The South Asia Channel

Karzai encourages early exit for NATO troops

Early exit: Afghan president Hamid Karzai suggested Thursday that an "accelerated and full transition of security responsibilities to Afghan forces" would prevent the recurrence of "painful experiences" like the release of images depicting U.S. soldiers posing with dead Afghan insurgents (LATCNN).

A U.S. military helicopter crashed in poor weather while responding to a suicide blast in Helmand Province on Thursday, and officials say all four people on board were likely killed (ReutersAFPCNNNYT).

And Afghan security forces' handling of Sunday's coordinated Taliban attacks on Kabul sparked an outpouring of public support for the country's troops, particularly its elite Special Forces, in whom much of the country has placed its hope that Afghanistan will be able to beat back the Taliban after NATO troops leave in 2014 (Guardian).

Official cover

Jamaat-ud-Dawa leader Hafiz Mohammad Saeed filed a petition with the Lahore High Court on Wednesday requesting that the Pakistani government provide him protection after the United States last week announced a $10 million reward for information leading to his arrest or conviction (McClatchyET).

Chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee John Kerry is expected to visit Pakistan on April 29 to offer a formal apology for NATO's November airstrikes on Pakistani border posts, as well as meet with the country's top civil and military officials, and with opposition politicians and civil society leaders (ET).

Dawn reported Thursday that Pakistan and the United States are discussing ways to have joint ownership over the drone strikes the CIA conducts in the country's tribal regions (Dawn). Analysts believe Sunday's attacks in Afghanistan, which U.S. and Afghan officials blamed on the Pakistan-based Haqqani Network, will strengthen the United States' hand in discussions with Pakistan over drone strikes and NATO ground supply routes through Pakistan (AFP).

The head of Dawn Magazines, Murtaza Razvi, was found murdered in a friend's art studio on Thursday morning, though the perpetrator and motivation behind the murder remain unknown (DawnETDT). And violence has flared in Karachi this week, claiming at least nine lives on Friday (ETThe News).

Tough times

Ever controversial Pakistani actress Veena Malik is busier than ever with movie premieres, photo shoots, and television shows, and even a newly begun singing career (ET). But it isn't all fun and games for Malik; she told the Tribune that she's sad that shooting is over for her upcoming film Mumbai 125 Kilometer, and she's "dying to be with [her] family" in Pakistan, but all of her work in India keeps her too busy to visit.

-- Jennifer Rowland

BAY ISMOYO/AFP/Getty Images

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