There are conflicting reports regarding the number of casualties in the co-ordinated attacks that targeted mainly western installations in Kabul, which the Taliban described as the launch of a "spring offensive".
Defence ministry said 32 gunmen and three Afghan soldiers were killed in the operation against the multiple assaults, Reuters news agency reported.
However, AFP news agency said 36 fighters and eight members of security forces were killed and 44 others were wounded in the gun battle.
UPDATE 1300 GMT: At least 54 people were killed and 150 injured in the Kabul explosion, according to the Ministry of Health. Four people died and 21 were injured in the Mazar-e Sharif bomb.
UPDATE 1000 GMT: A senior police officer has said more than 40 people have been killed and more than 100 wounded in the Kabul bombing.
UPDATE 0830 GMT: A bomb has exploded at a Shi'a mosque in central Kabul as worshippers commemorated the religious occasion of Ashura. Journalist Jerome Starkey reported, "Dozens dead. Bodies all over the street." An AFP photographer also counted more than 30 dead.
Another attack has been reported in Mazar-e Sharif in northern Afghanistan.
Ten years after the fall of the Taliban in Afghanistan --- and ten years after the first Bonn Conference on the country's future --- Afghan leaders and foreign representatives have again convened in Germany. I spoke with BBC West Midlands last night about the conference, the prospects for progress, the absence of the Taliban from the discussion, and the possible motives for Afghan President Hamid Karzai's subsequent visit to London.
The item starts just before the 1:10.00 mark.
The last time I met with Burhanuddin Rabbani, he had just taken up his post as head of Afghanistan's High Peace Council. He was looking unusually fit and energized and was in a jocular mood, his dark eyes laughing as he regaled his visitors with witty appraisals of Afghanistan's nascent peace process. President Hamid Karzai had taken his time in announcing the names of the High Peace Council members, officially announcing them in October 2010, and less than a month later Rabbani was already complaining that the Karzai administration had been dragging its feet on establishing an office for the council.