New Post: Scott Smith, "The bull in Afghanistan's china shop" (AfPak).
Kathy Gannon for the Associated Press reports Thursday that many Afghans in villages bordering Pakistan are fleeing their homes for fear of relentless U.S. drone strikes targeting militants in the area (AP). In one village, locals dispute U.S. claims that five men killed in a recent drone strike were militants, and neighboring villagers expressed anger over a school destroyed in a drone strike that has not yet been rebuilt.
And tribal sources in Pakistan say a coalition operation in southern Afghanistan near the border with Pakistan has killed more than 25 members of the Pakistani Taliban (ET).
Much ado about nothing?
A spokesman for Pakistan's Foreign Ministry, Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry, said Thursday that Afghanistan "overreacted to a small incident" when it cancelled a scheduled visit by eleven members of the Afghan Army over what the Afghan government called "unacceptable Pakistani shelling" of Afghan villages near the border (AFP, VOA, The News). The governor of the eastern Afghan province of Kunar told the AFP that more than 50 rockets had been fired into his province from Pakistan on Monday and Tuesday.
The son of the late Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and outgoing President Asif Ali Zardari, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, has left Pakistan amid threats to his safety and reported political differences with his father and his aunt, Faryal Talpur (AP, ET). Bilawal plays a large role in the ruling Pakistan People's Party (PPP), and was expected to play a key role in rallying voters to the PPP's cause during the upcoming elections.
Fake it till you make it
Pakistan's Supreme Court is tired of waiting to find out how many officials have faked their college degrees, and has ordered lower courts to get the cases done by April 4 (The News). Some 34 cases of bogus degrees were sent to courts around the country, 19 of which were in Punjab alone.
-- Jennifer Rowland