The South Asia Channel

U.S. drones kill up to 17 in Pakistan's tribal region

Event notice: Please join the New America Foundation's National Security Studies Program for an event TOMORROW, January 8, 2013 to discuss the just released book, Talibanistan: Negotiating the Border Between Terror, Politics, and Religion, edited by Peter Bergen with Katherine Tiedemann, and including chapters by several contributors to the AfPak Channel (NAF).

Heavy attack 

U.S. drones launched a volley of strikes on three militant hideouts near the border between North and South Waziristan tribal agencies on Sunday, killing between nine and 17 suspected militants, including the alleged head of the Pakistani Taliban's suicide attack wing, Wali Mohammad Toofan (Dawn, The News, AP, CNN, DT, Reuters, AJE, BBC, AFP). Toofan was also a cousin and close aide of Tehreek-e-Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud.

Indian and Pakistani soldiers exchanged fire across the border between Indian- and Pakistani-controlled Kashmir, resulting in the wounding of two Pakistani troops, one of whom later died (NYT, CNN, Reuters, AP, BBC, AJE, ). The Pakistanis claimed that Indian troops had crossed the Line of Control (LoC) to attack a remote Pakistani outpost, but Indian forces say they only responded to unprovoked Pakistani shelling across the LoC that hit a civilian home.

Act of defiance?

Afghan authorities on Friday released 80 Afghan prisoners previously held by the United States on suspicion of involvement with the Taliban in an effort to encourage reconciliation with the insurgent group (AP, NYT). Those 80 men were the first batch in a total of 400 prisoners that are set to be released this week, according to a spokesman for the Afghan Ministry of Defense.

Two suicide bombers attacked a meeting of tribal elders at a government facility in Spin Boldak in the southern Afghan province of Kandahar, killing eight elders and wounding 15 others (CNN, AP, BBC).

Afghan President Hamid Karzai left Afghanistan on Monday for the United States, where he will meet with U.S. President Barack Obama for talks that will focus on security, and could result in a decision on how many U.S. troops with remain in Afghanistan following NATO's withdrawal by the end of 2014 (AFP). The White House is reportedly considering keeping 3,000 to 9,000 troops in Afghanistan after 2014, a lower range than the 6,000 to 20,000 proposed by the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan Gen. John Allen (NYT).

A memoir released today by Gen. Stanley McChrystal details the growing tensions that the former top commander in Afghanistan witnessed between the Defense Department and the Obama administration from the very beginning of the president's first term in office (NYT). Gen. McChrystal was fired from his post in 2010 after a Rolling Stone article quoted some of his subordinates making disparaging remarks about some of President Obama's senior advisors.

Drone politics

In Pakistan, where drone strikes are a regular occurrence and have sparked much outcry, one political figure has made the hated attacks into a political metaphor (ET). Muttahida Qaumi Movement leader Altaf Husain on Saturday threatened a "political drone attack" that analysts expect to be aimed at the ruling Pakistan People's Party.

Bonny Schoonakker/AFP/Getty Images

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