Pakistan-Afghanistan Update: Rice Meets with Karzai, Who Maintains Security Agreement Delay; PTI Drone Protests Continue

Topline

  • US National Security Advisor Rice visited Kabul where she held talks with Pres. Karzai, who refused to reverse his stance that the bilateral security agreement between the U.S. and Afghanistan should be delayed. Karzai reportedly raised new preconditions for the deal’s completion, including the release of Afghan prisoners at Guantanamo, the establishment of a peace process, and a halt to U.S. military operations in the country. U.S. officials have repeatedly warned that a delay is “not viable”. The PTI and Jamaat-e-Islami are continuing protests in Peshawar, blocking NATO supply trucks. Pakistan’s military has announced the induction of indigenously-produced surveillance drones. Afghan justice ministry officials confirm that they are considering the reintroduction of death by public stoning in adultery cases.

Pakistan — Security

  • NATO Supply Route Protests Continue: PTI and Jamaat-e-Islami activists continue to check trucks passing through Peshawar on Tuesday, barring those bound for Afghanistan from continuing. The federal government has yet to intervene and police do not appear to be breaking up the protests. PTI officials have requested Hangu police officials to identify the US and CIA as the suspects in their investigation of the deaths connected to last week’s drone strike. MQM leader Altaf Hussain said that his party would join the PTI when it also “declared jihad against terrorist organizations like Al Qaeda and the Taliban” but that protests should continue and that the government should take action to shoot down drones. The Post notes that drone operations still remain under CIA control, despite earlier administration plans to gradually transfer that responsibility to the Pentagon’s Joint Special Operations Command. [BBC] [Dawn]
  • Pakistan Develops Local Surveillance Drones: The Pakistani military announced on Monday that its first indigenously-produced unarmed surveillance drones had entered into operation, the Buraq and Shapar models. Pakistan has reportedly previously conducted remote weapons tests with an Italian Falco drone in the past year, and has received offers from China to sell an armed CH-3 drone capable of carrying two laser-guided missiles or bombs. [ET] [WAPO]
  • Iran Border Clash Kills One: A rocket allegedly fired by Iranian border forces killed a young girl and injured six people when it struck three houses in Balochistan’s Kech district on Monday. One of the houses is believed to belong to Mullah Omer, a leader of the Iranian militant group Jaish-ul-Adl.

Pakistan — Politics and Diplomacy

  • Court Cases: National Accountability Bureau officials met on Monday following NAB chief Qamar Zaman Chaudhry’s leave from office to determine their strategy for pursuing high-level corruption cases, in which Chaudhry has been implicated; Dawn reports that the NAB will proceed with investigations against Chaudhry. On Tuesday, a special accountability court ordered the NAB to present its references against former Pres. Zardari to him, and adjourned hearings until December 9. The Quetta anti-terrorism court hearing murder charges against former Pres. Musharraf in connection to the death of Nawab Akbar Bugti has rejected his request not to appear before the court in person. The Sindh High Court is still reviewing Musharraf’s plea to be removed from the exit control list to allow him to leave the country. [Dawn] [ET]

Pakistan — Economics and Development

  • Energy Crisis: Prime Minister Sharif inaugurated construction on the new Chinese-supported 1,100 megawatt Karachi Coastal Power Project, which he said together with four reactors at the KANUPP facility in Karachi could generate an estimated 40,000 megawatts by 2050. Separately, the Express Tribune reports that the oil industry has appealed the government to commit to a full deregulation of pricing.

Pakistan — Remainders

  • Chief Justice Orders Defense Secretary to Produce Missing Person [Dawn] [Dawn]
  • Polio Campaigners Freed in Bara [Dawn]
  • Bomb in Swabi Damages Shops [ET]
  • Turkish TV Invasion Threatens Pakistani Drama Industry [AP]
  • Proposal to Introduce Stricter Checks on Tax Returns [ET]
  • Consortium Chosen to Serve as Consultants for 3G Spectrum Auction [ET]
  • National Assembly Member Sumaira Malik Disqualified for Holding Fake Degree [The Nation]

Afghanistan — Security

  • National Security Advisor Rice Meets with Karzai: U.S. national security advisor Susan Rice arrived in Kabul on Monday for a previously-scheduled trip to meet with U.S. military personnel; she met with Pres. Karzai following his statements at the loya jirga the previous day avowing that he would continue negotiations over the bilateral security agreement and delay its signature until after the April elections. A White House statement said that in their discussions “Ambassador Rice reiterated that, without a prompt signature, the U.S. would have no choice but to initiate planning for a post-2014 future in which there would be no U.S. or NATO troop presence in Afghanistan,” and that “deferring the signature of the agreement until after next year’s elections is not viable”. Karzai’s spokesman, Aimal Faizi, said that he was “satifisfied” with assurances from Rice that the U.S. did not intend to interfere in the upcoming elections, but is now reported to have opened new demands as a precondition for the agreement’s signing, including that the U.S. release all Afghan prisoners at the Guantanamo prison camp as well as “no more raids on Afghan homes, no more killings of Afghan civilians by American forces,” and the start of a peace process. Faizi added that Karzai “strongly believes Afghan peace is firmly in the hands of the United States first, and secondly in the hands of Pakistan”. [Reuters] [AP] [AJE] [BBC] [TOLO] [TOLO] [TOLO]

Afghanistan — Politics and Diplomacy

  • Violence Against Women: Marking the International Day for Elimination of Violence Against women, the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission reported a 25% increase in reported cases of human rights violations against women during the first six months of the year. Separately, Afghan Ministry of Justice officials confirm that they are considering a revision of the Afghan penal code that would reintroduce death by stoning in cases of adultery, justifying it on grounds of Islamic law. The legislation remains in draft, however. [AFP]
  • Election Preparations: On Monday, Independent Election Commission officials finalized the ballot order for the April presidential elections, after a final list of eleven candidates was established last week. [TOLO]

Afghanistan — Remainders

  • Commentary: Who’s Who?: A Primer on Afghanistan’s Presidential Candidates – “ After weeks of high drama over the BSA, it is time to focus less on the negotiations’ rhetoric and more on the real legacy of the nascent Afghan democratic progress.” [Ioannis Koskinas, AfPak Channel]

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