Pakistan-Afghanistan Update: Sharif and Ghani Meet at Paris Conference; NATO Ministers Discuss ANSF Support Through 2020

Topline

  • Pres. Ghani and Prime Minister Sharif met on the sidelines of the Paris climate conference on Monday; Sharif’s office issued a statement suggesting that “both leaders agreed to work with all those who would enter [a peace and reconciliation] process as legitimate political actors, and act, alongside the Afghan government, against those who refuse to take the path of peace.” In an interview with French TV, Ghani said he was “considering” Pakistan’s invitation to attend next week’s ‘Heart of Asia’ summit in Islamabad, and that Pakistan would need to earn Afghanistan’s trust. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters that NATO foreign ministers were discussing the provision of financial support for the Afghan national security forces from 2018-2020, and the extension of a roughly 12,000 troop-strong NATO training mission through 2016; a final decision on security assistance will reportedly be made at next year’s NATO summit in July. Local election polling concluded in Islamabad on Monday, where preliminary results suggest the PML-N won a plurality of seats on the metropolitan corporation. Pajhwok reports receiving pictures confirming the death of Taliban dissident commander Mullah Mansoor Dadullah. The Paktunkhwa Milli Awami Party has reportedly agreed to move a no confidence vote against Balochistan Chief Minister Abdul Malik Baloch if he does not surrender the chief ministership to the PML-N under the terms of the original tripartite coalition government agreement in 2013.

Pakistan — Security

  • Election Security: The Sindh Rangers announced on Monday that they had seized a cache of weapons and arrested a “criminal affiliated with a political party” in a raid in Karachi, alleged to have been planning attacks during the upcoming local elections.
  • Counterterrorism Operations: A raid by Punjab Counter Terrorism Department police in Dera Ghazi Khan on Sunday killed four suspected terrorists; the apparent target of the operation, identified as Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent commander Shoaib Cheema, are reported to have fled.
  • Military Police Attacked: Two military police officers were killed on Tuesday in an attack on their vehicle in Karachi by unidentified gunmen. No claim of responsibility has been reported. [ET]
  • Bajaur Bombing: A roadside bombing in the Bajuar Agency’s Nava pass area on Monday wounded two security personnel; no claim of responsibility was reported.

Pakistan — Politics and Diplomacy

  • Islamabad Elections: Polling concluded on Monday for local government elections in Islamabad, with no major disruptions reported; unofficial results on Tuesday suggest that in the union council chairmen contests, the PML-N has won 21 seats, the PTI 16 seats, and independents 13 seats; these chairmen will form the fifty-seat Islamabad Metropolitan Corporation council to elect a mayor and deputy mayors. [Dawn] [Dawn] [ET]
  • Other Electoral and Political Activity: Rawalpindi district officials have sought to bar Imran Khan from headline a PTI rally in the district prior to local elections there on December 5; Dawn notes PTI divisions in Rawalpindi. PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari spoke on Monday in Karachi’s Malir neighborhood to commemorate the founding anniversary of the PPP. The Express Tribune reports that following talks with PML-N Balochistan chapter head Sardar Sanaullah Zehri, the Paktunkhwa Milli Awami Party has agreed to back a no-confidence motion against Balochistan Chief Minister Abdul Malik Baloch if the National Party does not agree to cede the chief minister’s position to the PML-N, as agreed in their initial coalition agreement in 2013. [ET] [ET] [ET] [Dawn] [Dawn] [Dawn] [ET]
  • Sharif and Modi Converse at Paris Summit: Prime Ministers Modi and Sharif met briefly on the sidelines of the Paris climate conference on Monday for a courtesy exchange. Drawing on a new book by Indian journalist Barkha Dutt, the Hindustan Times details a previously unreported meeting between Sharif and Modi on the sidelines of the SAARC summit in Kathmandu a year ago, reportedly facilitated by Indian steel magnate Sajjan Jindal. [Dawn]

Pakistan — Economics and Development

Pakistan — Remainders

  • Civil Society Activists Call for Scrapping of Cybercrimes Legislation [Dawn]
  • Pakistani Foreign Ministry Protests Bangladesh War Crimes Charges [APP] [ET]
  • Shahbaz Sharif Meets UK Security Advisor in London [Dawn]
  • Navy Chief Concludes Sea Spark Exercise with Pledge for ‘Comprehensive Review’ of Operational Plans [Dawn]
  • No Verification of Charges Against Punjab Law Minister by Convicted Gunman [Dawn]
  • Senate Chairman Rabbani Protests ‘Rollback’ of Devolution Plan [Dawn]
  • Peshawar High Court Reserves Verdict on Challenge to Provincial Accountability Courts [ET]
  • Health Minister Raises Concerns Over Karachi Polio Vaccination Performance [ET]
  • Sindh Chief Minister Raises Women’s Job Quota to 7% [Dawn]
  • Petrol Prices Unchanged for December [Dawn]

Afghanistan — Security

  • Security Support: Speaking to reporters prior to the opening of a conference of NATO foreign ministers on Monday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that the alliance was discussing the provision of financial support for the Afghan national security forces from 2018-2020, as well as the NATO training mission in Afghanistan for the year 2016, which he indicated would involve around 12,000 troops, split half between U.S. and other NATO allies. Final decisions on financing will reportedly come at next year’s NATO summit in July. [TOLO] [NATO Transcript]
  • Pajhwok Reports Dadullah Death: Pajhwok reports receiving photos confirming the death of dissident Taliban commander Mullah Mansoor Dadullah after he was reportedly shot by his bodyguard last month; spokesmen for Dadullah’s faction had maintained that he was only injured in the attack.
  • Attacks and Operations: Three children were killed and 15 wounded when an unexploded shell detonated in the Baghlan provincial capital on Tuesday. The ministry of interior claims to have killed the Taliban shadow governor for the Sancharak district in Sar-e-Pul during ongoing operations there. [Khaama Press]

Afghanistan — Politics and Diplomacy

  • Ghani and Sharif Meet: President Ghani and Prime Minister Sharif met on the sidelines of the Paris climate conference on Monday in trilateral talks with UK Prime Minister Cameron. Prime Minister Sharif’s office issued a statement saying that discussions focused on “the resumption of the peace and reconciliation process” and that “both leaders agreed to work with all those who would enter such a process as legitimate political actors, and act, alongside the Afghan government, against those who refuse to take the path of peace.” Dawn reports that Ghani will attend the Heart of Asia summit in Islamabad next week. The Afghan government has yet to comment directly on the meetings, but in an interview with France24 television, Ghani said that he was “considering” Pakistan’s invitation, and that while “Pakistan can be a broker,” “the trust needs to be earned”. Ghani suggested that following Mullah Omar’s death, “there is no such thing as the Taliban,” but that “there are groups of Taliban and we will engage in talking with some of them and if some of them would like to come through the mediation of Pakistan, that’s something that we need to talk about.” An anonymous Afghan official tells Reuters that “if Pakistan says ‘we’ll do something for you in the peace process’, we’re not going to rush. We will have to verify it.” [WSJ] [ET] [APP] [Khaama Press] [TOLO] [TOLO]

Afghanistan — Remainders

  • Decision to Force Out Marine Who Sent Warning of Insider Attack Upheld [WAPO]
  • Rise of Anti-Taliban Militias Raises Fears of Instability [AFP]
  • Ministry of Public Health Pledges to Eradicate Polio by 2016 [TOLO]
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