The South Asia Channel

India points to Pakistan as threats spark mass exodus of migrants

Sectarian threats Indian Home Secretary R. K. Singh said Saturday night that the threats of attacks and doctored images of dead bodies sent to thousands of northeastern Indian migrants living in other parts of the country had originated in Pakistan (NYT, AP, The News). The graphic images began circulating along with text messages and other ...

Manjunath Kiran/AFP/GettyImages
Manjunath Kiran/AFP/GettyImages

Sectarian threats

Indian Home Secretary R. K. Singh said Saturday night that the threats of attacks and doctored images of dead bodies sent to thousands of northeastern Indian migrants living in other parts of the country had originated in Pakistan (NYT, AP, The News). The graphic images began circulating along with text messages and other communications on Wednesday, warning that Muslims were planning to attack non-Muslim northeastern migrants in revenge for deaths that have occurred during an ongoing land dispute between Bengali Muslims and the indigenous Bodo tribe in the northeastern Indian state of Assam.

Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik requested that India provide proof that the threats and images had originated in Pakistan, as tens of thousands of northeastern Indian migrants fled the cities of Bangalore and Pune to head home after receiving or hearing about the threatening messages (BBC, Reuters, ET).

A Pakistani police officer said Monday that authorities in a poor suburb of Islamabad had arrested a mentally disabled 11-year-old Christian Pakistani girl after her neighbors accused her of violating the country’s strict blasphemy laws (AP, BBC). Accused of burning religious papers, the young girl has been held for the past two weeks and her parents have also been taken into protective custody, as more than 600 Christians reportedly fled the town.

A U.S. drone strike on the remote Shwedar village of North Waziristan on Saturday killed at least five suspected militants loyal to militant commander Hafiz Gul Bahadur, who has ties with the Pakistan-based Haqqani Network (The News, AP, ET). Two more drone strikes in the Mana area of North Waziristan on Sunday killed seven and three suspected militants respectively (AP, Dawn). Meanwhile, a Pakistani airstrike on the Orakzai and Khyber agencies on Saturday killed at least eight suspected militants and destroyed two imsurgent hideouts (ET). And a girls’ school in Dab Kot, South Waziristan was blown up early Monday morning, destroying the only functional higher secondary school in the area (ET).

A new CNN piece by New America Foundation’s Peter Bergen questions the validity of the concerns raised in a recent advertisement attacking President Barack Obama for deliberately leaking national security secrets for political gain (CNN).

Inside job

Two Afghan policemen shot and killed a U.S. soldier on Sunday in the southern Afghan province of Kandahar in the latest of a series of "insider attacks" (AP, AFP). Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, landed in Kabul on Monday to meet with Western and Afghan officials on the recent spate of attacks by Afghan security forces on NATO troops. New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key said on Monday that his country will likely begin the withdrawal of its 145 troops from Afghanistan next April, about six months earlier than planned, after three more of its troops were killed in the northern province of Bamiyan, long thought to have been one of the country’s safest regions (Reuters).

A coalition airstrike on Saturday killed more than 20 Taliban militants in the northeastern Afghan province of Kunar as they gathered to conduct a public execution (NYT). Other reports put the death toll as high as 50. Taliban militants on Sunday continued their attempts to eliminate top Afghan officials, killing three relatives of a district police chief in Helmand Province, and ambushing a convoy of vehicles in Logar Province carrying the governor, police chief, and head of the provincial council, who all escaped unharmed (NYT). And a bomb blast at a market in the western Afghan province of Herat on Saturday killed four people and wounded 12 (AP). 

As the value of the Iranian rial spirals downward due to American and European sanctions, many Iranians are packing up their cash and taking it to Afghanistan, where an unregulated currency market allows them to trade their devalued rials for dollars, bypassing U.S.-instigated sanctions in circumstances of America’s own creation (NYT).

Goat wars

Cross-border fighting between militants and security forces on both the Afghan and Pakistani sides of the Durand Line has become a serious issue of contention between the governments of the two countries. But last Friday, militants from Afghanistan crossed the border not to attack Pakistani security forces, but to steal some 600 goats from villagers in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Chitral District (The News).

Jennifer Rowland

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