The South Asia Channel

Islamic State Radio Station In Afghanistan Destroyed By U.S. Air Strike; Indian Supreme Court To Hear Challenge On Gay Sex Ban; Two Dead In Clash Between Pakistani Airline Employees And Security Personnel

Event Notice: United States of Jihad: Investigating America’s Homegrown Terrorists, Wednesday, February 3 (New America NYC) United States of Jihad: Investigating America’s Homegrown Terrorists (DC Launch), Tuesday, February 9 (New America) Afghanistan Bonus Read: “Iran Sending Thousands of Afghans to Fight in Syria,” (HRW) Islamic State radio station in Afghanistan destroyed by U.S. air strike ...

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In this photograph taken on December 22, 2015, Afghan men listen to a radio broadcast run by the Islamic State group in Jalalabad. The Islamic State (IS) group have launched an anti-government radio station in Afghanistan's eastern city Jalalabad. The radio station "Voice of the Caliphate" broadcasts in Pashto. AFP PHOTO / Noorullah Shirzada / AFP / Noorullah Shirzada (Photo credit should read NOORULLAH SHIRZADA/AFP/Getty Images)

Event Notice:

United States of Jihad: Investigating America’s Homegrown Terrorists, Wednesday, February 3 (New America NYC)

United States of Jihad: Investigating America’s Homegrown Terrorists (DC Launch), Tuesday, February 9 (New America)

Afghanistan

Bonus Read: “Iran Sending Thousands of Afghans to Fight in Syria,” (HRW)

Islamic State radio station in Afghanistan destroyed by U.S. air strike

On Monday, a U.S. air strike destroyed the Islamic State’s (IS) Afghan radio station, “Voice of the Caliphate” (RFE/RLVOA). The strike hit IS Afghan headquarters in the mountainous Achin district in Nangarhar province. A spokesman for the governor of Nangarhar province, Attaullah Khogyani, confirmed that 29 IS members were killed, including five who worked for the radio station. A tweet from IS radio rejected the claims, saying, “The voice of Khilafah (Caliphate) of the Islamic State strongly rejects the reports of the puppet regime of Kabul that the radio has been destroyed.” However, the Afghan Defense Ministry and local residents confirmed that the station was no longer broadcasting as of Monday evening.

Germany pledges assistance to help Afghanistan resettle migrants

In a visit to Kabul on Monday, Thomas de Maiziere, the German interior minister, pledged Germany’s on-the-ground support to Afghanistan for “as long as necessary,” in exchange for the Afghan people’s commitment to stay in Afghanistan and “build up this country” (ReutersRFE/RL,TOLO News). “We can only get support in Germany for the major engagement in Afghanistan if the German population has the firm impression that the youth and the people of Afghanistan have faith in their future,” de Maiziere said. Of the one million migrants who settled in Germany last year, around 150,000 were Afghans.

–Albert Ford

India

Bonus Read: “The Mumbai police Twitter feed that fights crime with puns,” by Vikas Pandey (BBC)

Indian Supreme Court to hear challenge on gay sex ban

The Indian Supreme Court will hear an appeal on a ban on gay sex on Tuesday (WSJBBCIndian Express). In 2013, the court upheld a 155-year-old colonial-era law that banned gay sex as an “unnatural offence.” Under the law, a same-sex relationship is punishable by a 10-year jail term. Gay rights activists, mental health professionals, academics, and others have since appealed the decision. “We hope the Supreme Court will go by its tradition of protecting the rights of individuals and communities, and ensure that the stigma of criminalization is removed from the LGBT community,” said Arvind Narrain, a lawyer specializing in gender issues. The appeal will be heard by the court as a “curative petition,” a legal mechanism introduced in 2002 that allows the Supreme Court to alter an earlier decision perceived as a “miscarriage of justice.”

13 students drown in Maharashtra

13 college students drowned while swimming on a beach off the coast of the western state of Maharashtra on Monday (BBC,NYT). The victims were part of a group of 100 students from a college in the city of Pune who had traveled to the beach town of Murud for an afternoon picnic. The bodies of ten women and three men were recovered, and six women were rescued, according to a coast guard official. Police said they were continuing to look for additional victims. The students are believed to have been taken by surprise by a sudden receding tide that swept them away.

India and Brunei boost defense ties

India and Brunei signed three agreements on Tuesday, including an agreement on defense cooperation (NDTV). The agreements were signed during a visit by Indian Vice President Hamid Ansari, the first visit by a high-level Indian official since the establishment of diplomatic ties between the countries. The defense cooperation agreement included bilateral visits, sharing of training and experience, joint military exercises, and cooperation between national defense industries. The other two agreements signed on Tuesday were in the fields of health and sports.

–Udit Banerjea

Pakistan

Bonus Read: “By way of computers and headsets, Islamic teaching flows out of Pakistan,” by Tim Craig (Post)

Bonus Read: “Pakistani Film Sparks Effort to End ‘Evil’ Honor Killings,” by Saeed Shah (WSJ)

Two dead in clash between Pakistani Airline employees and security personnel

On Tuesday, as Pakistani International Airlines (PIA) employees protest at Jinnah International Terminal in Karachi, two of the protesters died from bullet wounds. (Dawn, ET). One of the victims, Inayat Raza, was dead on arrival at Agha Khan hospital. The other victim, identified as Saleem, also died of bullet wounds at the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Complex (JPMC). Security personnel, police, and Pakistani Rangers attempted to contain the protest with batons, rubber bullets, tear gas, and water cannons. Acknowledging the police’s collection of bullet casings, Deputy Inspector General East (of Karachi) Kamran Fazal claims that policemen fired no shots. “We instructed our personnel not to handle the protesters violently. We are trying to find out who initiated the clash,” he said. The situation continues to unfold, as PIA flights out of Lahore, Islamabad, Peshawar, and Quetta were all suspended as of 4:00pm local time.

–Albert Ford

Edited by Peter Bergen

NOORULLAH SHIRZADA/AFP/Getty Images

Albert Ford is a research assistant with the International Security Program at New America.

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