World News Brief, Friday October 8

US apologises for missile strike that killed Pakistani soldiers but criticises military; Pakistani ISI pressuring Taliban to reject peace talks, say reports; US turns to Iraq to help repair its economy; Questions over Bangkok bombings – was it the Red Shirts?;

Top of the Agenda: US Apologizes to Pakistan for Missile Strike

The United States apologized for a missile strike (WashPost) last week that killed or wounded six Pakistani soldiers, acknowledging that two of its Afghanistan-based helicopters had entered Pakistani airspace and mistakenly fired at a military post. Statements from the US embassy in Islamabad and coalition force headquarters in Kabul agreed with Pakistan's assessment that its troops had fired shots at the helicopters to warn them they were on the Pakistani side of the border. The helicopters responded with missiles that destroyed the post, killing two Pakistanis and wounding four. Pakistan had demanded a statement of fault and an apology.

Meanwhile, US President Barack Obama sent a report to Congress criticizing the Pakistan military for avoiding engagements that would put it in direct conflict with Afghan Taliban or al-Qaeda forces in North Waziristan. The main Torkham border crossing between Pakistan and Afghanistan, shut in response to the earlier attack, remained blocked Wednesday. A driver was killed and at least fifty-five fuel tankers were set on fire in more Taliban attacks (al-Jazeera). US and NATO officials said that the Pakistani government's closing of the crucial border crossing might have made it easier for militants to attack (NYT) backed-up tanker trucks carrying fuel through Pakistan to Afghanistan. The Wall Street Journal reports Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence is allegedly pressuring Afghan Taliban members to shun US-backed peace talks aimed at ending the war in Afghanistan and has encouraged Afghan insurgents to step up attacks.


A Washington Post editorial says the United States should not accept a deal with Afghan President Hamid Karzai that gives the Taliban a share of power and possibly control over parts of the country, in exchange for an end to the war and the promise of a break with al-Qaeda.

On, Simon Henderson says Bob Woodward's latest book Obama's Wars makes it clear that there aren't many options for eliminating the terrorist threat emanating from Pakistan, given U.S. entanglements in Iraq and Afghanistan.


This CFR Crisis Guide, launched today, examines the root challenges for Pakistan, where a growing number of violent extremists have used its territory to spread violence in Pakistan and around the world.


PACIFIC RIM: Geithner Warns China on Yuan Policy

US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner sharply criticized China (WSJ) for maintaining what the United States considers a deliberately undervalued exchange rate aimed at helping China's export industries.

This Backgrounder examines the US-China economic imbalance.

Thailand: Four months after clashes in Thailand between anti-government demonstrators and troops in central Bangkok left ninety-one people dead, the Red Shirts are blamed for another bombing and reconciliation seems a long way off.



- US Encourages Businesses to Enter Iraq
- Uganda Wants Somali "No-Fly" Zone


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