The South Asia Channel

Hopes fade for Pakistan offensive after Malala attack

New posts: Malik Siraj Akbar "Ten women who shook Pakistan" (FP); Daud Khattak "Is Swat seeing a Taliban resurgence?" (FP).

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The Taliban attack on 14-year-old Malala Yousafzai has raised questions about the return of the Taliban to Swat, the northwestern Pakistani region where the Army launched a massive operation against the Taliban in 2009 (AP). But hopes of a renewed offensive in the aftermath of the attack on Malala have been dashed by a hesitant government in Islamabad, with President Asif Ali Zardari saying Monday that there is not a consensus among the political parties on what action to take against militants (Tel).

Armed men kidnapped nine people from a passenger bus in Balochistan on Tuesday, though the reason for the kidnapping remain unknown (ET). Eight people were injured in two blasts in the northwestern district of Swabi on Monday, one of which targeted the convoy of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's Chief Minister Ameer Haider Khan Hoti (ET).

Worries about women

An Afghan man in the western province of Herat confessed on Monday to killing his wife because she wanted to take a job outside the home, though his wife's family says he stabbed his wife to death because she refused to give him money that he wanted to buy drugs (AP). The incident comes less than two weeks after a woman in the same province was beheaded by two of her in-laws after she refused to become a prostitute, and highlights human rights activists' fears for women in Afghanistan after NATO's withdrawal in 2014.

President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney sparred over foreign policy in the last U.S. presidential debate on Monday night, with both giving quite a positive assessment of the United States' progress there and the preparedness of the Afghan security forces to take control of the country after 2014 (Post).

The United Kingdom is reportedly set to double the number of armed drones it operates in Afghanistan, from five to ten Reapers (Tel, Reuters). Previously, Britain's drones were operated from a U.S. airbase in Nevada, but for the first time they will now be flown by pilots at a British base.

Russia's War Veterans Committee is making a new effort to locate the 265 Soviet soldiers who are still missing in action 23 years after the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1989 (NYT). Some are thought to have converted to Islam and stayed in Afghanistan, while others may have gone to Pakistan and Europe.

Design diplomacy

The Pakistan Fashion Design Council has opened its first store in Indian, located in an upscale neighborhood of the capital, New Delhi (VOA). The 18 Pakistani designers whose work is featured in the store are capitalizing on the upcoming wedding season in one of the world's largest markets by presenting their most elaborate bridal wear.

-- Jennifer Rowland

AAMIR QURESHI/AFP/Getty Images