Afghan and coalition forces on Sunday rescued Dr. Dilip Joseph, an American doctor who had been kidnapped along with two Afghan men by Taliban militants on Wednesday as they drove to a rural medical clinic about an hour outside of Kabul (NYT, AP, AJE, BBC, CNN, Reuters). One U.S. Navy SEAL and several Taliban militants died in the rescue raid, and two Taliban leaders were arrested.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai said on Saturday that the man who attempted to kill the head of the National Directorate of Security (NDS), Asadullah Khalid, last week with a bomb hidden in his groin was from Pakistan (NYT, Reuters, LAT, Post). Speaking at a news conference at the presidential palace Karzai told reporters, "We will be seeking a lot of clarifications from Pakistan because we know that this man who came in the name of a guest to meet with Asadullah Khan Khalid came from Pakistan."
Unidentified gunmen shot and killed the acting head of the women's affairs department for the Afghan province of Laghman, Nadia Seddiqi, on Monday (Reuters, Post). Just five months ago, Seddiqi's predecessor Hanifa Safi was killed in a bomb attack. Meanwhile, the Nimroz Province police chief Gen. Mohammad Musa Rasoli was killed when his vehicle struck a roadside bomb in Herat Province as he was heading to work (AP, AJE). Afghan officials are regularly targeted by the Taliban, making assassination one of the risks that comes with the job (NYT).
Taliban suicide bombers attacked a police station near the northwestern Pakistani town of Bannu on Monday, killing at least eight people including both policemen and civilians (NYT, AP). And Pakistani security officials confirmed on Sunday that a U.S. drone strike in Pakistan's tribal regions last week had killed senior al-Qaeda leader Abdel Rehman al-Hussainan (NYT, Reuters). Hussainan's wife and daughter were also reportedly wounded in the attack, and his wife later died while being treated for her injuries at a hospital.
Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari travelled to Birmingham on Saturday for a private visit with Malala Yousufzai, the 15-year-old girl who was shot in the head by Taliban militants in October (BBC, AP, Reuters).
The Karachi garment factory where at least 262 workers died in a fire in September had been certified to meet international standards just three weeks prior by Social Accountability International, a reputable non-profit based in New York (NYT). Reports of locked doors and barred windows preventing workers from escaping the fire have raised questions about the efficacy of the certification procedures used to deem many factories around the world "safe."
A delegation of officials from the Pakistani Senate visited a Sufi Islamic shrine in India this weekend, where they prayed for better relations between the two historical enemies (TOI). Head of the delegation Sayeed Nayar Hussein Bukhari said "This is the first time when such an exchange between parliamentary committees has taken place between the two countries," and expressed confidence that the visit would help improve nations' relationship.
-- Jennifer Rowland