Central Asia

News from Central Asia

Report: Pakistain is aiding the Taliban

NY Times: Americans fighting the war in Afghanistan have long harbored strong suspicions that Pakistan’s military spy service has guided the Afghan insurgency with a hidden hand, even as Pakistan receives more than $1 billion a year from Washington for its help combating the militants, according to a trove of secret military field reports made public Sunday.

"McChrystal relieved of command, Petraeus chosen to take over"

CNN: President Barack Obama on Wednesday replaced Gen. Stanley McChrystal as commander of U.S. and allied forces in Afghanistan and nominated Gen. David Petraeus to replace him while affirming support for a counterinsurgency strategy encountering problems. The dramatic shift came a day after McChrystal's disparaging comments about America's civilian leadership surfaced, and reignited the national debate on the war in Afghanistan -- now in its eighth year with a June death toll of coalition forces that is close to becoming the highest of the war.

U.S. makes massive mineral find in Afghanistan

The Globe: A team of U.S. geologists and Pentagon officials has discovered vast mineral wealth in Afghanistan, conceivably enough to turn the scarred and impoverished country into one of the world's most lucrative mining centers, The New York Times reports. “There is stunning potential here,” Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of the United States Central Command, told the paper in a report published Monday.

"Insurgents attack main Canadian military base in Afghanistan"

The Globe: The main Canadian military base in Afghanistan came under attack Saturday after insurgents fired rockets and mortars before quickly launching a ground attack. The attack at the Kandahar airfield base, also the main NATO base in southern Afghanistan, occurred at about 8 p.m. local time as militants tried unsuccessfully to breach the northern perimeter. A small number of people were injured and being treated, said Squadron Leader Paul Scott, a spokesman for the International Security Assistance Force. “It's still ongoing at the moment,” Scott told The Canadian Press.

Canadian military employee alleges deliberate transfer to torture in Afghanistan

The Globe: An Afghan-Canadian who served as an interpreter for Canada’s military has breathed new life into the detainee controversy with troubling allegations that this country’s soldiers deliberately transferred prisoners to torture. Ahmadshah Malgarai also told a Commons committee yesterday that he came across evidence troops killed an innocent Afghan teen in 2007 and then tried to cover it up.

"Karzai threatens to join the Taliban"

CBC: Afghan President Hamid Karzai twice threatened to quit politics and join the Taliban if the West continued to pressure him to enact reforms, legislators said Monday. Karzai issued the threat during a private meeting with Afghan lawmakers on the weekend. People at the meeting said they thought Karzai's comments were aimed at hardline members of parliament. The comment is the latest in a string of outbursts that have drawn criticism from foreign backers.

U.S Consulate in Pakistan attacked

BBC: At least seven people have died after suspected militants attacked the US consulate in the north-western Pakistani city of Peshawar. There were several explosions in the area near the consulate and buildings collapsed. A gun battle between police and the attackers followed. Pakistan's main Taliban faction said it had carried out the attack, and that the US consulate was the target. Officials said the attack was well organised but order had been restored. US officials also confirmed the consulate was the target of the attack, but it is unclear whether the building suffered any damage.

"Russia says suicide bomber was militant's widow"

NY Times: Baby-faced, she looks barely a teenager. But the pistol she is holding in the photograph suggests the violent destiny that she would choose: blowing herself up in a subway station in Moscow during the morning rush on Monday. And posing with his arm around this 17-year-old woman is the man who would put her on this path, a 30-year-old militant leader who lured her from her single mother, drew her into fundamentalist Islam and married her. He was killed by federal forces in December, driving her to seek revenge.

"Canadian choppers touch down in largest air assault of Afghan war "

The Globe: Canadian Chinook helicopters touched down in a Taliban stronghold Friday in Afghanistan's restive south as coalition forces mount the largest air assault of the nine-year war. American, British, Afghan and other coalition troops were storming the insurgent-held town of Marjah and the district of Nad Ali, said to be one of the the last major bastions of Taliban control in Helmand province.
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Ibbitson - Five more dead and one question: Can the Afghan mission be saved?

The Globe: The return home of the bodies of four soldiers and a journalist from Afghanistan on Sunday offered a poignant, painful reminder of a question that will dominate the coming year: Is the Kandahar commitment turning into a failure, or can it still be rescued? Grieving family and other loved ones greeted the caskets at a bitterly cold repatriation ceremony at CFB Trenton, an hour's drive east of Toronto.