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Ex-Afghan Intel Chief Blasts Karzai's Peace Plan

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Round-up of today's AfPak news.

Ex-Afghan intelligence chief blasts Karzai's peace plan. Amrullah Saleh, who left his post last Sunday, said negotiations with the Taliban would "disgrace" Afghanistan. Saleh denied he was fired by the Afghan president, saying instead that he decided to resign in part because of the growing the gap between his views and Karzai's on the Afghan peace process. Western observers believe the abrupt departure of Saleh and Interior Minister Hanif Atmar indicates that the Afghan president is prone to making impulsive decisions that harm the interests of his allies and himself. [Reuters, NYT]

Somali Al Shahab militants trained in Afghanistan. Jihadists trained in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq have "taken control" of one of Somalia's most powerful militias, and are using their influence to deepen Al Shahab's ties to Al Qaeda. Washington considers Somalia the second greatest terrorism threat to the United States after Afghanistan and Pakistan. [Washington Post]

Holbrooke wants Afghan reconciliation plan "up and running" by July 20. U.S. Special Envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke called on Kabul to begin implementing its plan to attract low-level militants away from the Taliban in time for the opening of an international summit on Afghanistan, scheduled to take place in Kabul on July 20. Donors have pledged around $200 million to support the plan. [AFP]

Afghan troops fear for lives after foreign pullout. Though NATO officials say the Afghan army will soon be able to take on the Taliban alone, Afghan troops say they don't have the resources they need to take on insurgents, such as "planes, helicopters, tanks, heavy weapons and night vision goggles." If foreign troops were to leave now, "the Taliban will capture us in five minutes," said one Kandahar-based soldier. [Reuters]