January 6th, 2010
03:55 PM ET

Around the Web: More details emerge about suicide bomber

The brother of the suicide bomber who killed eight people at a U.S. base in Afghanistan last week told CNN his sibling's actions were "out of character" and that the man was "under pressure."

Greg Miller of the Los Angeles Times reports that the suicide bomber “had never been to the compound or met with agency operatives before the attacks.”

The absence of any previous encounter adds to the confusion over how the attacker - posing as an informant with valuable information on Al Qaeda - was able to make it past security with a bomb apparently strapped to his body and lure seasoned CIA operatives to their deaths last week.”

Mark Mazzetti of the New York Times reports that the bomber “was considered by American spy agencies to be the most promising informant in years about the whereabouts of Al Qaeda’s top leaders.”

“American intelligence officials said Tuesday they had been so hopeful about what the Jordanian might deliver during a meeting with C.I.A. officials last Wednesday at a remote base in Khost that top officials at the agency and the White House had been informed that the gathering would take place.”


January 6th, 2010
09:43 AM ET

The profiling issue from an Afghan traveling to the U.S.

Editor’s Note: Nasim Fekrat started the Afghan Lord blog in 2004 in Afghanistan, where he grew up. He is now a student at Dickinson College in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. The opinions expressed in this guest blog are solely those of Nasim Fekrat.

After the unsuccessful terror attack on an American jetliner by suspect Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab, a 23 year-old Nigerian, security at international airports is getting tighter. In the days after the incident, President Obama vowed to “disrupt and dismantle” every possible threat against the U.S. and ordered enhanced screening and security procedures for all flights, domestic and international. These measures are smart, but they increase the concerns for those travelers who might be suspected by their nationality or religion.

Last week, a viewer called into CNN, to say that anyone who has a Muslim name should not be allowed to fly into the U.S. I have been profiled just because I am coming from Afghanistan, have a Muslim name and identify myself as an Afghan. I personally believe that judging travelers on their ethnicity and religion is not fair. Psychologically, it is disturbing and annoying to be interrogated just because of your nationality. Instead, the security should be reformed and new technology should be developed and used to determine who is actually dangerous. FULL POST

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Filed under: Your View
January 6th, 2010
09:25 AM ET

Sources: Suspected drone strikes kill militants in Pakistan

PESHAWAR, Pakistan  - At least 13 suspected militants were killed in a tribal region of Pakistan near the Afghan border Wednesday, apparently by missiles fired from unmanned U.S. aircraft, two Pakistani intelligence sources told CNN. The strikes are the fourth and fifth suspected drone strikes in less than a week - since seven Central Intelligence Agency officers and contractors were killed by a suicide bomber in Afghanistan on December 30.

Suspected drone strikes took place about once every week to 10 days in October and November, according to records kept by the Center for American Progress, a Washington think tank.

The first incident took place around 3:50 p.m. local time (5:50 a.m. ET), and the second just over an hour later, apparently targeting militants who gathered at the scene of the first attack. One source said 13 had been killed, and another put the number of dead at 14.

The strikes took place in the Sanazala area of the Dattakhel subdivision of the North Waziristan region –the largely autonomous tribal region near the border with Afghanistan. The area has been the scene of heavy fighting between Pakistani military forces and the Taliban, the Islamic militia that also is battling U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

The U.S. military routinely offers no comment on reported attacks by drones, or unmanned aircraft. However, the United States is the only country operating in the region known to have the ability to launch missiles from remote-controlled aircraft.

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Filed under: Pakistan
January 6th, 2010
09:15 AM ET

14 terror suspects mistakenly kill themselves

Kabul, Afghanistan  - Fourteen suspected terrorists died Tuesday night when the bus they rigged with explosives blew up prematurely, police said. The explosion occurred as the suspects were riding the bus in the province of Kunduz, said police chief Abdul Raziq Yaqobi.

Yaqobi said the suspects wanted to attack Afghan police or foreign soldiers.

Filed under: Daily Developments