A suicide bomber attacked police tasked with maintaining order at a demonstration in the capital city of the northern Afghan province of Kunduz on Monday, killing 10 police officers and six civilians, and wounding 30 others (NYT, CNN, AP, AJE, WSJ, Reuters). The demonstration had been organized by residents of a nearby village to protest the killing of ten men last week by anti-Taliban militia members who accused them of supporting the insurgent group. And on Tuesday, another suicide bomber targeting a local community leader in the western province of Herat killed five civilians and wounded six (AP).
A report written by four academics who spent several hours interviewing two former Taliban ministers, a former Taliban commander, and an Afghan mediator who has been in communication with the Taliban, said in a report issues Monday that the Taliban are prepared to renounce their ties with al-Qaeda and agree to a ceasefire because they believe the war against NATO is unwinnable (Tel, Guardian, Reuters). But on Sunday, the Taliban posted a statement online saying the United States faces "utter defeat" in Afghanistan, and pledging to press on with their "sacred struggle" against "the invaders" (Tel, AFP, LAT).
A spokesman for NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said Monday that an ISAF helicopter parked inside the Bagram Air Base was destroyed by "indirect fire" from insurgents, killing all three Afghan service personnel who were on board (NYT). The Taliban later claimed responsibility for the attack.
Negotiations between the United States and Afghanistan are still at a standstill over the 600 newly detained Afghans at the Parwan detention facility, as well as about 30 original Afghan detainees, who the U.S. military has refused to transfer over concern that Afghan authorities will not continue to hold the prisoners without charge as stipulated in the transfer agreement (NYT, AP).
Flash floods in Pakistan have killed almost 80 people in the past three days, primarily in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province and Pakistan-held Kashmir, and destroyed more than 1,600 homes (BBC, AFP, ET). Authorities urged residents of lower Punjab and Upper Sindh to evacuate as floodwaters have begun to rise there and more rain is predicted at the end of the week (ET).
Dr. Shakil Afridi, the Pakistani doctor imprisoned for allegedly helping the CIA track down Osama bin Laden last year, told Fox News by phone from a jail in Peshawar that he is constantly tortured by members of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI), which he says regards the United States as its worst enemy (Fox, BBC, ET, AFP).
Fighting for recognition
Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Zaka Ashraf said Monday that the PCB would give Pakistani spin-bowler Saeed Ajmal a special award after he was left off of the shortlist for the International Cricket Council's Player of the Year award (The News). "Saeed Ajmal, we still say you're the number one bowler in the world and the PCB recognises you, and whether someone gives you the prize, that is immaterial, we don't care," Ashraf told the Pakistani cricket team.
-- Jennifer Rowland