World News Brief, Thursday September 3

Taliban assassinate Afghan security chief; Experts debate new US Af-Pak strategy; Iran ready to negotiate on nuclear programme; Gaddafi celebrates in extravagent style; Fiji expelled from Commonwealth; and more

Top of the Agenda: Assassination in Afghanistan

A suicide bomber assassinated Afghanistan's second-ranking official (Quqnoos) in the country’s intelligence service, and killed at least twenty-four others, in Mehterlam, the capital of the eastern province of Laghman. A spokesperson for the Taliban said the group had long targeted Abdullah Laghmani (NYT), the deputy director of the National Directorate for Security, claiming Laghmani had illegally detained and jailed many people.

An ethnic Tajik heads the National Directorate for Security. The assassination of Laghmani, a Pashtun, could enflame ethnic tensions that are already running high due to the electoral battle between Pashtun incumbent President Hamid Karzai and opposition candidate Abdullah Abdullah, a Tajik, the Associated Press notes.


The Washington Post says insurgents in Afghanistan have improved tactically by finding points of weakness in the U.S. military strategy.

On FP Passport, John Nagl, Christian Brose, Peter Feaver, and David Rothkopf debate George Will's Washington Post column calling for a withdrawal from Afghanistan.

In TIME, Brookings's Michael O'Hanlon says fighting the war from "offshore," as Will suggested in his column, would lead to the collapse of the Afghan state. CFR's Stephen Biddle says relying heavily on drone attacks is a flawed strategy, as they can easily be shot down by even a "third-rate air force."

A CFR Daily Analysis Brief compares expert opinions on Gen. Stanley McChrystal's review of U.S. strategy in Afghanistan.

The New York Times reports that civilian contractors working for the Pentagon in Afghanistan outnumber uniformed troops, and says Afghanistan has the highest ratio of contractors to military personnel of any war in U.S. history.

A CFR Backgrounder looks at the Taliban in Afghanistan.


PACIFIC RIM: Abu Sayyaf Suspect Arrested

Hajer Sailani, a suspected member of the Abu Sayyaf militant group, was arrested (Philippine Star) in the kidnappings of at least four Americans and dozens of Filipinos in 2000 and 2001. Philippine police last week arrested another alleged Abu Sayyaf member, accused of robbery and murder.

CFR profiles Abu Sayyaf in this Backgrounder.

Fiji: Fiji will likely be suspended from the Commonwealth group of nations over its refusal to agree to hold elections in 2010 (Fiji Times). Instead, Fiji's army commander says the country will hold polls sometime before September 2014.



Iran calls for negotiations.
Bloodiest month for Iraq.
Gaddafi celebrates coup anniversary.

This is an excerpt of the Daily News Brief. The full version is available on