Robert's Feed
Feb 16, 2010

Scenarios: Possible outcomes in Pakistan’s judicial row

By Robert Birsel

(Reuters) – A potentially destabilizing dispute has erupted in Pakistan between President Asif Ali Zardari and the judiciary over who has the power to appoint judges.

A Supreme Court panel on Saturday blocked an order from Zardari issued earlier that day appointing two judges, one to the Supreme Court and the other as chief justice of the high court in the city of Lahore.

Feb 15, 2010

Q+A: What is Pakistan’s latest judicial dispute about?

By Robert Birsel

(Reuters) – Pakistani lawyers boycotted courts on Monday in a protest against unpopular President Asif Ali Zardari, who is in a dispute with the Supreme Court over the appointment of judges.

On Saturday, a Supreme Court panel blocked an order from Zardari issued earlier that day appointing two judges, one to the Supreme Court and the other as chief justice of the high court in the city of Lahore.

Feb 10, 2010

Q+A: Is Pakistani Taliban leader Mehsud dead?

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik told reporters on Wednesday he had “credible information” that Pakistan Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud was dead but did not have confirmation.

A frenzy of rumors has spread this week that Mehsud had died after being wounded last month by a missile-firing U.S. drone aircraft. Mehsud became chief of the Pakistani Taliban, allied with the Afghan Taliban and fighting to bring down Pakistan’s U.S.-backed government, after former leader Baitullah Mehsud was killed by an unmanned drone in August. Mehsud is a tribal name and the two were not related.

Feb 1, 2010

Pakistan offers to train Afghan security forces

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan (Reuters) – Pakistan offered on Monday to train Afghanistan’s security forces with the dual aim of helping to secure a friendly neighbor over its western border while also watching old rival India over its eastern border.

The United States and Afghanistan’s other Western allies want Afghan forces to take over security responsibilities as a vital step toward the eventual withdrawal of foreign soldiers now battling an intensifying Taliban insurgency.

Jan 29, 2010

Cautious Pakistan’s Afghan influence seen limited

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Pakistan has shown support for Afghanistan’s invitation to the Taliban to take part in a peace council but the old Taliban ally has only limited influence over the militants, who many expect will reject the offer.

The Afghan government on Thursday invited the Taliban to a jirga, or traditional council, during an international conference in London as its Western allies worked out plans to try to end the war in Afghanistan.

Jan 22, 2010

Strong Afghan Taliban might talk: Pakistani analyst

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – The Taliban have spread across Afghanistan and are inflicting sharply higher casualties but they might be persuaded to negotiate, with Pakistani help, as they reach the height of their power, a Pakistani analyst has said.

The United States is sending an extra 30,000 soldiers to Afghanistan nine years after driving the Taliban from power but U.S. commanders realize they “cannot shoot their way to victory,” analyst Ahmed Rashid said in paper.

Jan 21, 2010

Q+A: What is the state of U.S.-Pakistani relations?

By Robert Birsel

(Reuters) – Defense Secretary Robert Gates made an unannounced trip to Pakistan on Thursday, hoping to deepen ties and persuade the nuclear-armed U.S. ally to root out all militants on its soil, including Afghan Taliban factions.

Here are some questions and answers about U.S.-Pakistani relations:

WHY IS PAKISTAN IMPORTANT FOR THE UNITED STATES?

Pakistani support is crucial for the United States as it strives to defeat al Qaeda and bring stability to Afghanistan. Pakistan has captured and handed over to the United States numerous al Qaeda members, including September 11 plotter Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Osama bin Laden is believed to be hiding somewhere along the lawless Afghan border.

Jan 16, 2010

Q+A: What is behind U.S. drone attacks in Pakistan?

By Robert Birsel

(Reuters) – A U.S. drone fired two missiles on Thursday at a compound in northwest Pakistan where Pakistani Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud was believed to have been, but it was not clear if he was among 12 militants killed, Pakistani officials said.

The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency operates the missile-firing Predator and Reaper drones. Here are some questions and answers about the strikes:

Jan 8, 2010

Q+A: What is behind U.S. drone attacks in Pakistan?

By Robert Birsel

(Reuters) – U.S. senators on Friday defended drone aircraft strikes in Pakistan, an issue likely to become more volatile if Washington intensifies the attacks to hunt down enemies after the bombing of CIA agents in Afghanistan. [nSGE6070AJ].

The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency operates the missile-firing Predator and Reaper drones. Here are some questions and answers about the strikes:

Dec 22, 2009

SCENARIOS: Pakistan’s latest political troubles

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Political tension is rising in nuclear-armed Pakistan with wrangles over old corruption charges against President Asif Ali Zardari, some top aides and several thousand others, most of them bureaucrats.

Opposition politicians have been calling for Zardari to resign since the Supreme Court on Wednesday struck down an amnesty that protected him and the others from charges.