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NightWatch 20100404

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For the Night of 4 April 2010

South Korea: Divers discovered a single body in the galley of the sunken patrol ship off the west coast. The government has terminated rescue operations. It announced no news about the cause of the loss.

North Korea: Update. The train reported to be possibly carrying Kim Chong-il to China proved to be a cargo train, Reuters reported. Kim hosted a dinner party for the new Chinese Ambassador to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea on 4 April.

Pakistan: For the record. President Zardari is to give a speech to a joint session of Parliament on 5 April about the constitutional reform package, which his Pakistan People's Party supports. The National Assembly is to begin the process of amending the Constitution on the 5th.

Afghanistan: President Karzai and General McChrystal met tribal leaders in Kandahar on 4 April build support for the announced military operation in Kandahar, The Associated Press reported. Karzai told the leaders that he understood many are fearful of the coming offensive, but that military action will be designed to bring security and that he is willing to discuss their concerns.

In a speech to some 1,500 tribal elders, the President said that he would prevent the NATO offensive if it does not have the support of local people, Reuters reported. He also said Afghanistan will be fixed when its people trust that the country's government is not a puppet and that its president is independent, and that "foreigners" should not be allowed to meddle in the work of the Afghan government. General Chrystal was present at the meeting, but did not speak.

Comment: Today's comments were Karzai's second statement in three days to snub his patrons in order to show he and his government are not puppets of the US. He is particularly defiant about US criticism of his government's corruption. He accused the US of meddling, of turning support into an "occupation," and threatened to join the Taliban, for whom he once worked.

After his criticism of the US last Thursday, on Friday he phoned Secretary of State Clinton and issued a clarification that took the edge off, until today's comments. His behavior towards the US has become erratic and marked by a conviction that the US conspires to remove him.

Without US and NATO forces, the regime would fall. Karzai knows this, but any hope of outreach to anti-government groups requires Karzai to stand up to the US and show his independence, whether genuine or feigned.

Afghanistan-Germany: Soldiers from the German Provincial Reconstruction Team mistakenly killed six Afghan National Army soldiers in Konduz Province, according to the Afghanistan Defense Ministry. The soldiers were carrying food to troops in Khakani village of Char Dara District when German soldiers shot them by mistake on the night of 2 April. The Afghans were traveling in unmarked vehicles and refused to stop when challenged repeatedly, according to the BBC account.

This incident occurred the day after three German soldiers were killed and eight wounded in a complex attack by up to 150 Taliban fighters, according to The Associated Press.

Comment: Char Dara District, most of whose residents are Pashtuns, is the center of the insurgency in Konduz Province. The German contingent of about 4,400 soldiers is the third largest in Afghanistan, after those of the US and the UK.IN February the German government approved an increase to 5,350 troops.

The Germans have executed at least three major anti-Taliban operations in Char Dara in the past two years, all of which have failed. There have been repeated friendly fire incidents in this province, including the air strike last September that killed more than 140 people. The Germans seem to be struggling in Konduz.

Iraq: At least 41 people were killed and 237 wounded Sunday in three car bombings targeting the Iranian and German embassies and the Egyptian Consulate in a span of 30 minutes. Many of those killed Sunday were motorists and pedestrians near the consular buildings in the capital's central governmental hub and an embassy row in west Baghdad. No diplomats were reported wounded or killed.

None of the compounds were breached, but the force of the blast by the Egyptian Consulate tore down a wall. The deadliest attack was at the Iranian Embassy in central Baghdad, surrounded by key government institutions, where 23 were killed. Eighteen died in the twin bombings at the German and Egyptian missions, located in Baghdad's Mansour district.

Ukraine: For the record. President Viktor Yanukovych has disbanded the inter-agency commission for preparing Ukraine to join NATO, BBC reported 3 April. Yanukovych also disbanded the National Center for Euro-Atlantic Integration of Ukraine and dismissed its head.

Special Administrative Notice

Dear Readers, NightWatch has found a new home and is moving to Kforce Government Solutions, Inc. (KGS). Beginning the night of 5 April 2010, you will receive NightWatch from KGSNightwatch. KGS is a leading provider of high quality services to business and government, now including NightWatch. All current subscribers will continue to receive the daily news commentary as before, but with the logos of KGS and AFCEA at the bottom.

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End of NightWatch for 4 April.

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