Pakistan Today: An upsurge in activities of the extremist Hizbut Tahrir (HT) group is cause for worry for the Pakistani security forces. “The seriousness of the group’s outreach grabbed public attention after the arrest of Brigadier Ali Khan in May last year, along with four majors, for links with HT. Initial investigation revealed that the Abbottabad raid that killed Osama bin Laden infuriated the group’s army bloc, prompting a serious, formal objection to the top command regarding the forces’ subservience to US interests. Subsequent scrutiny uncovered HT’s expansion strategy and recruiting tactics. According to the findings, all the while the army has combated al Qaeda and TTP affiliates in the tribal agencies, HT has grown quietly in the working middle class, its tentacles spreading to the military and social intelligentsia.”
Press TV: Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik has called upon the US to end the drone strike campaign in the tribal areas. “‘The attacks are rendering Pakistan’s efforts to countering terrorism ineffective,’ the Pakistani minister said in an interview with a US-based television channel on Monday, the Pakistani television network Dawn News reported.
In response to a question about sending more troops to Pakistan’s northwestern tribal region of Waziristan, which borders Afghanistan, Malik said a military approach was not the solution to the problem of militancy in any region in the country.”
Analysis: Madiha Afzai writing for Foreign Policy: Pakistanis need to pay more attention to development and education in order to increase its’ security. “…Pakistan needs to invest in development, and in particular, in education. In fact, the long-term solution to rooting out radicalization and militancy in Pakistan lies in girls’ education, precisely the thing which threatens the Taliban. The development dividends of female education are clear: a great deal of empirical evidence from across the world demonstrates that investments in female education give rich benefits in terms of economic, educational, and health advancements for the entire population, not just women.”
New Straights Times: Afghanistan is not fated to collapse when the NATO-ISAF troops withdraw. “…it would be wrong to consign Afghanistan to self-destruction when foreign troops leave, probably at the end of 2014. Not all the money that came with them went to waste; many Afghans can lay claim to a better life. Most of them, including Kabul’s politicians and officials, object to the notion that their country will inevitably revert to civil war or Taliban rule. Too little credit is given to the sometimes ragged and often mercenary Afghan armed forces. In Faryab province, for example, they have taken the fight to the Taliban, which retaliated with a suicide bomb at a mosque in the provincial capital Maymana on Aidiladha. It is widely assumed that they will eventually desert. But with sufficient support, enough of them could remain at their posts to at least enable Kabul to negotiate peace and reconciliation once the outsiders have gone.”
Pakistan Today: The Iranian regime is expanding its military and intelligence influence in Afghanistan “Afghan officials believe that the aid by Imam Khumaini Aid Committee directly goes to those individuals who are committed to Iran and are celebrating the religious and national ceremony related to Iran.
The officials also believe that Iran is funding a number of media agencies in Afghanistan in a bid to preach the cultural and political targets of Iran in Afghanistan.
An Afghan official in presidential palace quoted by Wall Street Journal said that Iran has truely influenced a considerable number of Afghans in the country and can easily gather more than 20000 Afghans for any act, which is more than risky than suicide bombers coming from the neighboring Pakistan.”
Daily Excelsior: Pakistan has agreed to allow a team of National Investigation Agency officials to enter Pakistan to investigate “evidence collected against arrested LeT commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi and six others” involved in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks. A visit by a Pakistani team to India, in order to investigate for Pakistan’s own 26/11 investigation, will be conditional upon the India visit taking place successful.