January 21st, 2011
02:16 PM ET

Afghan journalist injured in acid attack

An Afghan journalist suffered first-degree burns in an acid attack in the capital earlier this week, a report said.

Razaq Mamoon is a writer and television presenter, according to Reporters Without Borders, a media rights organization.

Mamoon was attacked with acid Tuesday night as he left home, the group said. He is hospitalized with nonlife-threatening injuries.

A suspect, identified only as Rafiullah, has been arrested, the Interior Ministry said Friday.

Reporters Without Borders is urging the Afghan government to fully investigate the attack.

"We have already identified a dozen or so cases of violence against Afghan journalists for 2011," the group said. "The authors and originators of this barbarous act must be swiftly identified and arrested."

Acid attacks on journalists are not common in the country, according to NIA, an Afghan organization that protects journalists.

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Filed under: Daily Developments • Kabul
Bin Laden message warns France to pull out of Afghanistan
January 21st, 2011
01:15 PM ET

Bin Laden message warns France to pull out of Afghanistan

A speaker claiming to be terrorism mastermind Osama bin Laden warned in an audiotape aired Friday that the release of two French journalists abducted by militants hinges on France's military role in Afghanistan.

"We repeat the same message to you," said the speaker in an audio tape played on the Al-Jazeera satellite news network. "The release of your prisoners from the hands of our brethren depends on the withdrawal of your soldiers from our countries." FULL POST

Filed under: Osama bin Laden
January 21st, 2011
01:13 PM ET

Militants on motorcycles attack supply convoys

In three separate attacks, militants on motorcycles torched trucks in Pakistan on Friday that were taking fuel and supplies to NATO troops in Afghanistan, police said.

In all three attacks, militants cut off the moving trucks and opened fire, said police official Muhammad Ashraf. FULL POST

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Filed under: Pakistan • Troops
Pakistani Taliban leader targeted by U.S. has long, ruthless record
The U.S. says Qari Hussain Mehsud planned a suicide bombing that killed over 50 people in Quetta in September.
January 21st, 2011
11:16 AM ET

Pakistani Taliban leader targeted by U.S. has long, ruthless record

Pakistani Taliban leader Qari Hussain Mehsud, whose notoriety includes allegedly recruiting children as suicide bombers, is being targeted by the United States, the State Department announced Thursday.

"Widely considered to be the deadliest of all TTP's commanders, Hussain and the TTP (Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan) have taken responsibility for many lethal suicide bombings throughout Pakistan," the State Department said in a news release on Qari Hussain. The released cited a string of such attacks, including a blast last September that killed at least 54 people at a rally in Quetta and a car bombing the same month that killed at least 17 people - including four children - in Lakki Marwat.

Even among militant groups known for brutal violence, Qari Hussain Mehsud has a notorious reputation. He is alleged to have recruited dozens of Pakistani children as suicide bombers (a form of attack in which he reportedly is an expert trainer) and has boasted of personally beheading enemies. After the abortive Times Square bombing in New York last year, his voice was purportedly on the audio tape that claimed responsibility for the attack on behalf of the TTP. FULL POST

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Filed under: Pakistan • Taliban
January 21st, 2011
08:58 AM ET

Analysts: Inauguration delay could spark more violence

President Hamid Karzai's decision to postpone the inauguration of the Afghan parliament could spark ethnic divisions and more violence, analysts warned Friday.

Winners and losers of the September parliamentary elections have traded accusations of fraud and irregularities, and accused each other of providing incentives to the Taliban.

The election results saw a power shift in parliament - with reduced representation from the country's predominantly Pashtun south - Karzai's power base - to one that is more Tajik and Hazara heavy. FULL POST