Pakistan-Afghanistan Update: Taliban Attack Kabul Logistics Base; IMF Talks Continue in Pakistan

Topline

  • The Afghan Taliban attack a NATO logistics company base in Kabul, killing seven people. Pres. Karzai says bilateral security talks with the U.S. will not resume until the Taliban agree to meet with the High Peace Council in Qatar. IMF talks continue in Pakistan, although Finance Minister Dar continues to publicly rule out new tax provisions sought by the Fund as a condition for a new loan agreement. Donors to Afghanistan meet this week to review the country’s progress on meeting reform commitments made at the 2012 Tokyo donor’s conference. The PML-N government has proposed nominees for the National Accountability Bureau.

Pakistan — Politics and Diplomacy

  • Diplomatic Meetings: Prime Minister Sharif and Indian Prime Minister Singh will likely meet on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in September, foreign affairs advisor Sartaj Aziz told reporters on Tuesday. Aziz himself is scheduled to meet with Sec. Kerry at the ASEAN Regional Forum in Brunei today; Kerry is expected to visit Pakistan later this month. Prime Minister Sharif will travel to China this Thursday, his first overseas visit since taking office, during which talks are expected to focus on Pakistani requests for additional Chinese assistance in energy infrastructure development.
  • Accountability Posts: PM Sharif has formally nominated two candidates to head the National Accountability Bureau, seeking a response from the opposition PPP; consensus must be reached for an appointment to be made. Separately, Dawn notes that the PML-N government has yet to decide on the chairmanship for the Public Accounts Committee, parliament’s main oversight body, a position which under the previous government was given to the opposition. PML-N sources suggest that the party might seek to retain the seat “to take up cases of financial mismanagement committed during the PPP government”.
  • Musharraf Trials: The Rawalpindi anti-terrorism court hearing charges against former Pres. Musharraf in connection to the 2007 death of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto adjourned on Monday after Musharraf failed to appear in person, citing security reasons. The court ordered his appearance at the next hearing, scheduled for July 9.

Pakistan — Economics and Development

  • IMF Talks: Talks with the IMF on a new loan agreement for Pakistan – which Dawn estimates will total approximately $5.4 billion, coupled with an additional $5.6 billion from the Asian Development Bank, World Bank, US, UK, and Japan — continued on Monday. Finance Minister Dar said the talks were “positive” but that Pakistan “would not compromise national interests” for a loan and would not introduce new tax measures. The Fund is reportedly seeking new tax measures, a two-thirds increase in electricity tariffs, and a halt to efforts to defend the rupee against depreciation.

Pakistan — Remainders

  • Planning Ministry Reviews Energy Development Proposals [ET] [ET]
  • Supreme Court Criticizes Performance of Special Commission for Missing Persons [Dawn]
  • Contempt Case Filed Against Former Law Secretary Over Swiss Letters [ET]
  • Schoolgirl Injured in Attack on Malala Yousafzai Receives British Student Visa [AFP]
  • Fazlur Rehman Calls for Action Against Terrorism [Dawn]
  • Protests in Lyari Over ‘Extra-Judicial Killing’ by Rangers [Dawn] [ET]
  • PTI Finalizes Nominees for By-Elections [Dawn]
  • Human Rights Commission of Pakistan Urges Extension of Capital Punishment Freeze [Dawn]
  • Supreme Court Orders Investigation Into Pension Plan Scam [Dawn] [ET]
  • Extortion Haunts Karachi [Reuters]
  • Inflation Increases 5.9% Year-on-Year in June [ET]
  • Commentary: Musharraf’s Malaise – “Unless the judiciary, military, and prime minister can agree to a face-saving exit for Musharraf, the stage is set for a more public confrontation among all three, introducing a level of political uncertainty for an otherwise strong PML-N government.” [Shamila Chaudhary, AfPak Channel]

Afghanistan — Security

  • Suicide Attack at Kabul Base: The Taliban carried out a car bombing followed by an attack by gunmen at a NATO support base in Kabul early Tuesday morning, killing at least seven people. The target of the attack appears to have been the private logistics contractor Supreme; four of those killed were Nepali guards, and the others Afghans. [WSJ] [AP] [AFP] [BBC]
  • Bilateral Security Talks: Pres. Karzai met with senior mujahedeen veterans and other political leaders on Sunday, after which his spokesman said that the group had decided that talks with the United States on a bilateral security agreement covering American operations in the country after 2014 would only be resumed “once peace talks begin between the Taliban and the High Peace Council.”
  • Afghan Police Casualties: 299 Afghan national and local police were killed in June, and another 618 wounded, according to Ministry of Interior spokesmen on Monday, reporting a 22% increase in casualties from 2012. The defense ministry did not offer comparable figures. [TOLO]

Afghanistan — Politics and Diplomacy

  • Tensions with Pakistan: The Guardian provides an overview of the past several months of tense relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan, which it dates to confrontations between the two countries’ delegations at a trilateral summit hosted by UK PM Cameron in February. Afghan officials say Pakistan used the occasion to press for a reduction of India’s presence in Afghanistan and a resolution of the disputed Durand Line border, which they interpreted as conditional demands in exchange for Pakistani support for the peace effort. Pakistani sources, including former Foreign Minister Khar, accuse the Afghan government of “playing to the public gallery”; anonymous Pakistani sources have, in recent months, placed direct blame on Pres. Karzai for blocking peace efforts. Karzai spoke with Prime Minister Sharif by phone on Monday but refused to accept an invitation to visit Pakistan until it takes “more concerted steps towards fighting insurgency,” according to a presidential spokesman. On Friday, Pakistani foreign advisor Sartaj Aziz and Afghanistan’s ambassador to Pakistan, Umer Daudzai, met in Islamabad; Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister Ershad Ahmadi says that Aziz proposed a federalist power-sharing agreement in Afghanistan between the government and the Taliban, which Ahmadi said would be “a means for the Pakistanis to achieve what they could not achieve through their proxy on the battlefield”. Pakistan’s foreign ministry spokesman denied that any such proposal had been made. [Dawn]
  • Jamiat-e-Islami Appoints Leaders: Nearly two years after the death of former president and Jamiat-e-Islami party leader Burhanuddin Rabbani, the party announced on Monday the appointment of a new leadership team, headed by Rabbani’s son, Salahuddin Rabbani, who also heads the High Peace Council, as his father did. Ahmad Zia Massoud and Kalimullah Naqibi have been named deputy leaders and Balkh governor Atta Mohammad Noor as president of the executive council.

Afghanistan — Economics and Development

  • Donor Review: International donors to Afghanistan began three-day meetings that will conclude Wednesday to assess the country’s progress on combating corruption and protecting human rights, key conditions specified at the 2012 Tokyo donors’ conference in exchange for approximately $16 billion in development assistance through 2015. The NYT notes the recent appointments by Pres. Karzai to the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission have drawn criticism from the UN and other civil society observers for their lack of independence and limited experience with human rights investigations.
  • Mining Contracts on Hold: The Afghan Ministry of Mines said that four contracts for major mining sites in Bamiyan, Ghazni, Badakshan, and Sar-e-Pul provinces will be signed as soon as parliament approves the new draft mining law, which was submitted for approval last week.

Afghanistan — Remainders

  • Finance Minister Wins No Confidence Motion After Failing to Appear Before Parliament [TOLO]
  • Herat Residents Protest After Governor’s Resignation [TOLO]
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