The South Asia Channel

Pakistan’s National Database and Registration Authority Helped Terrorists; 17 Dead in ANA Helicopter Crash; India Backs Away From EU Trade Negotiations

Pakistan National Database and Registration Authority helped terrorists Pakistan’s National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA), the organization tasked with issuing national identity cards has helped terrorists according to an Inter-Services Intelligence report obtained by Pakistan’s Express Tribune newspaper (ET). The report listed 40 officials accused of issuing fake ID cards including officials currently serving in ...

An Afghan refugee gets her fingerprints scanned while renewing her refugee identification documents at the National Database and Registration Authority office in Islamabad on September 25, 2010. Some 4.5 million Afghans have returned to their homeland since 2002, after US-led forces brought down the Taliban government for sheltering Al-Qaeda leaders following the September 11 attacks in the United States.   AFP PHOTO/Farooq NAEEM (Photo credit should read FAROOQ NAEEM/AFP/Getty Images)
An Afghan refugee gets her fingerprints scanned while renewing her refugee identification documents at the National Database and Registration Authority office in Islamabad on September 25, 2010. Some 4.5 million Afghans have returned to their homeland since 2002, after US-led forces brought down the Taliban government for sheltering Al-Qaeda leaders following the September 11 attacks in the United States. AFP PHOTO/Farooq NAEEM (Photo credit should read FAROOQ NAEEM/AFP/Getty Images)

Pakistan

National Database and Registration Authority helped terrorists

Pakistan’s National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA), the organization tasked with issuing national identity cards has helped terrorists according to an Inter-Services Intelligence report obtained by Pakistan’s Express Tribune newspaper (ET). The report listed 40 officials accused of issuing fake ID cards including officials currently serving in top positions. Among those who the report says had fake IDs was Adnan Shukrijumah, an American, who was a leader of al Qaeda and managed the group’s attack plotting against the United States. According to Pakistani Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, 26 fake IDs were issued by NADRA in 2011, 493 in 2012, 6,000 in 2013, 22,000 in 2014, and 64,000 this year.

Push for TAPI pipeline

Pakistan and Turkmenistan are currently in talks to “take a giant leap forward” in the promotion of the Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India Pipeline (TAPI) according to a report in Pakistan’s Express Tribune on Thursday (ET, Pajhwok). A senior government official told the Tribune: “During the dialogue in Turkmenistan, progress on the service contract being negotiated between the Turkmen government and multinational companies will be reviewed and the way forward will be discussed to build the pipeline.” Talks with Chinese and Russian companies regarding the project are also underway.

TTP claims killing of judge

On Thursday, the Pakistani Taliban claimed the killing of a Rawalpindi judge (Dawn, ET). The group’s spokesman Muhammad Khorasani stated: “Our special task force has targeted additional session judge Tahir Khan Niazi in Rawalpindi successfully.” Judge Niazi was killed on Wednesday when a gunman entered his house and shot him with a 30 bore pistol before escaping with another suspect. Judges are acommon target for violence in Pakistan.

Afghanistan

17 dead in Afghan National Army helicopter crash

At least 17 people died when an Afghan National Army (ANA) helicopter crashed in the Naw Bahar district of Zabul province on Thursday (Pajhwok, TOLO News). The dead included 12 ANA soldiers and five technical personnel. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed that the group shot down the helicopter though the government says the crash was a result of technical failure. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani offered his condolences to the dead stating: “The president offered condolences to the bereaved families and prayed to Almighty to rest the departed soul in eternal peace.”

Iran extends 450,000 visas for Afghan refugees

On Wednesday, Afghanistan’s Ministry of Refugee and Repatriation Affairs announced that Iran had extended temporary visas for 450,000 Afghan refugees living in Iran by four months (Pajhwok). The announcement followed a visit by an Afghan delegation to Iran which raised the issue. Reports had suggested increasing restrictions on the lives of Afghan refugees in Iran though recently Iranian officials have suggested loosening some of the restrictions including allowing Afghan children to continue studying in Iranian state-run schools. In addition to 450,000 Afghan refugees living in Iran, another 840,000 Afghans possess legal documents to be in the country and 90,000 more hold Afghan passports.

Gen. Campbell: 4,000 deserters monthly

General John Campbell, the top American commander in Afghanistan, told an audience at Brookings in DC on Tuesday that 4,000 Afghan security force members desert their posts each month (TOLO News). Gen. Campbell blamed lack of proper management as the primary cause of desertion. He also stressed that the security forces would be able to sustain themselves against the Taliban stating: “They [the Taliban] are not taking territory they are not meeting any strategic level goals that they set out. They are going to take a district and they are going to lose it. They are going to take another district center but they are going to lose it.” Gen. Campbell’s comments come amidst a series of reports of high Afghan security service and civilian casualties as well as high rates of desertion this year.

— David Sterman

India

India backs away from trade negotiations with EU over pharmaceuticals ban

India has cancelled a meeting with the European Union’s chief trade negotiator in protest against an import ban on 700 of Indian manufactured generic drugs for alleged manipulation of clinical trials, dealing a blow to the proposed free-trade accord between the European trade bloc and Asia’s third-largest economy (FT, Livemint, TOI). Referring to the July 16 decision by the EU, the commerce ministry said in a statement on Wednesday said that the decision was taken as the government is “disappointed and concerned by the action of EU in imposing legally binding ban on the sale of around 700 pharma products clinically tested by GVK Biosciences, Hyderabad.” The meeting between chief trade negotiators of the two sides was scheduled for August 28. The cancellation of talks is the latest setback to the proposed free-trade agreement that the two sides have been negotiating since 2007. Differences over the lack of access for Indian professionals to EU’s labor market have thwarted efforts to reach an accord in the past.

Airtel becomes the first telecom operator to launch 4G services in India

India’s top telecom provider Bharti Airtel Ltd said on Thursday it has launched fourth-generation (4G) mobile technology in 296 towns, becoming the first company to offer commercial high-speed fourth generation data services in the country (Reuters). Bharti Airtel hastened its 4G push ahead of the anticipated launch by Reliance Industries Ltd, which plans to start pan-India 4G services in December. An increasing number of mobile device users in India has boosted demand for mobile data services. The number of mobile web users in India is expected to grow by around 28 percent annually between 2013 and 2017 and reach 314 million by the end of 2017, according to a report released by the Internet and Mobile Association of India and KPMG.

— Shuja Malik

Edited by Peter Bergen

FAROOQ NAEEM/AFP/Getty Images

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