Afghan security forces killed five insurgents who were allegedly planning an attack on Kabul, in a gun battle on the outskirts of the capital early Thursday morning (AP, Reuters, BBC, CNN, Tel). Police said the militants had been amassing weapons in preparation for the attack, and had three vehicles packed with explosives and suicide vests, as well as large amounts of rocket propelled grenades and automatic weapons. Authorities also said that intelligence collected after the raid on the militants' compound pointed to the Pakistan-based Haqqani Network, which has come under increased scrutiny as U.S. lawmakers push for it to be designated a foreign terrorist organization (AFP).
Insurgents in Afghanistan pulled four civilians off a minibus in the eastern province of Wardak on Tuesday, and shot them dead (AP). And NATO officials said Wednesday that four service members were killed across the country in separate bomb blasts in the south and east of the country that day.
Afghan Finance Minister Omar Zakhilwal's own finances were questioned Wednesday when Tolo Television showed copies of two different bank statements belonging to Zakhilwal, which showed large deposits into his accounts from businesses and individuals in Afghanistan, and sizable transfers of his funds to banks in Canada (NYT). Zakhilwal maintained in an interview with Tolo that he had made the money legally through consulting jobs, as well as his position as a professor in Canada before he returned to Afghanistan.
The top NATO commander in Afghanistan, U.S. Gen. John Allen, visited Pakistani military chief Gen. Ashfaq Pervez Kayani in Rawalpindi on Thursday to discuss border coordination in his first visit to the country since Pakistan ended its eight-month blockade on NATO supply trucks (AP, AFP, VOA). His visit comes as Pakistan's spy chief Lt. Gen. Zaheerul Islam is in Washington for talks with CIA director David Petraeus.
The U.S. Department of Defense said Wednesday that it had begun the transfer to Pakistan of $1.1 billion in Coalition Support Funds that had been withheld during the closure of the ground supply routes to NATO supply trucks (ET).
Pride and censorship
Despite 30 years of conflict, Afghanistan managed to send six athletes to the Olympic Games in London this year, including female sprinter Tahmina Kohistani (AFP). Unfortunately, Afghan officials are not allowing any women's events to be shown on television in the conservative country, preventing fans from cheering on the only Afghan woman at the Games.