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AfPak Daily News Roundup: May 15, 2012

Pakistan foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar says open NATO routes.
Pakistan foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar says open NATO routes.

Pakistan hints at reopening NATO supply lines. Pakistan foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar indicated on Monday that it was time to “move on” and open up NATO supply lines into Afghanistan. The routes have been closed since 24 Pakistani soldiers died in a NATO airstrike in November. Pakistan is hoping the move will prompt an invitation to the May 20-21 NATO summit in Chicago (AFP, Dawn).

General Allen might leave Afghan post early. General John Allen will potentially take over the U.S. European Command next year, leaving his post in Afghanistan two years early. Senior Pentagon and White House officials do not want to pull the general in the middle of Afghanistan’s fighting season, which runs from spring through fall. Pentagon spokesperson George Little indicated that no official decision had yet been reached (WP, Reuters).

NATO engaged in battle of spin with Taliban. The conflict in Afghanistan has always been a war of perception and with the new summer fighting season opening and a major Nato summit in Chicago next week, the PR battle has intensified. After President Obama basically claimed that the U.S. was winning the war during a May 1 address from Bagram airbase, the Taliban flexed its muscle by attacking a Western compound and assassinating a peace envoy (Guardian).

Taliban offshoot claims peace envoy killing. An obscure insurgent faction called the Mullah Dadullah Front claimed responsibility for Sunday’s drive-by assassination of Afghan peace envoy Arsala Rahmani. The little known front is named after Mullah Dadullah, a dreaded Taliban commander killed in a joint NATO- Afghan raid in Helmand in 2007 (Examiner, LWJ, ET, Aljazeera).

Blast kills 9 civilians in north. Nine civilians were killed on Monday in northwestern Afghanistan when a remotely-detonated bomb planted on a bicycle exploded in a crowded market in Faryab province. The explosion, which also killed provincial council member Amanullah Shahabzai, occurred in the Ghormach District’s 200-shop main bazaar (Examiner, NYT, Reuters).


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