Archive for May, 2010|Monthly archive page

Facebook Ban Lifted, Mostly | PakPulse 5-31-10

In Press Roundup on May 31, 2010 at 10:35 am

While Pakistan may have lifted the blanket Facebook ban, certain pages remain hidden


4 dead in attack on hospital in Pakistan (NYT)
U.S. presses Pakistan for more data on travelers (NYT)
Pakistani court orders access to Facebook restored (NYT)

Pakistan lifts Facebook ban, but blasphemous pages stay hidden (Guardian)

Arrests made over Pakistan mosque attacks (Times)
Pakistan home to more refugees than Africa (Newsweek)
Mullen pleased with Pakistan assistance against Taliban (Express Tribune)
Malik sees terror roots in southern Punjab (Daily Times)

Drone wars by Christine Fair (Foreign Policy)
The truth about drones by Fawaz Gerges (Newsweek)
Fazlullah’s death and its impact by Ayaz Wazir (Express Tribune)
The need for reforms in FATA by Ammar Zafarullah (Express Tribune)
North Waziristan operation (Daily Times)
Friend or foe? (Dawn)

A tragic day for a faith under siege (NYT Blog)

Top stories

Strike said to kill a top Al Qaeda Leader (NYT)

Al Qaeda No. 3 Yazid Reported Killed by US Drone (WP)

Other stories

Afghan and U.S. forces begin to reclaim remote area from Taliban (NYT)

In Afghanistan, a long-delayed national talk (LAT)

U.S. Commands UK Afghanistan Forces (BBC)
In Nawa, U.S. spreads the cash to fight the Taliban (WP)
Taliban push Afghan police out of valley (NYT)
Drone operators are faulted in Afghan deaths (NYT)

Report faults drone crew and ground commanders (LAT)

Dissension breaks out among Taliban top ranks (Newsweek)
Afghan child brides escape marriage, but not lashes (NYT)
German president resigns over remarks he made in Afghanistan (NYT)
U.S. troops in Afghanistan mark Memorial Day (AP)
Battalion among hardest hit in Afghan war (AP)
Two Christian aid groups suspended in Afghanistan (AP)

The States of War by Ian Livingston… (NYT)

The great unknowns by Robert M. Poole (NYT)
What we remember on Memorial Day (LAT)
Can Obama’s team of rivals bring Afghan success? by David Ignatius (WP)
Life lessons the Afghan war taught me by J. Mark Jackson (WP)
Soldiers’ small talk in the Afghan war by Greg Jaffe (WP)
The foregone conclusion in Kandahar by Robert Haddick (Foreign Policy)
Growing wings in Afghanistan by Andrew Best (Newsweek)
Don’t listen to experts on Afghanistan by Masood Aziz (Daily Beast)
Vietnam minus the jungle by Peter Presten (Guardian)

Pakistan to figure in U.S.-India Strategic Dialogue (Dawn)

India train crash death toll rises (WSJ)
India plans $11 billion infrastructure fund (WSJ)
India GDP expands 8.6% (WSJ)


Female Engagement Teams in Afghanistan: Reaching Afghan Women or American Men?

In Afghanistan, Women on May 30, 2010 at 7:31 pm

Corporal Gardner giving medicine to an Afghan woman, while her translator remains behind the wall. Photo NYT.

In today’s New York Times, Elizabeth Bumiller writes an article profiling “women’s engagement teams,” two and three member units of female Marines sent to Southern Afghanistan with the goal of reaching (and, of course, winning the hearts and minds of) Afghan women.  (See photos of those efforts here.)

The ethical questions pertaining to the apparent goal of “saving Afghan women” (as well as collecting intelligence) that arise from such an endeavor are many, but perhaps a less palpable question is this one: why does it take a gender-specific goal in order for American female marines to be able to serve in Helmand in roles other than cooks or engineers?

Females make up only 6.2% of the Marine Corps, though recently there has been greater effort to recruit them, and there are only a few combat jobs in which they are permitted to partake.  Their inclusion in only this capacity begs one to ask whether the Marine Corps values a female marine’s utility in Afghanistan as limited to only her sex.

The article delves into the ambiguity of the female engagement teams’ effectiveness in “reaching” Afghan women through providing medical assistance and services to women who might not otherwise be accessible to American men, but the success of their outreach is more apparent when considering the attitudes of some of the all-male infantry patrols with whom they are attached, which Bumiller explores more in depth through a post in the Times’ “At War” blog.

“I think the infantry in me will have a very hard time ever accepting that I’m going to rush against the enemy and there’s going to be a female right next to me,’’ said Capt. Scott A. Cuomo, 32, a company commander of 270 Marines in central Helmand and a strong supporter of the female engagement teams. “Can she do it? Some might. I don’t know if this sounds bad, but I kind of look at everything through my wife. Is that my wife’s job? No. My job is to make sure my wife is safe.’’

The potential for a positive change in gender dynamics internally seems stronger with the inclusion of these female marines, particularly if they were to serve in combat alongside men, but the goals behind these female engagement teams remain complicated and morally ambiguous.  As a very small example, I leave you with a lovely photo of a female marine “reaching” a young Afghan girl.

Corporal Gardner smoking next to an Afghan girl. Photo NYT.

PakPulse 5-29&30-10

In Press Roundup on May 30, 2010 at 6:12 pm


Pakistan: 7 Arrested Over Link to Sect Attackers (AP)

Pakistan Taliban Carried Out Attack on Lahore Mosques, Police Say (NYT)

Slaughter in Lahore Linked to Taliban (FT)

Lashkar-i-Jhangvi Connection Traced to Lahore Attacks (Express Tribune)

Rehman Malik Blames South Punjab Outfits (Express Tribune)

Death Toll Rises to 98 in Pakistan Attacks (CNN)

Lahore Mourns (Dawn Media Gallery)

Punjab to Set Up Anti-Terror Cell (Dawn)

U.S. Fears Pakistan’s Power Cuts Are Militants’ Gain (AP)

Jets Kill 18 Suspected Militants in Northwest Pakistan (AP)

Punjabi Taliban a Growing Threat for Pakistan (Reuters)

Ties That Kill: Pakistan Militant Groups Uniting (Reuters)

U.S. Mulls Unilateral Pakistan Raids (AJE)

U.S. Reviews Possible Pakistan Strike (WP)

U.S. Preparing for Retaliatory Strike If Terror Attack Traced to Pakistan (VOA)

U.S. Rehearses Strike Inside Pakistan: Diplomats (Dawn)

Lake in Pakistan Begins to Overflow (AJE)

Hunza Lake: Waiting for the Inevitable (Express Tribune)

Water Outflow Increases from Attabad Lake (Dawn)

Pakistan, Iran in Gas Pipeline Agreement (UPI)

U.S. Bomb Plot Suspect Ordered Deported to Pakistan (UPI)

Pakistan Uprooted (Newsweek)


Dealing with Pakistan Editorial (NYT)

Is this Jinnah’s Pakistan by Razma Rumi (Express Tribune)

Culture of Intolerance: Editorial (Dawn)

Then They Came for Me by Rubina Saigol (Express Tribune)

The Ever Constant Threats by Ardeshir Cowasjee (Dawn)

A Murderous Mindset by Huma Yusuf (Dawn)


Operators of Drones Are Faulted in Afghan Deaths (NYT)

NATO Has High Hopes for Afghan Peace Council (NYT)

Top NATO Commander Addresses Recent Taliban Gains, Vows Commitment to Security (RFE/RL)

In Camouflage or Afghan Veil, A Fragile Bond (NYT)

Also: Redefining Gender Roles in Combat (NYT “At War” blog)

Also: Reaching Out to Afghan Women (NYT Photo Slide Show)

Afghanistan: David Cameron Calls Chequers Summit As Strains Grow (Guardian)

Taliban Leave Pakistan, But Afghans Repel Them (NYT)

Mullen Says Kandahar Campaign Will Take Months (AP)

Taliban Push Afghan Police Out of Valley (NYT)

Battalion Among Hardest Hit in Afghan War (WP)

NATO General: Taliban Train in Iran (AP)

Taliban Capture Afghan District on Afghan Border (AFP)

U.S. Military Deaths in Afghan Region at 1,000 (AP)

Afghanistan to Investigate Aid Groups for ‘Spreading Christianity’ (Guardian)


Saving Afghanistan from Its Neighbors (Reuters Blog)

Life Lessons the Afghanistan War Taught Me by Mark Jackson (WP)

The Iraq and Afghanistan Wars Mutilated Our Economy by Derrick Crow (Alternet)

Our Soldiers Have Shed Enough Blood by Dennis Mc Shane (Guardian)


India Train Crash Death Toll Rises to 145 (WSJ)

Headley Quizzing to Focus on His Post-26/11 Stay in India (Hindu)

Pakistan Delegation Off to India for Talks on Water (Dawn)


America’s Other Strategic Dialogue by Sumit Ganguly (WSJ)

India Pakistan: Towards Reducing Trust Deficit by Rahil Yasin (American Chronicle)

From the BlogBucket: “Ahmadis Attacked”

In BlogBucket, Minorities on May 30, 2010 at 3:23 pm

Friday’s attacks against two Ahmadi mosques in Lahore elicited troubling responses from government officials, journalists, and society members.  Perhaps some of the most lucid responses to Friday’s atrocities can be found in the Pakistani blogosphere.  Here are some of my favorites:

Mourners in Lahore. Photo AFP.

Frayed Ends of Sanity by Nadeem Paracha (Dawn Blog)

In my eyes the companies who claim to represent the decent, ‘family-oriented’ and peaceful ‘modern’ sections of the educated urbanites carry an equal amount of blame as do the channels that let hate-mongers run amok in the studios just to jack up their ratings.

We All Have Blood on Our Hands by Tazeen (A Reluctant Mind)

Every identity card and passport holder in Pakistan – including me – who filled out the form declaring themselves true apostles of the faith have denounced the basic citizenship rights of Ahmadis/Qadiyanis. Do we all have blood on our hands? I hang my head in utter shame and say, yes we all have their blood on our hands.

Our Collective Shame by Huma Imtiaz (The World Has Stopped Spinning)

About Today/ Main Baghi Hoon by Saba Imtiaz (Erase and Rewind)

Hanging My Head in Shame (Kala Kawa)

Jinnah Considered Ahmadis Muslims by Yasser Latif Hamdani (Pak Tea House)

Targeting Ahmadis by Kalsoom Lakhani (CHUP Blog)

We Are All Ahmadi by Manan Ahmed (Chapati Mystery)

Beastly attacks, laws against Pakistan’s Ahmadiyya

In Minorities on May 28, 2010 at 9:54 pm

Mourners embrace after the May 28th attack at two Ahmadi mosques in Lahore, Pakistan

Pakistan’s Ahmadis have long born state discrimination and the opprobrious treatment of their fellow country(wo)men, but two attacks at separate Ahmadi mosques in Lahore on May 28th, which killed at least 82 and injured 107 others, were an unprecedented display of the extent of unrelenting malice and disregard for the minority sect.  The attacks were carried out by men with firearms, two of whom also had suicide vests, during Friday prayer at mosques in Model Town and Garhi Shahu in Lahore.

AFP PhotoPolice and rescuers at the scene of one of two Ahmadi mosques attacked on May 28th

Though today’s attacks have been the most barbaric against Pakistani Ahmadis to date, a cursory look at Pakistan’s history of oppressing Ahmadi Muslims, as well as its other religious minorities, reveals why and how such carnage can transpire, and without justice for the victims.  See below for additional resources on Pakistan’s Ahmadiyya.

Additional Resources on the Ahmadiyya

“The Ahmadiyya Jama’at: A Persecuted Sect” by Dr. Simon Ross Valentine for the University of Bradford Pakistan Security Research Unit, Brief Number 35, November 23, 2008.

Conscience and Coercion: Ahmadi Muslims and Orthodoxy in Pakistan, by Antonio R. Gualteri, Guernica, 1989.

“Who Are the Ahmadi?” BBC News, May 28th, 2010.

PakPulse: 5-28-10

In Press Roundup on May 28, 2010 at 10:30 am
Top stories:
Sectarian attacks hit two Pakistani mosques (New York Times)
  • Also: Gunmen attack mosques and take hostages in Lahore (Reuters)
  • Also: Mosque attacks leave at least 40 dead (Wall Street Journal)
  • Also: Lahore mosques rocked with grenades and gunfire (Financial Times)
  • Also: Gunmen attack Ahmadi mosques during Friday prayers (BBC News)
Other stories:
Kerry pushes for tougher controls on aid to Pakistan (Boston Globe)
UN official set to ask U.S. to end CIA drone strikes (New York Times)
Another suspect revealed in Times Square case (Associated Press)
Rhetoric grows heated in Indo-Pak water dispute (Washington Post)
Relief in Swat over reported death of Fazlullah (Christian Science Monitor)
  • Also: Afghans verifying reports of Fazlullah’s death (Financial Times)
Four policemen killed in Quetta (BBC News)
Swelling lake threatens villages downstream (McClatchy)
Fake degrees continue to pile up (Express Tribune)
No U.S. objection to Pak-China civil nuclear cooperation (Express Tribune)
IMF says VAT a must to avert economic crisis (Express Tribune)
Budget to bristle with Rs. 138 billion in new taxes (Dawn)
Insurgency’s components by Manzar Zaidi (Dawn)
Building Indo-Pak trust by Zafar Hilaly (Daily Times)
Fazlullah in Nuristan? (Daily Times)
Teachers’ protest (Dawn)
Kandahar will be key test of surge strategy (Financial Times)
Any chance of success for Karzai’s peace jirga? (Time)
  • Also: U.S. sees jirga as boost to Karzai (Reuters)
Fighting rages in eastern Afghanistan (Associated Press)
U.S. sees Iran, Afghanistan as gains of Russia reset (Reuters)
Senate rejects exit timetable for Afghanistan (Reuters)
Senate approves nearly $60 billion for wars (New York Times)
Texas memorial planned for Iraq, Afghanistan soldiers (Christian Science Monitor)
The logic of an Afghan policy leak by Leslie H. Gelb (Time)
America’s casualty gap by Douglas Kriner & Francis Shen (Los Angeles Times)
Kandahar through the Taliban’s eyes by Greg Mills (Foreign Policy)
Once upon a time in Afghanistan by Mohammad Qayoumi (Foreign Policy)
Tories must unite against the Taliban by Con Coughlin (Telegraph)
Maoist rebels suspected as Indian train derails (New York Times)
India creates air safety council (Wall Street Journal)
India’s greatest threat? by David Axe (The Diplomat)

PakPulse 5-27-10

In Press Roundup on May 27, 2010 at 10:00 am

Top stories:
Maulana Fazlullah believed to be killed (New York Times)
  • Also: Afghan police say Pakistan Taliban leader was killed (Reuters)
  • Also: TTP Swat leader killed in clash with Afghan forces (Express Tribune)
Other stories:
Pakistan plans to relax Youtube ban (Associated Press)
Militants storm house, kill three in northwest (Associated Press)
Warplanes bomb militant hideouts in Orakzai (Reuters)
Kashmir survey produces startling results (BBC News)
Haqqani rejects reports of U.S. pressure (Express Tribune)
Kayani visits Afghanistan (Express Tribune)
Salaried class to pay more income tax (Daily Times)
U.S. transfers $288m to Pakistan under CSF reimbursement (Daily Times)
Proposal for Chief of Defense Staff a non-starter (The News)

Pakistan’s antisocial networking by Kamila Shamsie (Guardian)
Pakistan’s hirjas deserve acceptance by Mustafa Qadri (Guardian)
Dynamics of a North Waziristan operation by Khalid Munir (Express Tribune)
Karachi’s Beirut-style civil war by Jan Assakzai (Daily Times)

Other stories:
Trial marks change at Afghan prison (New York Times)
U.S. puts hopes in bedraggled Afghan police (Los Angeles Times)
A. W. Karzai denies corruption (BBC News)
Inside Afghanistan’s most notorious prison (BBC News)
The wrong kind of war by Mary Kaldor (Guardian)
Why America needs allies by Andrejs Pildegovics (The National Interest)

Other stories:
Indian president makes rare state visit to China (Associated Press)
Census question over caste identity divides India (Associated Press)
Delhi cellphone interference (Wall Street Journal)
– – –
Also:  The Obama administration’s National Security Strategy (The White House)
[Note:  Afghanistan & Pakistan pp. 20-21.]

5-26-10 PakPulse

In Uncategorized on May 26, 2010 at 11:00 am

Other stories:
U.S. is a top villain in Pakistan’s conspiracy talk (New York Times)
U.S. offered crucial evidence in Pakistani meeting on Times Square (Los Angeles Times)

Pakistan Taliban attack eastern Afghan province (BBC News)
Media freedom fears after Facebook ban (BBC News)
Economic stability taking hold in Pakistan (Reuters)
World Bank gives Pakistan 48-hour ultimatum (Dawn)
U.S., India feel Sino-Pak nuclear deal irreversible (Dawn)
JUI-F may quit government coalition (The News)
U.S. lauds Indo-Pak commitment to dialogue (The News)
Lessons from Faisal Shahzad by Rick Nelson & Ben Bodurian (Foreign Policy)
Is PML-Q an effective opposition? by Marvi Memon (Express Tribune)
State Bank’s monetary policy (Daily Times)

Other stories:
Taliban slay elders over aid money (New York Times)
Kandahar governor faced allegations in job with contractor (Washington Post)
Car bomb hits outside NATO base in Kandahar city (Associated Press)
Taliban haunt nights in a Kandahar village (Wall Street Journal)
NATO soldiers bid farewell to slain Canadian (Associated Press)
Red Cross defends first aid courses for Taliban (Associated Press)
U.S. prison at Bagram to hold first trial (Associated Press)
  • Also: New Afghan prison marks change in Obama strategy (Reuters)
U.S. soldier beaten after reporting crimes (AFP)
A flawed strategy and a failed war by Katrina vanden Heuvel (Washington Post)
Bagram: a legal black hole? (Los Angeles Times)
Showtime in Kandahar by Jonathan Wallace (Foreign Policy)
Can India & Pakistan save Afghanistan? by Lawrence Korb & Gianluca La Manno (CAP)
America’s fatal flaws in Afghanistan by Ahmed Rashid (Der Spiegel)
Liam Fox’s mistaken view of Afghanistan by Nushin Arbabzadah (Guardian)

Other stories:
Delhi court bans Air India strike (Wall Street Journal)
  • Also: Thousands stranded by strike (BBC News)
In India, banking on the morning after (Time)

New special relationship: UK and India by Paul Beckett (Wall Street Journal)

5-25-10 PakPulse

In Uncategorized on May 25, 2010 at 11:10 am

Top stories:
Supreme Court decides Mumbai suspect can stay free (Associated Press)
  • Also: Court upholds freedom of Hafiz Saeed (Express Tribune)
  • Also: Court quashes appeals against Saeed (Reuters)
  • Also: Government failed to provide enough evidence (Dawn)
Other stories:

Swat “Taliban families” expelled by tribal council (BBC News)
Peshawar fears influx of Taliban militants (Express Tribune)
Mehsud militants agree to leave North Waziristan for South (The News)
Zardari calls for taking Sino-Pak relations to new heights (Daily Times)
Foreign debt escalating (The News)
Where was Faisal Shahzad? by Raza Khan (Foreign Policy)
Pakistan asks, why do you hate us? by Steve Inskeep (Daily Beast)
Internet censorship (Dawn)
Widening jihadist appeal (Daily Times)

Other stories:
Afghan intelligence agency accuses ISI in bombing (New York Times)
  • Also: Several Taliban arrested in bomb investigations (Reuters)
Number of U.S. forces in Afghanistan exceeds total in Iraq (Washington Post)
An earful after a military operation in Kandahar (Los Angeles Times)
Kandahar governor strains to exert influence (Financial Times)
Kandahar campaign may be last chance to win over Afghans (ABC News)
Afghan government accountant sentenced for corruption (BBC News)
McChrystal impatient with Marja campaign (Christian Science Monitor)
  • Also: McChrystal calls Marja a “bleeding ulcer” (McClatchy)
UK army decides to detonate rather than dismantle Taliban bombs (The Independent)
Americans outgunned by Taliban AK-47s (Times of London)

The harsh lives of Kabul’s street children (BBC News)

Afghans believe U.S. is funding Taliban by Daniella Peled (Guardian)
Time to end mixed messages on Afghanistan policy by Richard Norton-Taylor (Guardian)

Other stories:
Flight data recorder of crashed Indian plane found (Associated Press)
Why are Hindu honor killings rising in India? (Time)

5-24-10 PakPulse

In Uncategorized on May 24, 2010 at 11:00 am

Top stories:
Pakistan army major among two new arrests in NY bombing (New York Times)

  • Also: Evidence mounts against Pakistan army major in NY case (Los Angeles Times)
  • Also: Caterer, others held for ties to NY bomb case (Washington Post)
  • Also: Relatives say three Pakistanis innocent in Times Square case (Associated Press)
  • Also: Two detained admit to aiding bomb plot (Associated Press)
  • Also: Pakistani novels shed light on Times Square bombing (McClatchy)

Other stories:
North Waziristan is no simple target (Los Angeles Times)
Pakistanis look beyond U.S. for work, travel, education (Washington Post)
Exile Musharraf plans return to high office (Financial Times)
Jihadis make their way to Pakistan training areas (Associated Press)
Pakistan election commission plans democracy reforms (Reuters)
In violent Karachi, insurgency finds a haven (New York Times)
Supreme Court hears constitutional challenges (BBC News)
Missile, fighting kills 12 in Pakistan (Associated Press)
Pakistani suspect ordered back to prison in Chile (Associated Press)
Pakistan-born rock star on “jihad” against extremism (BBC News)
Supreme Court adjourns hearing of 18th amendment (Express Tribune)
Thirty militants killed in Orakzai operation (Express Tribune)
China and Pakistan agree to conduct joint military exercises (Geo)
Pakistan to raise defense budget by 30% (Times of India)
IMF tells Pakistan not to bet on external financing (Express Tribune)

Pakistani bloggers debate internet bans (BBC News)
The rise of American jihad by Karen Greenberg (The New Republic)

Top stories:
Into Kandahar, yesterday and tomorrow (New York Times)

Other stories:
U.S. tries to reintegrate Taliban soldiers (New York Times


Afghanistan peace jirga is postponed (Wall Street Journal)
Raids show Taliban will persist amid losses (Wall Street Journal)
Afghan government and Taliban deny formal talks (New York Times)
In Afghan fields, a challenge to opium’s luster (New York Times)
U.S. night raid elicits outrage, satisfaction (Los Angeles Times)
Russia gives U.S. Afghan drugs data, criticizes NATO (Reuters)
Government-friendly tribal elder killed in north (Associated Press)
Appeals court says no habeas rights for Afghan prisoners (Los Angeles Times)
Pomegranates, not poppies: the future of Afghan farmers (Time)
UK army’s top bomb disposal officer resigns (BBC News)
UK defense secretary under attack after Afghanistan comment (Times of London)
50k Afghan refugees return home from Pakistan this year (UNHCR)

Hague on Afghanistan by Steve Coll (The New Yorker)
The Taliban is hitting, but not winning by Anders Fogh Rasmussen (International Herald Tribune)
In absence of debate, Iraq & Afghanistan go unnoticed by Fred Hiatt (Washington Post)
Will NATO ever go to war again? by Robert Haddick (Foreign Policy)

Other stories:
Indian premier stresses economy and diplomacy (New York Times)
Singh seeks to match China’s growth (Financial Times)
Singh says major effort underway in Indo-Pak talks (Associated Press)

Singh defends against leadership criticisms (Reuters)
Crash raises issue of India’s aviation oversight (New York Times


Billionaire brothers end dispute (Bloomberg)
Indian town drops death penalty in murder case (Associated Press)
India allows cotton exports again (Wall Street Journal)
Plight of India’s “floating villagers” (BBC News)

The loneliness of Manmohan Singh by Paul Beckett (Wall Street Journal)
The Indian inflation fight (Wall Street Journal)