Today's AfPak Round-up:
Taliban inquiry into civilian deaths gains interest from UN, NATO. International officials say the Taliban's proposal for a joint investigation into civilian deaths could improve their contacts with the Taliban and perhaps lead to a reduction in violence. But they are also worried such a move would lend the Taliban legitimacy on a subject where, as a recent NATO military statement notes, "the Taliban clearly realize their vulnerability." Two-thirds of civilian casualties in Afghanistan this year were caused by Taliban attacks. [Guardian]VIDEO: Are Afghan forces ready to take over for contractors? ABC News casts doubt on Afghan President Hamid Karzai's claim Afghan forces can carry out the responsibilities of private security firms, which Karzai has directed to leave the country by the end of the year. According to ABC, up to 98% of Afghan forces have never driven a vehicle and up to 95% are illiterate.
Targeting bombers no longer counter-IED team's top priority. Instead, Task Force Paladin is sharing its information with Afghan authorities and local elders in the hope that they will bring bombmakers to justice. Proponents of the approach, inspired by former force commander Gen. Stanley McChrystal, say it helps them build ties with Afghan civilians. But many troops are frustrated, noting that Afghans only report a small portion of IED incidents, and that even this fraction is growing smaller. [Wired]
Petraeus: Burger King may come back to Kandahar. Petraeus's predecessor, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, banned fast food chains from operating at Kandahar military air base earlier this year, a move that has proved unpopular with troops. [Guardian]