U.S. and Afghan officials will begin security talks today to determine the number and role of NATO troops that will remain in Afghanistan after combat forces are scheduled to leave in 2014. One of the most difficult negotiations will be whether or not US soldiers remaining in Afghanistan will be immune from prosecution under Afghan law (LA Times, Economic Times).
In the midst of the scandal surrounded former CIA Director David Petraeus, NATO Secretary General Rasmussen announced his full support for Marine General John Allen. Allen, commander of US and international forces in Afghanistan, is also being investigated for involvement in the Washington scandal (Reuters).
The Asia Foundation's survey of public opinion in Afghanistan revealed that Afghans have an optimistic view of their government and future - 52 percent believe the country is moving in the right direction and a whopping 93 percent see the Afghan armed forces in a positive light (FP).
The Violence Continues
In Karachi, violence continued on Thursday with gunfire near Meena Bazaar, resulting in three deaths while a woman's tortured body was found in Bhains Colony. Many within the government are protesting the government's lack of action in defusing the increased violence in Karachi (ET).
Richard Hoagland, Deputy US Ambassador to Pakistan, expressed support for Pakistan's recent decision to release Afghan Taliban prisoners, as long as they vow to promote peace and follow the laws of Afghanistan's government (ET).
A Peaceful Civilization
An Italian archaeological mission in Swat uncovered an ancient cemetery that had been buried for 3,000 years. Evidence suggests the cemetery belonged to a powerful but peaceful civilization with strong social ties and family structures (ET).
-- Anjana Ravi