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Self-Immolation Remains Common Among Afghan Women

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Today's AfPak round-up:

Self-immolation remains common among Afghan women. Observers disagree over why Afghan women attempt to take their own lives by setting themselves on fire—some blame Iranian TV and film for romanticizing the practice, while others say its victims are attempting to escape from a society that relentlessly oppresses them. TIME magazine's Abigail Hauslohner writes about victims of self-immolation and why Afghan leaders seem so reluctant to look at its causes. [TIME]

Ex-Fallujah commander nominated to succeed Petraeus at CENTCOM. Gen. James Mattis, a counterinsurgency expert who led the U.S.'s 2004 offensive in Fallujah and the Pentagon's nominee to head its operations in the Middle East and part of Southeast Asia, was reprimanded by the Pentagon in 2005 after telling a crowd in San Diego that "You know, it's a hell of a hoot... It's fun to shoot some people." He also attracted public attention after dismissing several charges against U.S. soldiers found to have killed 24 civilians after invading their homes in the Iraqi city of Haditha. [McClatchy]

NATO blames "miscommunication" from Afghan troops for friendly fire incident. According to an internal investigation by NATO, the six Afghan troops killed by a coalition airstrike told international forces they were operating in one area of Ghazni province when they were in fact working in another area of the province. Thus, when a NATO helicopter patrol noticed people digging beside a road where insurgents often planted makeshift mines, an airstrike was approved because NATO assumed the soldiers were, as they had reported, operating elsewhere. [AP]

VIDEO: Pakistan declares victory in Kurram region.

But locals believe the Taliban still controls much of the border region, which is believed to have once housed Osama Bin Laden. [Reuters]