Top of the Morning: Afghan “Fighting Season” Kicks Off, UN Monitors Arrive in Syria, Guinea Bissau Coup Updates

Top stories from the Development and Aid World News Service–DAWNS Digest. 

Kabul Quiet after 18 Hour Gun Battle

There were a series of attacks on high profile targets in Kabul and in outer provinces starting on Sunday. A Taliban spokesman proclaimed this the start of their seasonal offensive. It literally kicked off with a bang, and fighting continued until Monday morning. “A militant arrested in the attacks on the Afghan capital and three other cities has confessed that the 18-hour assault was carried out by the Haqqani network, a lethal group of fighters with ties to the Taliban and al-Qaida, a top Afghan security official said Monday. Thirty-six insurgents were killed during the brazen attacks that also claimed the lives of eight policemen and three civilians, said Interior Minister Besmillah Mohammadi. Though the death toll was much lower than other attacks, the dramatic assault on multiple targets showed that militants are far from beaten and can still penetrate Afghan security — even in the heart of the capital — after 10 years of war. The attack also underscored the security challenge facing government forces as U.S. and NATO troops draw down and prepare to leave by the end of 2014. It was the most widespread assault in the Afghan capital since an attack on the U.S. Embassy and NATO headquarters last September — also blamed on the Haqqani network, which commands the loyalties of an estimated 10,000 fighters considered one of the most serious threats to NATO in Afghanistan.” (AP

UN Monitors Monitors Arrive in Syria After Security Council Vote

It took 13 months and several failed attempts, but the Security Council passed the first Syria resolution since the uprising began. The resolution calls for the deployment of a small monitoring mission (under 30) to set the stage for a larger monitoring monitoring mission. The first monitors are now in the ground. “Six United Nations observers arrived in the capital of Syria on Sunday night to begin monitoring a cease-fire even as violence continued in parts of the country, further fraying the peace plan. ‘They’ve arrived and they will start work tomorrow morning,’ Kieran Dwyer, a spokesman for the U.N. peacekeeping department, told Agence France-Presse news agency. The monitors are part of an advance team whose task is to ensure the implementation of a six-point peace plan designed to end fighting and a brutal government crackdown in Syria’s 13-month uprising. ‘Within the next few days, they will be augmented by up to 25 to 30 as soon as possible from missions in the region,’ said Ahmad Fawzi, spokesman for U.N. special envoy Kofi Annan, who negotiated the peace plan.” (LAT

Guinea Bissau Junta Strikes Interim Plan

The military junta met with national political parties on Sunday to reach a solution after Friday’s coup. (AP The main political party rejected the idea of forming a “national unity” transitional government. (Al Jazeera Meanwhile, the junta and opposition parties agreed to establishing a transitional body to run the country. “The decision was reached at a meeting on Sunday between the coup leaders and the leaders of 22 of the 35 parties that had made up the opposition to the government that was toppled last Thursday. The size and composition of the council and the length of its mandate will be determined at a meeting on Monday between the political parties, which will then take their proposals to the junta, Fernando Vaz, a spokesman for the opposition parties, said on Sunday.” (Al Jazeera