Nato ‘prevents Taleban advance’

By Alastair Leithead
BBC News, Kabul

Militants in Pakistani tribal area bordering Afghanistan (file photo)

The Taleban have been fighting to regain control of district headquarters

Taleban fighters have been prevented from taking over a small Afghan town centre close to Pakistan’s border, Nato and Afghan government officials say.

Nato forces said they were called in to help Afghan national police in Spera in the south-eastern province of Khost.

This was after they were attacked by gunfire and rocket-propelled grenades.

Khost’s governor said 50 to 70 fighters had been killed; Nato said the number was in double figures. There is no independent verification.

Border tension

Both Nato’s International Security

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Spy agency confusion in Pakistan

By M Ilyas Khan
BBC News, Karachi

Taleban fighter in Afghanistan
The ISI is accused of supporting Taleban fighters in Afghanistan

Pakistan’s government says it will clarify why it reversed a move to put the most powerful intelligence agency, the ISI, under civilian control.

On Saturday night it said the ISI would be brought under the control of the Interior Ministry.

But the decision was revoked within hours, apparently following intervention from the army.

Western powers believe the ISI has rogue elements helping al-Qaeda and Taleban militants in Afghanistan.

It is also criticised by Pakistani politicians for seeking to monopolise the country’s national

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Afghanistan’s future is female (by Conor Foley)

On the ground, small but significant networks are pressing for legislative reform, despite western intervention and state politics.

I met Zakia in the restaurant of the UN compound in Kabul, partly because it was convenient and partly because there are still not that many public places for a western man to sit and talk to an Afghan woman alone.

Zakia (not her real name) is a former director of an Afghan non-governmental organisation (NGO) the Humanitarian Assistance for Women and Children in Afghanistan (HAWCA), established in January 1999. It started as a simple humanitarian assistance group, helping vulnerable …

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