Islamabad has angrily denied findings by Afghanistan’s intelligence agency that Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) was the “real schemer and organizer” behind the failed April 27 assassination attempt on President Karzai at a military parade. (Gulf Daily News, June 26) That was the fourth attempt on Karzai’s life by our count.
At the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Robert Gates took his own potshot at Pakistan, saying increased insurgent activity in the US sector in eastern Afghanistan is “a real concern.”
“Regional Command-East has been a success story,” he said. “But clearly the ability of the Taliban and other insurgents to cross that border and not being under any pressure from the Pakistani side of the border is clearly a concern. I think that needs to be addressed with the Pakistani government.” (VOA, June 26)
Taliban forces led by Baitullah Mehsud near the town of Jandola in Pakistan’s South Waziristan region reportedly killed 28 members of peace committee after seizing them following a clash in which 12 were killed and 15 sustained injuries. The deceased belonged to Bhattni tribe, and were part of a government-backed commission to broker peace with rebel tribes in the region. (Pakistan Link, NYT, June 26)
Attacks by Taliban militants in eastern Afghanistan were up 40% in the first five months of 2008 compared with the same period last year, the US commander in the region said during a teleconference from Afghanistan. “We’ve had about a 40% increase in ‘kinetic events’: we define those as the number of enemy attacks that we’ve had on our coalition and our Afghan partners,” US Army Major General Jeffrey Schloesser told reporters. (AFP, June 24)
See our last post on Afghanistan and Pakistan.