Joint missions in Afghanistan, in which Afghan security forces work directly with NATO troops, are on the rise again following a directive last week creating a formal approval process for all joint operations below the battalion level, as a precaution against the growing threat of "insider attacks" (NYT, AP, WSJ, AFP, Reuters, Post). U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said at a news conference on Thursday that the approval system is operating efficiently, and "most ISAF units have returned to their normal partnered options at all levels."
Dozens of British-built schools and health clinics in the southern Afghan province of Helmand may be forced to close down as NATO countries transition out of Afghanistan, because the Afghan government cannot afford to keep them open (Guardian).
Ends and means
Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar said Thursday that Pakistan does agree with the objectives of the U.S. drone campaign in her country's tribal regions, but not with the method, which she says is illegal (ET, AFP). And Pakistan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a statement on Friday morning rejecting claims made in a report on Wednesday in the Wall Street Journal that Pakistan is tacitly complicit in U.S. drone attacks (ET).
The top U.S. military official, Gen. Martin Dempsey said Thursday that a meeting between U.S. and Pakistani military chiefs was postponed this week due to the violent anti-American protests that swept Pakistan after the publicizing of a film considered by many Muslims to be offensive (AFP).
A senior Pakistani police official died in the northwest city of Peshawar on Friday when a roadside bomb exploded while he was attempting to defuse it (AP, ET/AFP). The European Union on Thursday released another 15 million euros ($19 million) in aid to Pakistan to be targeted toward those affected by severe flooding and unrest (Dawn).
When Polish soldiers discovered a newborn baby girl on an Afghan roadside in Ghazni Province last week, they worried that the little bundle might contain a bomb planted by insurgents (ABC). But just a week later, she has found a family with a childless Afghan couple, and a name, Arya, meaning happiness.
-- Jennifer Rowland
JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images