Monday, July 26, 2010

FP morning brief 7/26

Leaked documents shed light on Pakistani complicity in Afghan insurgency

Top story: Wikileaks released over 90,000 classified documents related to the war in Afghanistan, covering the period from January 2004 to December 2009. The documents, which are mostly ground-level reports written by U.S. troops, shed new light on Pakistani complicity with the Taliban insurgency.

If the accounts presented in the documents are to be believed, Pakistan's Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), the country's main spy agency, has been involved in planning the details of insurgent attacks and facilitating the passage of insurgents across the Afghan-Pakistani border. Many of the reports focus on the role of Pakistani Lt. Gen. Hamid Gul, who ran the ISI from 1987 to 1989, during a time that the CIA and the ISI closely cooperated in funding and training the mujahideen to fight the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. While Gul is technically retired, the documents suggest that he may still be acting as an unofficial ISI liaison to the insurgents: He reportedly met with top Taliban and al Qaeda leaders in January 2009 to plan an attack to avenge the death of a top al Qaeda operative, and visited Pakistani mosques to recruit suicide bombers for the insurgency.

Other reports document U.S. soldiers' frustration with the Pakistani military's unwillingness to properly patrol the Afghan-Pakistani border. In one account, U.S. officers meeting with Pakistani soldiers to discuss border security in Afghanistan's eastern region of Khost were assured that the area was tightly monitored - despite U.S. information that there had recently been a 300 percent increase in insurgent activity in the area. The report suggested that the Pakistani military would likely be of little help in stopping insurgents from crossing into Afghanistan, because the ISI "is likely involved with the border crossings."

The White House has responded by condemning the release of classified information, and pouring cold water on claims that this trove of information presents fundamentally new information about the U.S. war in Afghanistan. "I don't think anyone who follows this issue will find it surprising that there are concerns about ISI and safe havens in Pakistan," read one White House e-mail sent to reporters.

Khmer Rouge official convicted: The Special Tribunal for Cambodia found Kaing Guek Eav, known as Duch, guilty of overseeing the torture and murder of over 14,000 prisoners during the Khmer Rouge's reign.

A bomb exploded at a Bangkok bus stop, killing one person and wounding 10 others.
The U.S.-South Korean joint military exercise has focused on anti-submarine drills.
Five people died in a helicopter crash in Japan.

Middle East
The Yemeni government said that it killed three al Qaeda fighters, including a senior commander.
Israeli-Arab leader Raed Salah began a five month jail sentence for spitting at a policeman in 2007.
A suicide bombing targeted the Arabic news al-Arabiya, killing six people.

A Scottish official called on Britain and the United States to release all of their documents related to the release of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi.
The European Union tightened sanctions on Iran's energy sector.
Russian President Vladimir Putin met with the Russian spies who were expelled from the United States.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy confirmed the murder of a French hostage held in Mali by al Qaeda.
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni called for aggressive action against the Somalian militant group al-Shabaab.
The African Union president said that the International Criminal Court indictment against Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has undermined peace on the continent.

BP CEO Tony Hayward is expected to resign.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez threatened to cut oil supplies to the United States in the event of a Colombian attack on his country.
A mass grave containing over 50 bodies was found in northern Mexico.
-David Kenner
A Majeed/AFP/Getty Images

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