Pakistan-Afghanistan Update: Deal Reportedly Near Between Abdullah and Ghani; Khan Calls for Supreme Court Intervention


  • Following meetings in the presidential palace on Monday, a spokesman for Pres. Karzai suggests that there has been a “breakthrough” and that a deal between Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani is close to finalization. The Electoral Complaints Commission will begin hearing challenges to the IEC’s audit findings on Wednesday. Imran Khan continues to lead protests in Islamabad, appealing to the Supreme Court to intervene and calling for a surge of attendance this Friday. Angry protestors forced Prime Minister Sharif to cut short a visit to flood-affected areas of Multan on Monday, and attacked local officials and parliamentarians in Muzaffaragah. A suicide bombing outside a US Special Forces base in Kabul has killed three soldiers, at least one of whom was identified as a Polish officer. An ISAF trainer was killed by an Afghan soldier in Herat on Monday. Pakistan’s chief military spokesman said Monday that Operation Zarb-e-Azb has dispersed the TTP’s command structure, “neutralizing” their ability to carry out attacks.

Pakistan — Security

  • Waziristan Operations: In a BBC Urdu interview on Monday, the military’s chief spokesman, Maj. Gen. Asim Bajwa, said that Operation Zarb-e-Azb had “neutralized” the Pakistani Taliban’s capacity to carry out terrorist attacks, and that “the second tier of command structure of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan has either been killed or arrested during the operation.” ISAF Commander Gen. John Campbell met with Chief of Army Staff Raheel Sharif on Monday to discuss the Waziristan operations and other cross-border security issues, his first visit since assuming command of ISAF in June. On Tuesday, a group of militants crossing from the Afghan side of the border into North Waziristan clashed with Pakistani ground forces, killing three Frontier Corps soldiers; eleven militants were killed and one captured. [Dawn]

Pakistan — Politics and Diplomacy

  • Protests Continue: In his nightly speech to supporters on Monday, Imran Khan called on the Supreme Court to take notice of the police arrests of PTI and PAT activists last week; five PTI sit-in attendees were arrested on Tuesday morning, resulting in clashes with police, before their eventual release. On Tuesday, Khan called on supporters to turn out en masse this Friday, warning that “the people of this nation will not tolerate injustices any longer” and that the Supreme Court “now [has] the responsibility of saving Pakistan’s democracy”. The Supreme Court previously refused to hear a PTI petition seeking Prime Minister Sharif’s disqualification from office on the grounds that he had lied during remarks to parliament; the PTI filed an appeal on Monday, which the court has agreed to hear. [Dawn] [ET] [Dawn] [Dawn] [Dawn] [Dawn] [ET] [ET]
  • Special Elections: The Election Commission has set the by-election for former PTI leader Javed Hashmi’s now vacant NA-149 Multan seat for October 16, with nomination papers due by September 22. Hashmi has indicated he will run for the seat as an independent; the PPP has named a candidate, and the PML-N and PTI are said to be debating whether or not to contest the seat so as to support or punish Hashmi for his earlier resignation from the PTI. Meanwhile, the Election Commission disqualified Maulvi Agha Muhammad, a JUI-F national assembly member, on Tuesday on grounds of holding a fake education degree. Re-elections have been ordered in the NA-261 Pishin-Ziarat constituency. [ET]

Pakistan — Economics and Development

  • Flood Relief: Prime Minister Sharif visited flood-affected areas of Multan on Monday, pledging assistance; Sindh is now preparing for the wave of floodwaters around Guddu and Sukkur. Crowds of protestors angry at the slow pace of relief forced Sharif to cut short meetings with local displaced residents; independent parliamentarian Jamshed Dasti of Muzafarragah and other district administrators were also attacked by protestors after floodwaters were diverted into outlying rural areas in order to save the city from flood. [Dawn]

Pakistan — Remainders

  • Proposal Raised to Import LNG from Iran [ET] [ET]
  • Ambassador’s Remarks that Hafiz Saeed is ‘Free to Roam’ Spark Criticism in India [ET]
  • Supreme Court Hears Defamation Case Against ARY [Dawn]
  • Quetta Journalists Make Human Chain to Mourn Slain Colleagues [Dawn]
  • Pakistan and Germany Move Towards Strategic Dialogue [Dawn]
  • Foreign Direct Investment Drops 37% Year-on-Year in First Two Months of Fiscal Year [ET]

Afghanistan — Security

  • Attacks on Kabul Base:  A suicide car bombing targeting a convoy at the gates of an American Special Operations base in Kabul on Tuesday killed three soldiers and wounded five, also wounding at least thirteen civilian bystanders. The nationality of all the ISAF soldiers killed has not been disclosed but the Polish military said that one of its officers was among the dead and two others had been wounded. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack. [NYT] [BBC] [AJE] [AFP] [Khaama Press]
  • Insider Attack: An ISAF training officer was killed by an Afghan soldier at a base in Herat on Monday; the commander of the 207 Zafar Army Corps tells TOLO that the gunman, who was killed during the exchange of fire, was not linked to the Taliban and had “psychological problems”. ISAF said it was investigating the incident. [Khaama Press]
  • Torkham Crossing Attacked: Two suicide bombers attacked the Torkham border crossing in Nangarhar on Monday evening, destroying as many as 26 fuel tankers before they were killed by security forces.

Afghanistan — Politics and Diplomacy

  • Karzai Suggests Deal Soon: Following meetings between Pres. Karzai and Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani on Monday, a spokesman for Karzai said that there had been a “breakthrough” and suggested that the two sides were near an agreement on sharing power through a national unity government. No details were disclosed, but on Tuesday a Ghani spokesman said that “if no new issues arise … it is possible and expected that it could be concluded at the meeting today”. The Ghani spokesman noted that the election results must be accepted as part of the deal, as “for the government of national unity to be shared, there must be a legitimately elected and accepted president.” The AP reports that the two sides had reached consensus over the weekend on whether the president must reach “agreement” on key decisions with the new chief executive – the Abdullah position – or “consultation”, with the UN proposing the chief executive should “coordinate cabinet activities”. On Monday, the Independent Election Commission said that it had invalidated results from 1,028 polling stations during the course of the audit and recount process. The results of the audit were shared with the campaigns and the Electoral Complaints Commission, beginning a 72-hour period in which any challenges to the IEC’s decisions are to be filed and decided by the ECC, allowing for the announcement of final results by the end of the week. The WSJ notes that the divisions of the election campaign are echoed within the Afghan security services; Abdullah’s running mate Mohammad Mohaqeq warns that “our team is very wide, and if the results of the election are not accepted, then I am not sure that all the security forces will obey Ashraf Ghani”.  [Khaama Press] [Khaama Press]

Afghanistan — Remainders

  • NDS Announces Arrest of Kidnapping Network Head [TOLO]
  • Appeals Court Affirms Death Sentence for Rapist Group [NYT] [BBC] [TOLO]

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