Pakistan-Afghanistan Update: Afghan Policewomen Face Harassment and Violence; Baradar Release Expected This Week

Topline

  • An unpublished UN investigation finds Afghan policewomen face widespread harassment and sexual violence from their male colleagues. Mullah Baradar may be released this week, Pakistani foreign advisor Sartaj Aziz suggests. Imran Khan acknowledges Sunday’s Pakistani Taliban attacks on military personnel were a “setback” but urges a ceasefire and dialogue going forward. Prime Minister Sharif is on a three-day visit to Turkey. The Afghan government has formally submitted Omar Daudzai for parliamentary confirmation in his new role as interior minister, along with several other appointees. MQM parliamentarians staged a walkout over the ongoing operations in Karachi.

Pakistan — Security

  • Taliban Talks and Military Operations: As noted yesterday, Gen. Kayani warned on Monday that “no one should have any misgivings that we would let terrorists coerce us into accepting their terms” for peace talks. Seven military personnel, including a major general and lieutenant colonel, were killed in four separate attacks on Sunday. PTI leader Imran Khan, a supporter of peace talks with the TTP, acknowledged that the attacks were a “setback” but concluded that “dialogue is the only way forward,” and called for a ceasefire on both sides. Noting the military’s role in managing detentions in Khyber Paktunkhwa and FATA, the Peshawar High Court directed the Khyber Paktunkhwa government to consult with the federal government and the army before carrying out its plan to withdraw military forces from the Malakand division beginning in October. [ET]
  • Karachi Operation: MQM lawmakers staged a walkout in the national assembly on Monday to demand the release of all of its party workers who have been detained in ongoing police and paramilitary operations in Karachi. Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Memon told reporters on Monday that Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah will continue to oversee the operations and “the dream of some people of getting governor rule imposed in Sindh would never come to fruition”. The Supreme Court will resume hearings on the Karachi security situation on September 19.
  • Imran Farooq Murder Investigations: Scotland Yard issued a call for any additional information related to the 2010 death of former MQM leader Imran Farooq in London; more than 4,000 people have been interviewed in the ongoing investigation. MQM officials denied suggestions that Farooq, a founding member of the party, was considering establishing his own breakaway political party. [ET]
  • Arms Licenses: Speaking in parliament on Monday, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said that the government was planning to investigate the issuance of 70,000 arms licenses by the preceding PPP government over its five-year term. [Dawn] [Dawn]
  • Missing Persons: At a hearing on Tuesday, Chief Justice Chaudhry said that there would be “no compromise” on continuing investigations into the case of at least 51 missing persons, and said that evidence implicated the Frontier Corps in at least some of those cases. [APP]

Pakistan — Politics and Diplomacy

  • Sharif Visits Turkey: Prime Minister Sharif arrived in Turkey on Tuesday for a three-day trip, his second official foreign visit since taking office. He will hold meetings with Turkish government officials and business leaders, and received the highest Turkish civil award at a ceremony on Tuesday. [Dawn]

Pakistan — Economics and Development

  • Tax Targets: IMF officials project that the government will miss its tax collection target for the year by approximately Rs 130 billion, although achieving that level would still involve a 21% growth over the preceding year’s collection figures.

Pakistan — Remainders

  • Repatriation of Tirah Displaced Persons Suspended [Dawn]
  • Sindh Authorities Reportedly Considering Splitting Lyari into New District [ET]
  • NA-25 By-Elections to Be Held Wednesday [APP]
  • Militant Detainee Confesses to Murder of Minorities Minister Shahbaz Bhatti [ET]
  • Car Bombing Plotter Arrested in Islamabad [ET]
  • Pakistan Steel Production Comes to a Halt [Dawn]
  • Mobile Phone Operators Agree to Install Biometric Systems at Sales Outlets [Dawn]
  • Commentary: God’s Gravediggers: The Politics of Sectarian Killing – “Disenchanted with a state that had failed to perform its basic job of protecting them, growing numbers of Pakistanis are retreating into communal identities based on sect, ethnicity, political party or region.” [Matthew Green, Tanqeed]

Afghanistan — Security

  • Policewomen Face Harassment: The NYT reports that an unpublished UN report on female police officers in Afghanistan has found them to be at risk from “pervasive sexual violence and harassment” from their male colleagues. Approximately 10% of the total female police force was interviewed; 70% of those policewomen interviewed said they had personally experienced sexual harassment or violence. Many said they feared being punished if they complained, or attacks from their own family members. Former Interior Minister Mujtaba Patang disputed the report’s findings, suggesting that internal ministry investigations had not corroborated the complaints; a ministry spokesman said the report “had “some exaggeration of the issues and the problems.” [TOLO]
  • Bilateral Security Talks: Speaking at a conference on Tuesday, Pres. Karzai reiterated that he was in “no rush” to sign a bilateral security agreement with the United States; “unofficial” talks were reported to have resumed last week, and U.S. officials had express hope that an agreement could be reached this fall.
  • Highway Security: The Afghan Chamber of Commerce called on the government to tighten security on the Kabul-Kandahar and Nimruz highways, saying that attacks by insurgents and other armed groups were curtailing trade from the Chah Bahar port on the border with Iran. [TOLO]

Afghanistan — Politics and Diplomacy

  • Baradar to Be Released: Pakistani foreign advisor Sartaj Aziz told reporters on Monday that Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar is likely to be released “this week, possibly in a day or two”. Aziz reiterated that Baradar would not be released directly to Afghan government custody, saying that “we have to follow the Taliban’s desires and we would carry out (his release) in accordance with what they want”. Speaking to reporters in Washington, Amb. Dobbins said that the U.S. was still supportive of negotiations between the Taliban and the Afghan government but that “the Taliban are now, as a practical matter, unwilling to engage with the United States, with the Afghans, with anybody.” [Dawn]
  • Parliamentary Confirmations: Second Vice President Karim Khalili formally submitted Omar Daudzai for parliamentary confirmation in his new role as Interior Minister, as well as Muhammad Ekram Ekhpalwak as Minister of Borders and Tribal Affairs, Barat Ali as a member of the Supreme Court, and Nasrullah Stanikzai and Lutfurrahman Saeed as members of the Commission for Overseeing the Implementation of the Constitution.

Afghanistan — Remainders

  • Brigadier General Mohammad Zahir Appointed Kabul Police Chief [Pajhwok]
  • Five-Province Survey Finds 79% Intend to Vote in Presidential Elections [TOLO]
  • Report: Changing Financial Flows During Afghanistan’s Transition – “Total resources for patronage will fall sharply; the Afghan government’s share in remaining funds will increase; declines will be greatest at local levels, especially in insecure areas in the south/east which had heavy international military presence and high aid; and drug money will become increasingly important.” [William Byrd, USIP]
  • Commentary: Of Afghan Football and Politics – “As the critical three-week long candidate registration period kicked off Monday, apathy is slowly giving way to curiosity mixed with concern to see that the presidential elections are held on time, according to basic tenants of fairness and transparency, and involve fresh thinking.” [Omar Samad, AfPak Channel]
  • Commentary: The United States’ Disservice to Afghan Translators – “Our soldiers never leave a comrade behind, but [the State Department] is leaving the interpreters behind.” [Dakota Meyer and Bing West, WAPO]

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