New post: Stephen Tankel, "A road paved with potholes" (FP).
Happiness turns to tragedy
A suicide bomber struck a wedding on Saturday in the capital city of the northern Afghan province of Samangan, killing 23 people including a prominent ethnic Uzbek lawmaker, Ahmad Khan Samangani (AP, AJE, Guardian, NYT, LAT, WSJ, Post, CNN). Samangani was an ex-warlord who commanded fighters in the war against the Soviets during the 1980s, and was the father of the bride. The provincial intelligence chief Mohammad Khan was also killed in the attack, along with a commander in the Afghan National Police and a commander in the Afghan National Army.
Afghan Interior Minister Bismullah Khan Mohammadi said Sunday that the initial evidence from the attack points to the Taliban as the perpetrators, though the insurgent group has not claimed responsibility for it (AP).
On Sunday, the Afghan Higher Education Minister Obaidullah Obaid survived an assassination attempt when the vehicle he was travelling in from Baghlan to Kunduz Province hit a roadside bomb (Reuters). Three Afghan civilians were killed Monday when their vehicle struck a roadside bomb in the southern Afghan province of Kandahar. And two NATO service members were killed Monday in an insurgent attack elsewhere in southern Afghanistan (AP).
Pakistani Taliban militants disguised as women attacked a police intelligence office in Pakistan's mountainous tribal area of North Waziristan on Monday, taking several hostages before police were able to storm the building and end the five-hour siege (AP, Reuters, AFP). Four of the gunmen were killed, two by detonating their own suicide vests, and the fifth attacker was arrested by police at the end of the siege.
A mortar round struck the home of a paramilitary soldier in the northwestern Pakistani tribal area of Khyber on Sunday morning, wounding the soldier and killing his wife along with three of their children (AP, Dawn). It was unclear who fired the mortar. Three people were killed in shootings in the restive southern province of Balochistan on Wednesday in apparent targeted killings, including a leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) (ET). And at least 19 people were killed in violence in Karachi in the span of 24 hours on Sunday (ET).
Thousands of supporters of the hardline Difa-e-Pakistan Council (DPC) continue their "long march" to protest the reopening of NATO ground supply routes to Afghanistan, staging a sit-in at the Chaman border crossing in southern Pakistan on Sunday (ET, DT, Dawn). A new CNN piece reveals that for the first time since 2008, the civilian casualty rate for drone strikes in Pakistan is at or near zero (CNN).
And Pakistani police on Saturday said they had arrested a man in easter Punjab Province who buried his newborn daughter alive because she was physically deformed (AP).
Many Pakistani cities saw a marked surge in weddings during the first week of July, despite the summer heat, as couples hurried to tie the knot before a new visa rule for immigrants came into effect in the United Kingdom on July 9 (Tel). The new rule raises the minimum income for anyone looking to bring a foreign spouse into the U.K. by about £ 5,000 ($ 7,700).