New post: Jeffrey E Stern, "Karzai's stealth bid to fix the elections" (FP).
New post: Daud Khattak, "For Pakistan, a change of heart in Afghanistan?" (FP).
Two more polio workers were shot and killed in Pakistan on Wednesday, a day after four female health workers were killed in similar attacks in Karachi, and a teenager was killed in Peshawar (CNN, AP, ET, NYT). In Wednesday's attack, gunmen opened fire on a vehicle carrying the supervisor of a polio campaign in Charsadda, killing both her and her driver. Four female health workers in Nowshera also reported being shot at, but managed to escape.
Following the attacks, in which eight people have died so far - mostly women, the United Nations and World Health Organization suspended all polio-related activities in Pakistan (NYT). The Taliban has in the past targeted polio workers in Pakistan for being supposed spies for the West.
Pakistani defense contractors are reportedly working on building a fleet of armed drones that the Pakistani military will be able to use in place of U.S. strikes in the country's tribal regions (WSJ). Drone strikes are highly unpopular within the Pakistani public, but the government has voiced its desire for more control over where and when they are used, rather than ending the strikes altogether.
British Prime Minister David Cameron is expected to announce Wednesday that the United Kingdom will withdraw at least 4,000 troops from Afghanistan next year, in a move that accelerates the NATO drawdown, and that has been endorsed by U.S. President Barack Obama (Guardian, Independent). The planned withdrawal would reduce British troop levels by almost half: down from 9,000 to 5,000.
German President Joachim Gauck arrived in Afghanistan on Tuesday for talks with President Hamid Karzai, in his first visit to the country since his election in March of this year (Deutsche Welle). 4,500 German troops remain in Afghanistan.
The Post's Rajiv Chandrasekaran reported Tuesday on the unique relationship between Gen. David Petraeus and the civilian husband-and-wife military analysts Frederick and Kimberly Kagan, who worked for Petraeus pro bono for almost a year while he was the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan (Post). The Kagans were reportedly given desks, email addresses, and clearances to read sensitive material in order to advise Petraeus in numerous private meetings.
A Pentagon report for Congress released last week found that almost 40 percent of "insider attacks" by Afghan security forces on their NATO counterparts were motivated by personal grievances, just 6 percent were suspected to have been enemy infiltration, and 14 percent stemmed from the co-option of forces by insurgents (Post). The Taliban has claimed the wave of insider attacks over the last two years as a successful insurgency strategy, but the Defense Department analysis suggests otherwise.
Pennsylvania native Sam French co-founded the Afghan Film Project, which aims to build a film industry in Afghanistan by training young aspiring Afghan filmmakers (Mercury). The Project's first film is called "Buzkashi Boys," which has been shortlisted for an Academy Award nomination for Best Short Film.