The South Asia Channel

Pakistani militant leader Maulvi Nazir killed in U.S. drone strike

Leader downed

A U.S. drone strike launched Wednesday night killed top Pakistani militant commander Maulvi Nazir, who was considered by the Pakistani military to be one of the "good Taliban" because he focused his attacks on U.S. forces in Afghanistan rather than the Pakistani officials and security forces targeted by other factions of the militant group (AP, Reuters, LAT, NYT, Post, The News). The drone-fired missile struck a house in Angoor Adda, near the city of Wana, South Waziristan, killing nine people inside.

On Thursday morning, another drone attack, this time in North Waziristan, killed four people whose identities could not be verified (AP, Reuters).

The Pakistani Army is set to discuss the Pakistani Taliban's conditions for a ceasefire at a corps commanders' meeting on Friday, but has also asked the government to come up with an official response (ET). Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud said last week that his group could agree to a ceasefire if the government "adopted Sharia after changing the Constitution, revised foreign policy and ended its engagement with the war on terror in Afghanistan."

The father of Malala Yousafzai, who was shot in the head by Taliban militants in October and is still recovering at a hospital in England, has been offered a job at the Pakistani consulate in Birmingham, close to Malala's hospital (AFP, CNN).

Familiar events?

Times reporter Thom Shanker published a must-read on Wednesday outlining the parallels between NATO's ongoing withdrawal from Afghanistan and the 1989 Soviet withdrawal strategy, which is widely remembered as a precipitator of the ensuing Afghan civil war (NYT).

A new look

Plastic surgery is on the rise in Afghanistan, and not just to mitigate the terrible effects that war has had on the appearances of many (LAT). As Bollywood movies and Turkish soap operas have soared in popularity in Afghanistan, and more women are entering the workforce, cosmetic surgery for the sake of beauty is becoming a much more common practice.

-- Jennifer Rowland

STRDEL/AFP/Getty Images

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