In an interview with NBC on Thursday, Afghan President Hamid Karzai said there is a growing perception in Afghanistan that "part of the insecurity is coming to us from the structures that NATO and America created in Afghanistan" (NBC, AFP). Karzai told an NBC correspondent in Kabul that the United States helped foster insecurity by encouraging corruption and employing private military firms.
Victims of a massive Taliban suicide truck bombing last month, residents of Maidan Shahr, capital of the central Afghan province of Wardak, say they blame pervasive and persistent insecurity on not only the Taliban, but also the raids NATO forces conduct on their villages, and abuse by Afghan security forces (Post). One shopkeeper summed the sentiment up as, "We don't expect much from the Taliban except beatings, but the Americans are supposed to bring laws and principles. What we have here now is just chaos."
Violence reaches new heights
Fierce political and sectarian violence in Karachi has made 2012 one of the deadliest years for the city, with almost 2,000 people killed as of late November (AP). The Taliban have reportedly grown in number there as they take advantage of the chaos created by political violence, which is largely defined by a competition for power between the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and the Awami National Party (ANP).
Pakistani Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf met with the new U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Richard Olson on Thursday, during which Ashraf reiterated Pakistan's view that the U.S. drone campaign is counterproductive, and that "alternative means to eliminate terrorists" should be devised (Dawn, ET).
Shayla Cram, a U.S. public diplomacy officer assigned to the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar, has released a tribute song to Malala Yousufzai, the teenaged girl who was shot in the head by the Taliban in October (AFP). Cram says she hopes her song, which is in Pashto, will extend her reach to the Pakistani people with whom she can't interact.
-- Jennifer Rowland