The South Asia Channel

Sectarian attack kills at least 18 in Pakistan

In cold blood: Gunmen wearing Pakistani military uniforms ambushed four passenger buses carrying mostly Shi'a Muslims in the Kohistan district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province on Tuesday, ordering the passengers off the bus and killing at least 18 of them (NYTAPCNNTelAJEETReutersLATBBC). The commander of the banned Sunni militant group Jundallah, Ahmed Marwat, contacted the media soon after the attack to claim responsibility on behalf of his organization. 

Pakistani Finance Secretary Abdul Wajid Rana on Tuesday suggested that the United States will soon release money owed to Pakistan under the Coalition Support Fund (CSF) (ETDawn). Pakistan had been slated to receive $1.3 billion from the CSF this year, but the closing of NATO supply routes through Pakistan resulted in the money being withheld for several months. The Pakistani rupee hit a record low of 90.97 against the dollar on Monday, as the State Bank of Pakistan made its first installment of $400 million to repay IMF loans, and officials told National Assembly members that the country's debt had reached $130 billion (The NewsDawn).

An email from the U.S. security think tank Stratfor obtained and published by the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks on Monday alleges that there were "Mid to senior level ISI and Pak Mil with one retired Pak Mil General that had knowledge of OBL [Osama bin Laden] arrangements and safehouse" (TelETBBC). Meanwhile, some residents of Abbottabad, where bin Laden was found and killed last May, want a girls school built on the site of the terrorist leader's compound, which was razed this weekend (ET).

Stick to the plan

U.S. officials on Monday defended the Obama administration's decision to stay the course in Afghanistan despite the protests and attacks on NATO personnel over the last week, and the growing unpopularity of the war at home (APBloombergNPR, McClatchyReuters). Pentagon officials said the "cowardly attacks" will not deter the United States from pursuing its goal of improving security conditions in Afghanistan, and spokesman George Little pointed out that U.S. troops "work alongside thousands of Afghans every single day."

The United Nations pulled international staff from their office in the northeastern province of Kunduz on Monday, a day after protesters attempted to storm the compound in which the office is located (WSJ).

A nation's pride

Pakistan's Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on Monday announced that Pakistani filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy would receive a civil award for becoming the first Pakistani to win an Oscar (AP). Obaid-Chinoy received the prestigious award for her documentary "Saving Face," which follows a London-based surgeon who travels to Pakistan to do reconstructive surgeries on female victims of acid attacks. 

-- Jennifer Rowland

HASHAM AHMED/AFP/Getty Images