Sunday, August 14, 2011

Taliban striking at will as Obama's exit strategy commences; Pakistan gave China access to US Helicopter

From the AP:
Six suicide bombers attacked a governor's security meeting in one of Afghanistan's most secure provinces, killing 22 people and driving home the point that the Taliban is able to strike at will virtually anywhere in the country...

The bold daylight assault in Charikar follows a similar attack by suicide bombers at a major Kabul hotel in June, and the downing of a U.S. helicopter full of U.S. special operations troops only 35 miles away from Kabul. The attacks in and close to the capital raise more questions about Afghanistan's ability to defend itself as the U.S.-led coalition hands more of the country over to its struggling forces.
Similar attacks occurred in Pakistan on Sunday:
A bomb attached to a timer ripped through a two-story hotel in Pakistan's southwestern Baluchistan province Sunday, reducing the building to rubble and killing 12 people... Elsewhere in Baluchistan, two gunmen riding a motorcycle killed a local journalist in the city of Khuzdar... Also Sunday, suspected militants fired rockets at a paramilitary base in northwestern Pakistan..., killing three soldiers and wounding 23 others...

Many analysts believe Pakistan is reluctant to target Afghan Taliban militants with whom it has historic ties and who could be useful allies in Afghanistan after foreign troops withdraw...
And, in a related development: Pakistan reportedly gave China access to the top-secret stealth helicopter that crashed during the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden, despite explicit CIA requests not to.

“The US now has information that Pakistan, particularly the ISI [the Pakistani spy agency], gave access to the Chinese military to the downed helicopter in Abbottabad,” a US intelligence official was quoted as saying.

Pakistan reportedly allowed Chinese intelligence officials to take photographs of the helicopter and take samples of its special “skin” that allowed the aircraft to evade Pakistani air defenses.