To save a life
Malala Yousafzai, the 14-year-old Pakistani girl who was shot by the Taliban last week, was flown on Monday to the United Kingdom for specialist medical treatment, which will be paid for by the Pakistani government (NYT, Reuters, ET,Dawn, BBC, Guardian). Pakistan's Interior Minister Rehman Malik on Monday denied rumors that the Army would launch a campaign to root out militants from North Waziristan in the wake of Malala's shooting (Dawn).
Tribal elders in Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Regions (FATA) condemned the attacks on Malala at a grand tribal Jirga on Sunday, and pledged their support of the government in the fight against militants as well as calling on the state to provide more development funds to the conflict-ridden region (ET). Meanwhile, thousands rallied in Karachi on Sunday in support of Malala, at a demonstration organized by the opposition political party Muttahida Qaumi Movement (AP).
A 17-year-old Pakistani Christian boy is in hiding after neighbors ransacked his family's home in Karachi last Wednesday accusing him of sending insulting text messages about the Prophet Mohammad, and police have opened a blasphemy case against him (AP, NYT).
A suicide bomber detonated his vehicle on Saturday at a crowded weapons bazaar in Darra Adam Khel, a town in Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province located south of the provincial capital of Peshawar, killing at least 16 people and wounding 15 others (NYT, ET/Reuters, AP). On Sunday night, five security officers, including a Superintendent of Police Khurshid Khan, were killed when Taliban militants attacked a police checkpoint on a main road outside of Peshawar (ET, Dawn).
Three attacks on Saturday left at least nine dead across Afghanistan; in the deadliest, a suicide bomber on a motorbike detonated his explosives at an intelligence office in Kandahar Province, killing six people including four intelligence officers, one coalition service member and one civilian working with NATO (AP). And Afghan counternarcotics officers on Sunday burned 24 tons of drugs, drug-making chemicals, and alcohol confiscated in and around the capital city of Kabul over the past 9 months (AP).
Afghan officials on Monday said that three children had died Sunday in a NATO airstrike targeting Taliban militants planting mines in the southern province of Helmand (AFP). A hearing date has been set for November 5 for Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, who is accused of murdering at least 16 Afghan civilians in March, with witnesses expected to testify via video feed from Kandahar Air Field (AP). And five of the nine British Marines arrested over the past several days on suspicion of murder while fighting in Afghanistan were officially charged on Sunday with one count of murder following an "engagement with an insurgent" (AP, Guardian, BBC). Authorities say no Afghan civilians were involved in the incident, but Britain's rules of engagement only allow soldiers to shoot during battle or in anticipation of an imminent attack.
Afghanistan's Mining Minister Wahidullah Shahrani released around 200 previously undisclosed mining contracts on Sunday, in a move he packaged as an effort to increase transparency and discourage corruption, saying "from now on every contract will be made public" (NYT, Reuters). But the move also comes as Shahrani prepares to resubmit a massive mining law that had been blocked by President Hamid Karzai and his cabinet, and he used a 2006 contract involving the president's brother Mahmoud Karzai as an example on Sunday of the "financial, legal, and technical flaws" in some of the mining agreements.
Pepsi bottle boys
As NATO trucks coming to and from Pakistan compete with cars filled to the brim with families, and other trucks transporting livestock, young boys scramble along one of Afghanistan's most dangerous mountain roads to guide traffic and help prevent fatal accidents (NYT). Nicknamed the "Pepsi bottle boys" because they use flattened soda bottles to direct traffic, some of these children are their families only breadwinners, and make fluctuating wages depending on the traffic levels and the value of the bills sporadically tossed out of truck windows to the boys waiting below.
-- Jennifer Rowland