- Pentagon and Pakistani military officials confirmed on Wednesday the death in a U.S. drone strike in Nangarhar of TTP splinter faction leader Umar Mansoor, whose group carried out the attacks on the Army Public School in Peshawar and Bacha Khan University in Charsadda, among other attacks. A spokesman for Pres. Ghani said there were no plans to hold another meeting of the Quadrilateral Coordination Group on Afghan peace talks. Pakistan’s foreign ministry welcomed an offer from the UN to serve as a mediator in Kashmir. The Balochistan Frontier Corps reportedly arrested three Afghan nationals, including an NDS agent, in a raid in Chaman on Wednesday. Nangarhar provincial officials report that a Daesh radio station was destroyed in a U.S. drone strike in the Achin district on Wednesday. Taking notice of delays in by-elections and other proceedings, Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali ordered the government to appoint Election Commission members by July 27; opposition party leaders failed to reach agreement on their preferred nominees at a meeting on Wednesday. The Wolesi Jirga failed to reach agreement on its nominees to a conference committee with the Mehsrano Jirga on the presidential electoral reform decree, and will recovene on the issue on Saturday.
Pakistan — Security
- Umar Mansoor’s Death Confirmed: Pakistani military and U.S. military spokesmen confirmed on Wednesday that Khalifa Umar Mansoor, aka Umar Narai, the leader of a Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan splinter group that carried out the December 2014 attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar, among other attacks, had been killed in a U.S. drone strike in Nangarhar province on July 9. The TTP have not publicly confirmed his death, but a Reuters source reports that they are first seeking to determine his successor. In a Facebook statement on Thursday, Afghan ambassador to Pakistan Omar Zakhilwal claimed that Pres. Ghani had ordered the strike on Mansoor, which he said was “a practical testament to the fact that Afghanistan will not treat terrorists as assets and target them without distinction”. [WSJ] [Dawn]
- Kashmir Tensions: Pakistan’s foreign ministry welcomed an offer by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon to mediate tensions between India and Pakistan and the current unrest in Kashmir, which the foreign ministry insisted was not an “internal” matter for India. Foreign ministry officials continued outreach on the issue to their diplomatic counterparts in the EU and OIC on Wednesday. Hizb-ul Mujahadeen leader Syed Salahuddin led a rally in Muzaffarabad on Wednesday, accusing India of carrying out “genocide” in Indian-administered Kashmir. Strikes are ongoing, and at least 34 people are reported to have been killed since the killing of Hizb-ul Mujahadeen commander Burhan Wani on Friday. Prime Minister Sharif met with JUI-F leader Maulana Fazlur Rehman on Wednesday to discuss the situation; in Pakistani-administered Kashmir, the PML-N’s chapter has announced a “Condemnation Day” to be held tomorrow. Chief of Army Staff Raheel Sharif condemned the situation in Kashmir at a monthly corps commanders’ meeting on Wednesday. [Reuters] [Dawn] [ET]
- Accused Afghan Spy Arrested: Dawn reports that the Balochistan Frontier Corps arrested three Afghan nationals, including one accused of working for the National Directorate of Security intelligence service, in a raid on the outskirts of the Chaman border town on Wednesday; a large cache of explosives and three local members of an unspecified “banned militant organization” were also reportedly detained.
Pakistan — Politics and Diplomacy
- Elections and Other Political Activity: Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali called a hearing to address the vacancies and lack of performance by the Election Commission, ordering the government to fill the four ECP commissioner vacancies by July 27. Opposition party leaders meeting on Wednesday failed to reach agreement among themselves on nominees for the commissioner positions, but have called a meeting for July 19 to discuss a strategy for investigations into Prime Minister Sharif’s family’s alleged overseas business holdings. [ET] [ET] [ET] [ET]
- Karachi Crackdown: The Rangers released MQM leader Izhar Ahmed Khan after a day’s detention on Wednesday, saying they would be summoned for further investigations in the future. Separately, officials linked to Sindh Home Minister Sohail Anwar Sial are reported to have intervened to secure the release of Asad Kharal, a Larkana-based clerk who was detained by the Rangers on Tuesday evening as part of a corruption investigation. [ET] [ET] [Dawn] [Dawn]
- Group Calls for Army Chief’s Extension: Dawn reports that the Lahore offices of a small Pakistani party, “Move On Pakistan”, which recently set up banners calling for Chief of Army Staff Raheel Sharif to take control of the country, were attacked and defaced by a group of unidentified protestors on Tuesday evening. Party leaders blamed the PML-N-led provincial government. [ET]
Pakistan — Remainders
- Army Takes On Monitoring Role in FATA Health and Education [Dawn]
- ‘Corridor Front’ Launched to Demand Greater CPEC Share for Khyber Paktunkhwa [ET]
- Chief Justice Calls July 18 Meeting on Judicial Security [ET]
- Punjab Bans ‘Hazardous’ Child Labor Under Age 15 [Dawn]
- Afghan Medical Tourism Dries Up After Torkham Border Restrictions [Dawn]
- Military Helicopter Crashes in Hunza [ET]
- Pakistan’s Biggest Dam Stymied by Land Dispute [ET]
- IMF Says Overall Banking System Capitalization is Strong [ET]
Afghanistan — Security
- Attacks and Operations: Nangarhar provincial officials report that two U.S. drone strikes in the Achin district on Wednesday killed a dozen Daesh militants and destroyed a radio facility. Local officials in the Kot district claim that Daesh fighters there are primarily Pakistani nationals operating under the commander of the Pakistani intelligence service. Afghan National Army special forces commander Gen. Bismillah Waziri held a press conference on Wednesday, praising Afghan special forces and the U.S. for supporting their operations. [TOLO] [TOLO] [Khaama Press]
- Ghost Police Officers: Helmand governor Hayatullah Hayat tells TOLO that he is planning “systematic changes in the ranks of the police forces” and that 400 “ghost” police officers have been struck from the provincial payroll.
Afghanistan — Politics and Diplomacy
- No Plans to Revive Quadrilateral Coordination Group: A spokesman for Pres. Ghani tells the AP that the Afghan government has no plans to hold a future meeting of the Quadrilateral Coordination Group with the U.S., China, and Pakistan, noting that Afghanistan continues to suffer from “terrorist groups that operate from and have a support base in Pakistan.” An anonymous Pakistani security official confirmed that talks were stalled, blaming both the Taliban and the Afghan government.
- Electoral Reforms: After two rounds of voting, the Wolesi Jirga failed to reach agreement on its nominees for a conference committee meant to meet with representatives from the Meshrano Jirga to discuss the presidential electoral reform decree that was rejected by the lower house but approved by the senate. Further negotiations and voting are planned for Saturday.
- Indian Assistance: India’s ambassador to Afghanistan Manpreet Vohra signed a memorandum of understanding with Chief Executive Abdullah and other Afghan officials on Thursday, pledging $25 million in assistance for “micro development” projects.
Afghanistan — Remainders
- Minister of Women’s Affairs Survives Impeachment Move [TOLO]
- Flour Imports from Pakistan Drop [TOLO]
- Report: ‘They Bear All the Pain’: Hazardous Child Labor in Afghanistan – “The Afghan government is failing to protect tens of thousands of children, some as young as 5, from hazardous conditions in the workplace, in violation of Afghanistan’s labor laws.” [Human Rights Watch]