The South Asia Channel
Pentagon Opens Investigation Into Sexual Abuse by US Allies in Afghanistan; India Kills LeT Commander; Pakistan: No Quake Aid Needed
Afghanistan Bonus Read: “The Intense Images of Afghanistan’s Long and ‘Distant War,’” by Hannah Bloch (NPR) Pentagon opens investigation into sexual abuse by U.S. allies in Afghanistan The United States Defense Department’s Inspector General’s office has opened an investigation into U.S. military commanders’ reported mishandling of child sexual abuse cases in Afghanistan since 2011 (Post, ...
Bonus Read: “The Intense Images of Afghanistan’s Long and ‘Distant War,’” by Hannah Bloch (NPR)
Pentagon opens investigation into sexual abuse by U.S. allies in Afghanistan
The United States Defense Department’s Inspector General’s office has opened an investigation into U.S. military commanders’ reported mishandling of child sexual abuse cases in Afghanistan since 2011 (Post, PBS). The investigation comes in response to last month’s New York Times report that American soldiers were told to ignore when Afghan militia commanders and local police abused or raped young children (NYT). According to a memorandum posted online Wednesday, the inspector general’s initial research into the issue is meant to establish criteria for “potential future work” (U.S. DoD Inspector General). The newly released memo reviews the claims reported in the article and has outline a series of questions it wants answered prior to proceeding with the investigation.
High Peace Council calls for negotiations with Taliban
On Wednesday, acting head of the High Peace Council Abdul Hakim Mujahid asked the National Unity Government and the international community to restart the peace process with the Taliban as soon as possible (TOLO News). Speaking at a human rights research and advocacy meeting, Mujahid stated that the United Nations had relaxed some restrictions on the Taliban in order to ease the negotiation process. “Now the conditions have been created for peace and the government and the neighbors and international community must act sincerely and understand that peace in Afghanistan means peace in other countries as well,” said Mujahid. The first round of peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban was held in Islamabad on July 17. However, a second round of talks was cancelled following the announcement of the death of the late Taliban leader Mullah Omar.
— Alyssa Sims
Lashkar-e-Taiba commander killed by Indian security forces
Abu Qasim, a high-level operational commander for the militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), was killed by a joint team of Indian army and police personnel in the northern state of Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday (The Hindu, TOI, NDTV). The Indian security team engaged Qasim and several other militants on Tuesday and pursued them into forest cover through Thursday, when Qasim was killed in an overnight gun fight. An Indian soldier was injured during an encounter on Wednesday and later died from his wounds in a hospital. Qasim is believed to be responsible for several high-profile terrorist attacks in Kashmir, including an attack on a Border Security Force convoy on Aug. 5, the killing of eight Indian army personnel in 2013, and an attack on a tourist hotel in 2012. Qasim is also believed to be responsible for the killing of Altaf Ahmad, a leading counter-insurgency police officer, earlier this month.
Report: India in global top 10 by total individual wealth
According to a report from New World Wealth, a market research firm specializing in the global wealth sector, India ranks 10th in the world in terms of total individual wealth held (TOI, Economic Times). Total individual wealth refers to all private wealth held by individuals in a country, including all equity, cash, property, and business interests. According to the report, India’s total individual wealth is $3.5 trillion. The United States holds the top spot with $48.8 trillion, while China is second with $17.3 trillion. Despite its relatively large size in the global wealth market, on a per capita basis, India ranks last among the 20 wealthiest countries with per capita wealth of $2,800. However, that is an improvement from its $900 per capita figure in 2000, representing 211 percent growth over 15 years. India ranks 5th in the world in per capita wealth growth from 2000 to 2015, behind Indonesia, China, Russia, and Australia.
Study: High levels of sexual aggression among Indian youth
A study by the International Centre for Research on Women in collaboration with two other organizations found that 24.5 percent of Indian men surveyed had engaged in sexual violence at some point, the Times of India reported on Thursday (TOI). This is a far higher rate than that of countries like Rwanda, Mexico, Croatia, and Chile, which were also included in the study. The study covered 2,000 Indian men aged 18-59. The highest risk factors in India were found to be sexual aggression during youth, alcohol abuse, physical violence towards a partner, and witnessing or experiencing sexual violence as a child. The study report recommended implementing more gender sensitization programs at schools to facilitate healthier, non-violent attitudes among men towards women. The authors also emphasized the need for encouraging men to be more engaged as fathers and caregivers through parenting education classes to lower the likelihood of in-home violence.
— Udit Banerjea
Information Minister: No foreign aid needed for earthquake relief
On Wednesday, Pakistan announced that it is not seeking foreign assistance for earthquake victims (Dawn). “There is no dearth of resources and we are fully capable of handling the situation on our own,” Information Minister Pervaiz Rasheed told a press conference. Rasheed was accompanied by National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) Chairman Maj. Gen. Asghar Nawaz and NDMA spokesman Ahmad Kamal. According to Rasheed, food and other essentials have been dispatched to affected areas, 80 percent of the injured have been discharged from medical facilities after receiving care, and those critically injured were airlifted to major hospitals. He added that only 30 percent of beds available in hospitals are occupied by quake victims. Rasheed reiterated that distribution of the relief package for victims announced by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will start on Monday.
Turkey to provide 34 jets to Pakistan, free of charge
Pakistan and Turkey signed a defense cooperation agreement on Wednesday committing Turkey to provide 34 T-37 fighter cum training aircraft and spare parts on a ‘gratis basis’ (Dawn). The agreement was signed by Pakistan’s Director General Defence Procurement Maj. Gen. Naveed Ahmed and Turkey’s Chief of Logistics Maj. Gen. Serdar Gulbas after the conclusion of the 11th Meeting of the Pakistan-Turkey High Level Military Dialogue Group in Ankara. The T-37 is a jet trainer light combat aircraft, and Turkey offered the fleet in response to a request of Pakistan.
— Alyssa Sims
Don’t forget to check out this week’s new FP podcast episodes! The E.R., with David Rothkopf, Rosa Brooks, Kori Schake, and Tom Ricks, looks at where the U.S. military is now and asks if it’s still too much of an industrial-era relic to operate in the Information Age. Global Thinkers features 2014 Global Thinker Anat Admati and the Peterson Institute’s Pedro da Costa. They discuss and explore why regulators won’t reign in big banks. Subscribe and listen on iTunes and Stitcher: http://atfp.co/1K7nhrI
Edited by Peter Bergen
WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP/Getty Images