The South Asia Channel

Suicide Bombing Attacks Kill At Least 20; Pakistani Filmmaker Wins Oscar for Documentary Film; Government Presents Its Third Budget

Afghanistan Bonus Read: “Facing the Taliban and His Past, an Afghan Leader Aims for a Different Ending,” by Mujib Mashal (NYT) Suicide bombing attacks kill at least 20 On Saturday, two suicide bombing attacks in Afghanistan killed at least 20 people (Reuters, BBC, NYT). The first, occurring near the gubernatorial mansion in Asadabad, the capital of northeastern ...

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Afghan security personnel arrive at the scene following a suicide bombing near the gate of Ministry of Defence in Kabul on February 27, 2016. A Taliban suicide attack near the defence ministry in Kabul on February 27, killed nine people and wounded 13 others, police said, hours after another deadly blast in Afghanistan's restive east. "Nine people were killed, 13 were wounded. Most of them were civilians," Kabul police chief Abdul Rahman Rahimi said at the scene of the blast, which detonated as offices closed for the day. AFP PHOTO / WAKIL KOHSAR / AFP / WAKIL KOHSAR (Photo credit should read WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP/Getty Images)

Afghanistan

Bonus Read: “Facing the Taliban and His Past, an Afghan Leader Aims for a Different Ending,” by Mujib Mashal (NYT)

Suicide bombing attacks kill at least 20

On Saturday, two suicide bombing attacks in Afghanistan killed at least 20 people (ReutersBBCNYT). The first, occurring near the gubernatorial mansion in Asadabad, the capital of northeastern Kunar province, killed 14 people and wounded 41 more, according to Kunar’s governor, Wahidullah Kalimzai. Kalimzai further commented, saying, “Most of the victims were civilians and children who were either passing by or playing in the park.” The target of the attack was anti-Taliban local elder and militia commander Hajji Khan Jan, who was killed. Later in the day in Kabul, an attacker detonated two bombs at the entrance of the Defense Ministry that killed 12 people and wounded eight, according to a statement from the ministry. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack in Kabul, but the one in Kunar remains unclaimed. The numbers of reported casualties differ. The New York Times’ numbers were used in this report.

Policeman in Helmand killed due to accusations of aiding the Taliban

On Sunday, Afghan officials announced the death of one policeman and the detainment of 30 others in Helmand province who were accused of supporting Taliban insurgents (Reuters). According to Helmand police chief Abdul Rahman Sarjang, fighting between U.S.-NATO and Afghan forces and the Taliban unfolded in Sangin, one of the most contested cities in Helmand, on Friday. Commenting on the operation and arrest of the Sangin police officers, an Afghan army officer said, “During our investigation we found some evidence they were helping the Taliban and we were afraid they may submit the district to the Taliban.” Among those detained was Sangin’s acting district chief of police, Mohammad Nabi.

Pakistan

Pakistani filmmaker wins Oscar for her documentary film

On Sunday, Pakistani director and producer Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy won her second Oscar for her documentary, “A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness,” that detailed the story of an 18 year-old Pakistani woman who was shot and killed by her father and uncle for marrying a man against their wishes (WSJLA Times). The victim and film’s primary subject, Saba Qaiser, faced her death via “honor killings,” an arcane practice that exists in Pakistan. In response to the Oscar-winning film, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said on Monday, “There is no place for killing in the name of honor in Islam,” and that his government “is in the process of legislating to stop such brutal and inhumane acts in the name of honor.” The first film for which Obaid-Chinoy won an Oscar, “Saving Face,” was made in 2012 and dealt with the issue of Pakistani women who have suffered from facial acid burns.

Pakistan hangs killer and former guard of outspoken former Punjab governor

On Monday, Pakistan executed Malik Mumtaz Hussain Qadri, a security guard to the former governor of Punjab province, Salmaan Tadeer, after Qadri was convicted of fatally shooting his boss in an upscale market in Islamabad in 2011 (NYTReuters, AP). At the time of his death, Taseer, a secular politician who opposed Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, had been campaigning in solidarity with a Christian woman who had been in prison for years on accusations of blasphemy and allegedly desecrating the Quran. Qadri took exception to Taseer’s views, citing his opposition to the former governor’s views as his motives for killing him. Protests led by various religious and political groups in support of Qadri broke out through Islamabad and Rawalpindi on Monday.

19 ‘terrorists’ killed near Afghan border

On Saturday, the public relations wing of the Pakistani military reported that security forces killed 19 terrorists in the Shawal area of North Waziristan, close to the Afghan border (APDawn). The group with which the militants were associated remains unknown, though the area in which the operation occurred has long been concentrated with members of the Taliban and al Qaeda. This operation comes after the announcement by Gen. Raheel Sharif, Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff, who last week said that the operation in North Waziristan would be the final push of Operation Zarb-e-Azb to root out the Pakistani Taliban.

India

Bonus Read: “Is India at an inflection point?” by M.K. Narayanan (Hindu)

Bonus Read: “Necklace aids child vaccination,” by Suranjana Tewari (BBC)

Government presents its third budget

The Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday presented the BJP government’s third annual budget that focused on rural development and farm growth (BBC, Reuters). Jaitley said he aimed to double the average income of struggling farmers in the next five years as he announced rural development initiatives worth nearly $13 billion. Analysts claim the shift of focus to agriculture and rural areas is an effort towards improving BJP’s chances in the upcoming state elections in 2017. India is currently the fastest growing large economy in the world and is expected to growth at 7.6 percent in the coming year.

Man murders 14 members of his own family

On Sunday Mumbai police announced that 35-year-old man named Hasnin Anwar Warekar, allegedly murdered 14 members of his family before committing suicide by hanging himself late on Saturday evening (Guardian, BBC). The tragedy took place in the town called Thane on the outskirts of Mumbai. Initial findings by the police suggest that Warekar laced his family’s dinner with sedatives and then used a butcher’s knife to murder them in their sleep. The victims included seven children and the motivation behind the attack is yet to be established. Warekar’s sister, the sole survivor, woke up to the sight of her murdered family and started screaming at which point the neighbors alerted the police. She is yet to make a statement and has been admitted to a nearby hospital. Warekar is reported to have worked as a chartered accountant in Mumbai.

–Albert Ford and Shuja Malik

Edited by Peter Bergen

WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP/Getty Images

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

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