The South Asia Channel

U.S. Military Personnel Punished for Kunduz Hospital Attack; Pakistani Police Kill IS Commander; Indian Court Overturns German Bakery Death Sentence

Afghanistan U.S. military personnel face punishment for Kunduz hospital attack More than a dozen U.S. military personnel face punishment for their role in the bombing of a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz that killed 42 people last year, according to a report by the Associated Press on Wednesday (AP, Pajhwok). The punishments, which have ...

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 03:  Jason Cone, Executive Director of the U.S. division of Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF)  speaks at a gathering in Union Square to commemorate the one month anniversary of the bombing of a MSF hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan on November 3, 2015 in New York City. MSF has called for an independent investigation into the attack that killed at least 30 people.  (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 03: Jason Cone, Executive Director of the U.S. division of Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) speaks at a gathering in Union Square to commemorate the one month anniversary of the bombing of a MSF hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan on November 3, 2015 in New York City. MSF has called for an independent investigation into the attack that killed at least 30 people. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

Afghanistan

U.S. military personnel face punishment for Kunduz hospital attack

More than a dozen U.S. military personnel face punishment for their role in the bombing of a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz that killed 42 people last year, according to a report by the Associated Press on Wednesday (AP, Pajhwok). The punishments, which have not been publicly announced, are administrative — not criminal — with a few being severe enough to end chances of promotion. Both officers and enlisted men are among the individuals punished. Sandra Murillo, a spokeswoman for Doctors Without Borders, said the group would not comment until the punishments were made public.

Russia, Tajikistan hold joint military exercise near Afghan border

Russia and Tajikistan began holding a joint military exercise near the Afghan border on Wednesday, which will continue for six days (TOLO News). Russian Defense Minister Sergey Kuzhugetovich Shoygu told reporters: “the Russian and Tajik military forces are doing exercises to foil militant group attacks, eliminate their strongholds and other relevant practices.” The operation involves 50,000 Tajik and 2,000 Russian forces. The exercise was welcomed by some Afghan parliamentarians who saw it as demonstrating Russian interest in Afghan security. Faruq Majroh, an Afghan member of parliament, stated: “Russia has realized that a number of its citizens are involved in the Afghan war and are extremist and dangerous individuals, therefore, the operations have been launched for several purposes.”

Pakistan

Pakistani police kill alleged IS commanded involved in attacks

On Thursday, Pakistani police announced that they had killed an alleged commander of the Islamic State, Kamran Gujjar, in Karachi (Dawn). The police stated that they were conducting a search party when they came under fire. Gujjar had previously been wanted for working with Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent and according to police confessed to his role in a number of killings.

Pakistan prepares for visit from Iranian President

Pakistan is preparing for a visit from Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at the end of March, according to a report in Pakistan’s Express Tribune on Thursday (ET). According to the report, Pakisan’s Minister for Commerce Khurram Dastgir Khan ordered the drafting of a comprehensive plan to expand trade ties between the two countries. The planning comes amidst concern over smuggling sparked by discrepancies between Iranian and Pakistani data on the extent of trade – Pakistan registered that it had exported only 16.5% of what Iran recorded as imports from Pakistan.

Baloch Republican Party: 70 leaders missing

On Wednesday, two female leaders of the Baloch Republican Party, a Baloch nationalist group, announced that more than 70 of the party’s leaders have been missing for several months (Dawn). The two leaders asserted that the missing leaders were victims of enforced disappearances and criticized Former Chief Minister of Balochistan Abdul Malik Baloch for not having acted on the issue while he was in office.

— David Sterman

India

Court overturns death sentence in German Bakery case

The Mumbai High Court on Thursday overturned the 2013 death sentence given to Mirza Himayat Baig for his involvement in the 2010 Pune German bakery blast case (HT, Hindu, TOI). However, Himayat will continue to serve his sentence of life imprisonment for possession of explosives. The blast at a food establishment called German Bakery, in the city of Pune in Maharashtra, killed 17 people while injuring 58 people, including several foreign nationals.

Man arrested for throwing acid on female students

A 19-year-old man was arrested on Thursday in the northern state of Punjab for throwing acid on female students as they walked home from school (BBC). Police officials say they are searching for another man involved in the incident and that these students had previously complained to the police regarding stalking by the two men. One of the girls was severely injured, with second degree burns. According to an estimate by the Acid Survivors Trust International, there are as many as 1,000 acid attacks every year in India, many of which go unreported.

India’s trade deficit in Feb. lowest in more than two years

India’s trade deficit dropped in February to its lowest since September 2013 as exports decreased at a slower pace due to weak demand from Europe (Reuters). Although low oil prices have helped, Indian manufacturers are struggling due to the global decline in demand and Chinese competition. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to raise taxes on steel imports to protect domestic steel industry adversely impacted the ability of Indian producers of engineering goods to compete.

— Shuja Malik

Edited by Peter Bergen

Andrew Burton/Getty Images

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