World News Brief, Wednesday July 22

Deadliest month in Afghanistan since 2001 invasion; Hillary Clinton to attend ASEAN; three UN agencies banned from Somalia; Iraqi president visits United States; and more

Top of the Agenda: Upsurge in Violence in Afghanistan

The Taliban launched a string of suicide attacks (NYT) on government compounds in Paktia and Nangarhar provinces on Tuesday. At least eight people were killed in the violence.

At least two of the suicide attackers were dressed as women, covered by full burqas (Reuters).

Violence has swelled in recent weeks, making July the deadliest month for U.S. troops in Afghanistan since the 2001 invasion. 18 British soldiers have also been killed this month.

But NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer warned NATO allies on Monday against abandoning their mission in Afghanistan (BBC). He said such a move would devastate the region as a whole, especially Pakistan.

A recent Foreign Affairs article says the Obama administration’s military operation in Afghanistan should be accompanied with political efforts to persuade insurgents to stop fighting.

The Washington Post looks at the impact of the loss of poppy income for Afghanis, and how it could affect the upcoming presidential elections.

A CFR Backgrounder looks at efforts to restore Afghanistan's agriculture sector and weaken the country’s opium trade, which helps fund the Taliban.

PACIFIC RIM: Secretary Clinton to ASEAN Summit

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will attend a security summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Thailand on Wednesday. The Wall Street Journal says Clinton’s attendance indicates renewed U.S. interest in the region.

This CFR Backgrounder profiles ASEAN.

Japan: Japan’s cabinet on Monday approved Prime Minister Taro Aso’s proposal to dissolve parliament and hold a general election on August 30 (BBC). Public opinion polls show the opposition Democratic Party of Japan could beat Aso’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party.


-UN groups banned in parts of Somalia.
-Maliki visits United States.

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