The South Asia Channel

Pakistan And Afghanistan Intelligence Chiefs Meet In Islamabad; Gen. Campbell: U.S. Troop Withdrawal To Impede Training Of Afghan Forces; Blockade At India And Nepal Border Crossing Removed

Event Notice: United States of Jihad: Investigating America’s Homegrown Terrorists (DC Launch), Tuesday, February 9 (New America) Pakistan Pakistan and Afghanistan intelligence chiefs meet in Islamabad On Thursday, Masoud Andarabi, the head of Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security (NDS), met with Lt. General Rizwan Akhtar, the Director General of Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), in Islamabad (VOA). ...

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Director General of Pakistani Rangers (Sindh) Karachi, Major General Rizwan Akhtar (C) salutes during a guard of honor prior to a meeting at India's Border Security Force (BSF) headquarters in New Delhi on July 2, 2012. Akhtar is leading a thirty member high-level delegation of Pakistani Rangers officials to participate in an India-Pakistan bi-annual meeting with BSF officials at New Delhi from July 1 - 5 where a variety of border-related issues will be discussed. AFP PHOTO / Prakash SINGH (Photo credit should read PRAKASH SINGH/AFP/GettyImages)

Event Notice:

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

Pakistan

Pakistan and Afghanistan intelligence chiefs meet in Islamabad

On Thursday, Masoud Andarabi, the head of Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security (NDS), met with Lt. General Rizwan Akhtar, the Director General of Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), in Islamabad (VOA). The meeting, ahead of Saturday’s Afghan peace talks in Islamabad between officials from the United States, China, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, sought to resolve complaints from Pakistan about attacks occurring in Pakistan from Afghanistan-based terrorists. The most recent attack on Bacha Khan University in Charsadda, Pakistan, is one example cited by Pakistani officials, though the Kabul government denies that Afghanistan is used as a planning hub for terror attacks in Pakistan.

Lashkar-e-Taiba founder issues warning to India

Hafiz Saeed, the accused architect of the 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed 163 people and founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), a Pakistani terror group, warned India of consequences if it did not remove its army from the Kashmir region (VOA). Speaking on Thursday in Muzaffarabad, the capital of the Pakistani administered portion of Kashmir, ahead of Friday’s “Kashmir Day” recognition of solidarity with Pakistanis fighting Indians, Saeed referenced the attack at India’s Pathankot Air Base in January. “If you [India] continue with your policy of trying to crush Kashmir’s independence struggle with your military might, then listen to me, this problem will not stay within Sri Nagar. It has already reached Pathankot. It will go further,” said Saeed.

Pakistani International Airlines employees barred entry from all Pakistan airports

In a sign of still-growing tension between Pakistani International Airlines (PIA) employees, PIA management, and the Pakistani government, PIA employees had their entry passes cancelled by Airport Security Force (Radio Pakistan). The move applies to employees at all airports in Pakistan. PIA employees can have their passes re-issued once the strike is over.

–Albert Ford

Afghanistan

Bonus Read: “Afghan Taliban close ranks around new leader,” by Mirwais Khan and Lynne O’Donnell (AP)

Gen. Campbell: U.S. troop withdrawal to impede training of Afghan forces

Appearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee on the same day the committee approved the nomination of his successor, Gen. John F. Campbell – commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan – said on Thursday that the planned reduction of U.S. forces from 9,800 to 5,500 by the end of 2016 would negatively impact training efforts for Afghan troops (RFE/RLVOA). “To continue to build on the Afghan security forces…we’d have to make some adjustments to that number,” he told the committee.

Conflict in Kandahar claims rising number of children

The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) said on Friday that the conflict in Kandahar killed 90 children and wounded 97 others in 2015 (TOLO News). Shamsuddin Tanwir, the chairman of the AIHRC in Kandahar, said, “This problem has been common in very remote areas (in Kandahar). Children in the province have been killed due to roadside bombs and other kinds of violence.” According to Tanwir, the number of adolescent victims doubled relative to the previous year.

–Albert Ford

India

Bonus read: “A New Chance for Gay Rights in India,” (NYT)

Blockade at India and Nepal border crossing removed

On Friday, protesters cleared way for traffic to move through a border crossing between India and Nepal, allowing trucks to enter Nepal from the Indian side for the first time in four months (Reuters/AP).  Protesters had earlier blockaded the “Friendship Bridge” linking the southern Nepali town of Birgunj with Raxaul in India, causing acute fuel shortages in landlocked Nepal. The blockade was an attempt to force Khatmandu to revise Nepal’s first republican constitution passed last year, which according to the protesting minority Madhesis community does not guarantee them enough constitutional protections. Since November last year, almost 50 people have died in clashes with the Nepali police during attempts to remove the blockade.

India ratifies nuclear energy liability convention

The Indian government on Thursday ratified an international convention on nuclear energy accident liability, in an attempt to attract more foreign investment in the country’s nuclear energy sector (Reuters). The convention brings Indian law in to accordance with the international convention of placing liability on the nuclear plant operator in case of an accident. Previously a 2010 law placed liability on the plant manufacturer rather than the plant operators, causing many international nuclear plant manufacturers like the U.S. based General Electric, not to invest in India. India aims to increase its domestic nuclear electricity production to 25 percent by 2050 and thus has been trying to address the concerns of international investors in the sector. Last year it launched an insurance pool with a liability cap of 15 billion Indian rupees ($225 million) to cover the suppliers’ risk of potential liability.

–Shuja Malik

Edited by Peter Bergen

PRAKASH SINGH/AFP/GettyImages

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

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