The South Asia Channel

Afghan Forces Casualties Put NATO Training Behind Schedule; Mumbai Bombing Mastermind Sentenced to Life Imprisonment; Amnesty International: Pakistan Ranks Third in Executions

Event Notice: “Security Mom: Putting the Home in Homeland Security” with Juliette Kayyem on Thursday, April 7, 2016, from 12:30 PM – 01:45 PM at New America. Afghanistan Bonus Read: “After Fleeing the Taliban, an Afghan Reinvents Himself in Sweden,” by Eleanor Beardsley (NPR) Afghan forces casualties put NATO training behind schedule Unprecedented casualties suffered by Afghan ...

Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers walk through Dand-e-Ghori district in Baghlan province on March 15, 2016, following weeks of heavy battles to recapture the area from Taliban militants.
Afghan security forces claim to have flushed out the Taliban from Dand-e-Ghori, a volatile district in northern Baghlan province after a military operation. / AFP / SHAH MARAI        (Photo credit should read SHAH MARAI/AFP/Getty Images)
Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers walk through Dand-e-Ghori district in Baghlan province on March 15, 2016, following weeks of heavy battles to recapture the area from Taliban militants. Afghan security forces claim to have flushed out the Taliban from Dand-e-Ghori, a volatile district in northern Baghlan province after a military operation. / AFP / SHAH MARAI (Photo credit should read SHAH MARAI/AFP/Getty Images)

Event Notice: “Security Mom: Putting the Home in Homeland Security” with Juliette Kayyem on Thursday, April 7, 2016, from 12:30 PM – 01:45 PM at New America.

Afghanistan

Bonus Read: “After Fleeing the Taliban, an Afghan Reinvents Himself in Sweden,” by Eleanor Beardsley (NPR)

Afghan forces casualties put NATO training behind schedule

Unprecedented casualties suffered by Afghan forces in 2015 stalled U.S. and NATO efforts to train Afghan troops, the new commanding general in Afghanistan, General John Nicholson, told Reuters on Monday (Reuters). In his first interview since taking command of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan last month, Nicholson stated, “This intense period of combat interfered with the glide slope we were on. The assumptions we made about our timelines, we have to re-look based upon the high casualties they took.” According to Nicholson, 5,500 Afghan troops were killed in combat and more than 14,000 were wounded in 2015.

Violence in Afghanistan closes schools around the country

Violence and intimidation from the Taliban have contributed to the increasing closure of schools around Afghanistan, according to an Associated Press report (NYT). According to the Afghan Education Ministry, in 2015, 615 schools in Afghanistan’s 11 most volatile provinces had to close because of violence. This was in addition to the 600 schools that were forced to close in 2014. This is a significant setback to the progress in education that Afghanistan has made since the toppling of the Taliban government in 2001.

India

Mumbai bombing mastermind sentenced to life imprisonment

Muzammil Ansari, a man found guilty of masterminding a series of bomb blasts in Mumbai between 2002 and 2003, was sentenced to life imprisonment on Wednesday (BBC, DNA). The prosecution had argued for the death penalty for Ansari, but a special terrorism court in Mumbai denied this request. Ansari was accused of planting explosives in the bomb blasts that killed 12 people and severely injured 27. The court sentenced two other convicts, Wahid Ansari and Farhan Khot, to life imprisonment, whereas ten others involved in the attacks were given ten years each.

Indian steel imports rise 18 percent in March

Provisional data released by the Joint Plant Committee of the steel ministry in India on Wednesday showed that India’s steel imports rose 18 percent in March after falling for the past four months (Reuters). Last week, the government instituted price floors on imported steel to protect local manufacturers and also extended protectionist taxes on certain steel products until March 2018. India is world’s third largest steel producer and produced 994,000 tons of the steel in March.

Pakistan

Amnesty International: Pakistan ranks third in executions

Pakistan carried out 326 executions last year ranking third in the world for judicial killings, according to a report released by Amnesty International (Dawn). Most of those executed were not convicted of terror-related offenses, and there is evidence that some of them were juveniles when they committed their alleged crimes, according to Champa Patel, Amnesty International’s Director of South Asia Regional Office. Combined with Saudi Arabia and Iran – who occupy the number one and two spots – the three countries are responsible for almost 90 percent of total global executions. A report released in February from Reprieve, an international human rights group, and Justice Project Pakistan recorded 324 executions from Pakistan in 2015.

Death toll in Pakistan rises to 92 after natural disaster

The death toll rose to 92 on Wednesday after torrential rains caused flash flooding and landslides in parts of northwest Pakistan (Reuters). Most of the deaths occurred in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province where 65 people were killed. Twelve people were killed in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, and 15 people died in Gilgit-Baltistan. Rescuers continue to search for 23 people who were buried in a landslide in the northern mountains.

–Alyssa Sims and Shuja Malik

Edited by Peter Bergen

SHAH MARAI/AFP/Getty Images

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