November 7, 2011

Daily brief: American General Fired Over Criticism of Karzai

From The AfPak Channel by Andrew Lebovich -
The commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, Gen. John R. Allen, announced Saturday that he had removed Maj. Gen. Peter Fuller, the deputy head of programs at NATO's training mission in Afghanistan, for "inappropriate" comments Fuller made about Afghan President Hamid Karzai to Politico last week (NYT, AP, LAT, WSJ, BBC, FT, Tel, AFP). Responding to a statement Karzai had made about supporting Pakistan in the event of an American attack on the country, Fuller said, "Why don't you just poke me in the eye with a needle! You've got to be kidding me...I'm sorry, we just gave you $11.6 billion and now you're telling me, 'I don't really care?'" He also called Karzai "erratic" and inarticulate.

Two suicide bombers attacked worshipers leaving a mosque following Eid al-Adha prayers in the northern province of Baghlan Sunday, killing eight, including three local anti-Taliban militia members and civilians (NYT, BBC, Post, AJE, Tel, AFP, LAT). The first attacker detonated his vest, while the mosque-goers jumped on and immobilized the second attacker. The bombing, which Afghan officials blamed on the Taliban, comes just days after Taliban leader Mullah Omar issued a statement in honor of the Eid holiday urging his fighters not to kill civilians, and promising punishment if civilians were killed (AJE, Tel, AP, AFP, Guardian, ET, DT). And a roadside bomb Monday killed the police chief of Helmand province's Garmsir district, Mohammad Saifullah, as well as his driver (AP).

The L.A. Times this weekend had a must-read on the accidental killing of two American Marines in a drone strike in Afghanistan this past April during a firefight with the Taliban (LAT). The Post looks at the American handover to Afghan control last week of a large base in Paktika province near the border with Pakistan, Waza Khwah (Post). And the Telegraph reports that half of the Marines in Helmand province, and perhaps more, will be withdrawn by next year, leaving British forces to once again take overall security responsibility for the province (Tel).

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