New post: Frances Z. Brown, "Afghanistan's need for reform: We have seen the enemy and it is our anecdotes" (FP).
Actions speak louder than words?
Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar told the United Nations Human Rights Council on Tuesday that Pakistan "is a democratic, pluralistic and progressive state" that is committed to protecting its citizens' human rights (Reuters, ET, Dawn, The News). But the U.S., British, and European ambassadors present at the meeting pushed back on Khar's statements, pointing out that Pakistan has failed to protect minorities, the military is often used to stifle dissent, and human trafficking is allowed to flourish with little response.
Interior Minister Rehman Malik said Wednesday that Pakistani police had arrested Attaullah Khan, the primary suspect in the shooting earlier this month of 15-year-old Malala Yousufzai (ET). A former resident of Swat, Khan had reportedly been working toward a masters in chemistry before he decided to take up militancy.
The head of Afghanistan's Independent Election Commission indicated on Wednesday the IEC's commitment to impartiality during the presidential elections scheduled for April 5, 2014, and said it is "prepared to pave the ground for the armed opposition...either as voters or candidates" (AFP).
A roadside bomb in the southern Afghan province of Helmand killed at least eight civilians, including seven women, on Wednesday (AFP). In recent months the Taliban have been launching attacks in the once peaceful province of Bamian with a frequency that is unprecedented over the 11-year war in Afghanistan (NYT). The deadly shows of force target civilians, police, government, and military, and are part of the Taliban's effort to show Afghans that no part of the country is safe.
An enemy in need...
A Pakistani militant leader on whom the U.S. government placed a $10 million bounty earlier this year has offered to provide volunteers, food, medicine, and other aid to the United States in the wake of Hurricane Sandy (VOA). The accused militant, Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, is the founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and the head of the charity Jamaat-ud-Dawa, which is seen by the U.S. as a front for LeT.
-- Jennifer Rowland