The South Asia Channel

Suicide bomb attack hours after Panetta visit

Exclusive: The Afghan High Peace Council's "Peace Process Roadmap to 2015 (AfPak).

Bonus read: Peter Bergen, "A feminist film epic and the real women of the CIA" (CNN).

Deadly attack

A suicide bomber slammed his car into a NATO armored vehicle near the gates of Kandahar Air Field, killing one U.S. soldier and three Afghan civilians, and wounding over 20 others (NYT, Post, AFP, Reuters, AP). The attack came just hours after U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta visited the massive air base at Kandahar.

And a spokesman for the Afghan spy agency, the National Directorate of Security (NDS), said Thursday that Asadullah Khalid, the nation's spy chief, was airlifted to the United States on Wednesday to be treated for wounds he sustained during a Taliban assassination attempt last week (NYT).

The U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee voted 9 to 6 on Thursday to approve a 6,000-page report on the CIA's use of harsh interrogation methods, which finds that torture tactics are ineffective at collecting important intelligence (Post, NYT, Reuters, CNN, AFP). Committee chair Dianne Feinstein said after the vote that she believes the creation of CIA "black sites" and the use of harsh interrogation techniques were "terrible mistakes."

The controversy over the CIA's harsh interrogation techniques has been stoked by commentary on brutal torture scenes featured in Zero Dark Thirty, the Hollywood portrayal of the hunt to find Osama bin Laden (LAT).

Tax time 

Alex Rodriguez for the LA Times reports on the daunting work facing Pakistan's new chairman of the Federal Board of Revenue, Ali Arshad Khan, who is determined to force tax evaders - particularly the wealthier ones - pay their fair share (LAT).

Over the past few weeks many Pakistanis have been forced to wait in long lines at to fill their cars with natural gas, as a pricing dispute between the government and Supreme Court has prompted many stations providing the fuel to shut down (AP). The Pakistani government previously encouraged drivers to use natural gas by keeping the price low, a practice which is unsustainable and which officials are now trying to reverse.


A flamboyant Japanese wrestler received a hero's welcome in Pakistan earlier this month when he arrived in Peshawar to establish a wrestling academy and celebrate 60 years of Pakistani-Japanese friendship (Post). Muhammad Hussain Inoki, still known in Japan as Antonio Inoki, claims to be a Buddhist as well as a Muslim convert.

Susan Walsh-Pool/Getty Images


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