The South Asia Channel
Second Trove of Bin Laden Documents Released; Afghan Women, Girls Subjected to Intrusive ‘Virginity Tests’; Indian Security Forces Kill Eight Maoist Rebels; Nepal Renews Climbing Permits to Help Tourism
Pakistan Second trove of Bin Laden documents released On Tuesday, a cache of 113 documents belonging to Osama bin Laden and recovered after the raid on his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan in May 2011 were released by the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence (Reuters, ABC). Most of the documents are dated between ...
Second trove of Bin Laden documents released
On Tuesday, a cache of 113 documents belonging to Osama bin Laden and recovered after the raid on his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan in May 2011 were released by the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence (Reuters, ABC). Most of the documents are dated between 2009 and 2011. The documents, translated by U.S. intelligence officials, show bin Laden’s claim to a roughly $29 million personal net worth, nearly all of which he wanted to be spent on “jihad, for the sake of Allah.” Among other details, the documents show the grave concern bin Laden had for being spied on by U.S. drones or other means. In a May 10, 2011 letter to his then second-in-command Atiyah Abd al Rahman referencing a forthcoming interview between al Rahman and Al Jazeera journalist Ahmad Zaidan, bin Laden wrote, “You must keep in mind the possibility, however slight, that journalists can be under surveillance that neither we nor they can perceive, either on the ground or via satellite.”
Bin Laden also held on to his desire to wage more attacks on the United States. One letter that is allegedly from bin Laden to Nasir al-Wuhayshi, head of al Qaeda’s Yemen branch, reads, “We need to extend and develop our operations in America and not keep it limited to blowing up airplanes.” According to one senior U.S. intelligence official, bin Laden “was still sort of thinking in very kind of grand schemes, and still… trying to reclaim that 9/11 ‘victory.’”
Thousands protest in support of former Punjab governor’s killer
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 opposition to Tadeer’s anti-blasphemy stance and support of a jailed Christian woman. On Tuesday, roughly 50,000 demonstrators who supported his action as a defense of Islam gathered in in Rawalpindi – the site of Qadri’s hometown and the site of his execution — while Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, and other cities all saw substantial gatherings of Tadeer supporters (NYT, WSJ,BBC). Humayun Ahmad, a neighbor of Mr. Qadri, said, “Allah chose Mumtaz Qadri to be his sword. What an honor. The government is corrupt and evil. How could they hang a servant of the Prophet?” In the months leading up to his death, Qadri and his defense team pursued a mercy petition that would have spared his death, but that was finally rejected on Sunday by President Mamnoon Hussain.
Bonus Read: “‘I never heard from them again’: an Afghan family’s doomed journey,” by Sune Engel Rasmussen (Guardian)
Afghan women, girls subjected to intrusive ‘virginity tests’
A study from Human Rights Watch (HRW) published on Monday details experiences of Afghan women and girls subjected to government-imposed, unscientific gynecological exams. These exams are the result of accusations of so-called moral crimes such as fleeing one’s home or adultery (Reuters, RFE/RL). In interviews with 53 Afghan women and girls in 12 provinces conducted in 2015, 48 reported undergoing such exams. Women are forced to comply to determine if they have been sexually active outside of marriage, though the accuracy and purpose of the exams remains highly questionable. Of those tested, some were as young as 13 years old, others were tested more than once, and many were tested only for leaving their homes without permission. Heather Barr, an HRW senior researcher, said in a statement, “The continued use of degrading and unscientific ‘virginity exams’ by the Afghan government is part of a broader pattern of abuses in which women and girls in Afghanistan are jailed on spurious ‘moral crimes’ accusations.”
U.S. Navy SEAL awarded Medal of Honor
At a ceremony at the White House in Washington, DC on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama bestowed the nation’s highest military honor on Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator Edward C. Byers, Jr. (NYT, Post). Chief Byers was recognized for his heroic actions in rescuing an American volunteer doctor, Dilip Joseph, who was held hostage at a Taliban compound in the Qarghayi district of Laghman province in eastern Afghanistan in December 2012. Petty Officer 1st Class Nicolas D. Checque, the point man on the raid, was killed at the outset of the operation. Chief Byers is the first member of SEAL Team 6 – the elite unit also responsible for the Osama bin Laden operation – to receive the Medal of Honor, and the first living SEAL to receive it since the Vietnam War.
Afghan policeman shoots 4 colleagues, 11 others missing
On Tuesday, an Afghan official reported that a policeman manning a checkpoint on a remote stretch of a highway between Kandahar and Uruzgan provinces shot and killed four of his colleagues, while 11 other policemen from the same checkpoint are missing since the attack occurred (NYT/AP). The police chief of Uruzgan province, Gen. Ghulam Sakhi Roghlewanai, said most details are still unknown. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Bonus Read: “The women who refuse to do India’s dirtiest job,” (Guardian)
Indian security forces kill eight Maoist rebels
On Tuesday, Indian security forces raided a rebel training camp and killed eight suspected Maoist militants in the central state of Chhattisgarh (Reuters, Yahoo/AP). Though remaining relatively subdued over the past six months, the Maoist rebels have been fighting for more than 30 years in central and eastern India to demand a greater allocation of natural resources to the region’s indigenous peoples. A rebel leader with a 500,000 rupee ($7,300) bounty on his head was among those killed along with five women. More than 500 policemen have been killed in Maoist attacks in the past five years.
“Anti-piracy soldiers” denied bail in India
Six former British soldiers jailed in India for alleged firearms offenses were refused bail by a court in Chennai on Tuesday as they prepare to appeal their sentences (BBC). The men were arrested in October 2013 and sentenced to five years of imprisonment each, after being found on an American-owned Seaman Guard Ohioship that was illegally traveling in Indian waters. The crew claimed that they were providing “anti-piracy” services to other ships traveling to the Red Sea. Indian officials found more than 30 guns including semi automatic weapons and nearly 6000 rounds of ammunition on board upon inspection.
Nepal renews climbing permits to help tourism
The Nepalese government announced on Tuesday that it has renewed climbing permits from last year for hundreds of climbers without any additional charges, in an effort to revive tourism in the country (Reuters). Last year after a devastating earthquake in the country at least 800 foreign climbers (each paying up to $11,000 for their permits) canceled their expeditions due to landsliding and avalanche concerns. Tourism contributes about four percent to Nepal’s GDP.
Edited by Peter Bergen
Albert Ford is a research assistant with the International Security Program at New America.