Top of the Morning: Taliban Attacks in Kabul After Obama Visit; Coup Fights Counter-Coup in Mali

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

Taliban Attacks in Kabul Kill 7, Just Hours After Obama’s Surprise Visit

President Obama made a secret visit to Afghanistan and delivered remarks for a live national TV audience in the United States for the one year anniversary of Bin Laden’s death. While in Kabul he signed an agreement between the USA and Afghanistan on the status and role of American military forces in Afghanistan. It only took the Taliban 3 hours to respond in kind: “Taliban insurgents attacked a compound housing foreigners in the Afghan capital Wednesday, killing seven people, hours after President Barack Obama made a surprise visit and signed a pact governing the U.S. presence after combat troops withdraw…The violence began around 6 a.m. in eastern Kabul with a series of explosions and gunfire ringing out from the privately guarded compound known as Green Village that houses hundreds of international contractors.” ( WaPo

Top US Officials Escort Chinese Rights Activist to Beijing Hospital

The stakes are raised now that Hillary Clinton has arrived in China for a long planned meeting with counterparts on security issues, like North Korea. L’affair Chen will overshadow everything, and this sounds pretty dramatic, “Sources tell ABC News that U.S. Ambassador Gary Locke, Legal Advisor to the Department of State Harold Koh and Assistant Secretary of State for Asian and Pacific Asian Affairs Kurt Campbell escorted Chen to the hospital where was reunited with his wife, Yuan Weijing, and their two small children. It is not known how long Chen will remain at the hospital. U.S. officials will continue to be able to meet with him while he is there. China is demanding an apology from the U.S. for allowing Chen to enter the embassy. U.S. officials continued to decline to comment on his whereabouts until Wednesday, but in a statement the Chinese Foreign Ministry has said that Chen spent six days at the U.S. embassy and left of his own volition…Dissident sources emphasize that Chen does not want to leave China for the U.S. and never sought asylum. Hu Jia, a friend and fellow activist, told ABC News the Chen firmly believes that staying in China is critical to his fight against corruption and injustice. Chen only entered the U.S. Embassy, Hu said, because his supporters believed the police were aware he was in Beijing and they could no longer keep him safe.” (ABC

Suicide Bomber Kills Somali MPs

Al Shabaab strikes again. “Suicide bomber killed three Somali lawmakers on Tuesday at a hotel in the central town of Dusamareb, where legislators visiting from the capital were meeting, local authorities said. Al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab rebels claimed responsibility for the attack, and also for a car bomb in the heart of the capital Mogadishu on Tuesday that killed one man. While suicide bombers sent by al Shabaab militants have struck government targets and African Union troops in the capital Mogadishu often in recent years, such attacks are rare in central Galgadud region. The delegation of lawmakers was in Dusamareb to discuss how to form local administrations in the central region of Galgadud, as part of political reforms meant to bring a string of transition governments to an end with elections in August.” (AlertNet

Coup Fights Counter-Coup in Mali

A counter-coup attempt was apparently repelled in Bamako on Tuesday. “Soldiers from Mali’s ruling junta foiled a counter-coup bid by presidential guardsmen on Tuesday, overrunning their base in the capital and fending off their assaults on the airport and the state broadcaster…Members of the red beret presidential guard unit attacked important sites in and around Bamako late on Monday and into Tuesday in an apparent attempt to unseat the junta that has been in power since it ousted President Amadou Toumani Toure. At least 27 people have been killed in the fighting, which centered on the state television broadcaster, the airport and the main camps of the rival military factions, according to medical sources and Reuters witnesses. Fighting died down Tuesday afternoon after the junta took control of the presidential guard barracks in Bamako.” (Reuters