Katharine's Feed
Apr 18, 2014

Pakistani police arrest 6 suspected militant assassins

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Pakistani police said on Friday they have arrested six men suspected of being behind a string of high-profile killings and assassination attempts linked to a banned sectarian group.

The arrests are a rare success for the police, who have a notoriously low detection and prosecution rate for such crimes.

Apr 16, 2014

Pakistan publishes list to embarrass tax cheats into paying up

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Desperate Pakistani tax authorities are publicly shaming defaulters by publishing their tax details in a directory for the first time, officials said on Wednesday.

The cash-strapped authorities find it almost impossible to chase down the large number of defaulters – many of them powerful politicians – through the country’s moribund courts.

Apr 14, 2014

Anxious China emerges as diplomatic player in Afghanistan

KABUL/BEIJING (Reuters) – China is quietly preparing for a more robust role in the future of Afghanistan, concerned that the withdrawal of NATO troops will leave a hotbed of militancy on its doorstep.

The two countries are connected by a narrow mountainous corridor that is almost impassable, which meant Beijing could focus on mining and mineral deals in Afghanistan as Western forces battled Taliban insurgents. But officials say that China is emerging as a key strategic player.

Apr 11, 2014

Rivalry between Pakistani Taliban factions erupts in violence

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) – A struggle for power between Pakistani Taliban commanders divided over whether to talk to the government has erupted in violence with dozens of fighters killed along the Afghan border over recent weeks, Pakistani security officials said.

It is unclear if the fighting will weaken an insurgency aimed at bringing down the nuclear-armed Pakistani state but the security agencies will be hoping to turn the bloodshed to their advantage.

Mar 30, 2014

Afghan woman bids for power to halt slide in rights

KABUL/KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (Reuters) – The deeply conservative, all-male crowd at Afghanistan’s Kandahar stadium stared in disbelief as the small woman in a modest black headscarf stood up and reached for the microphone.

Habiba Sarabi’s speech in the southern Taliban heartland city lasted only a few minutes, thanking the crowd for supporting her candidacy in next month’s presidential election. It was met by a few jeers, wolf whistles and, after a stunned silence, scattered clapping.

Mar 27, 2014

Exclusive: Pakistan Taliban agrees to ceasefire to help Afghan allies

KABUL (Reuters) – The Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan have secretly agreed to focus on carrying out operations in Afghanistan, with Pakistani militants announcing a ceasefire with their government in order to preserve militant bases used to stage cross-border attacks.

The collaboration between the two Talibans, revealed to Reuters by militant chiefs and security officials in the region, increases the risk that violence will escalate further in a crucial year for Afghanistan.

Mar 20, 2014

Afghan presidential hopeful Abdullah warns supporters over fraud

CHARIKAR, Afghanistan (Reuters) – Grizzled Afghan mujahideen commanders erupted into yells as their presidential candidate, a dapper man in a scarf and neatly trimmed beard, stepped towards the microphone.

“Victory awaits us!” Abdullah Abdullah, a senior aide to an anti-Taliban militia leader during the civil war, told a campaign rally on Thursday.

Mar 16, 2014

Former Afghan defense minister drops out of presidential race

KABUL (Reuters) – Afghanistan’s former defense minister became on Sunday the second candidate to drop out of a presidential election race, with his departure possibly helping consolidate support for a candidate favored by outgoing President Hamid Karzai.

Rahim Wardak was not considered a front runner in the April 5 election and he did not throw his support behind any other candidate.

Mar 14, 2014

Kabul irked at haphazard release of Afghan Taliban prisoners in Pakistan

KABUL (Reuters) – Afghanistan’s High Peace Council, set up to oversee peace talks with the Taliban, has had no formal meetings with any of the 46 Taliban prisoners released in neighboring Pakistan, an official said on Friday, despite pleas to be present when they are freed.

Pakistan began releasing small batches of Afghan Taliban prisoners in 2012 at the request of Kabul which wants to use the men as interlocutors to pursue peace talks with the insurgents, who are ramping up attacks as NATO troops withdraw and the country prepares for April 5 elections.

Mar 11, 2014

Swedish journalist shot dead in central Kabul

KABUL, March 11 (Reuters) – A gunman shot dead a Swedish
journalist outside a restaurant in a brazen attack in one
Kabul’s most heavily guarded districts on Tuesday, police and
embassy sources said, underscoring growing insecurity
threatening next month’s elections.

The Swedish Embassy identified the victim as Nils Horner,
51, who worked for Swedish Radio and had dual British-Swedish
nationality.

    • About Katharine

      "Katharine Houreld has lived in Liberia, Nigeria and Kenya and spent nine years reporting from Africa before joining Reuters as the Afghanistan/Pakistan correspondent in 2012."
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