The South Asia Channel

At least 27 miners killed and 22 wounded in Afghan coal mine collapse

Editor’s Note: MANHUNT, the HBO film about the hunt for Osama bin Laden, won best documentary at the Primetime Emmys on Sunday night.  It was based on Peter Bergen’s book of the same name. Mine collapse At least 27 Afghan miners were killed and 22 were wounded in Samangan province on Saturday when the coal ...

STR/AFP/Getty Images
STR/AFP/Getty Images

Editor’s Note: MANHUNT, the HBO film about the hunt for Osama bin Laden, won best documentary at the Primetime Emmys on Sunday night.  It was based on Peter Bergen’s book of the same name.

Mine collapse

At least 27 Afghan miners were killed and 22 were wounded in Samangan province on Saturday when the coal mine they were working in collapsed (AFP, BBC, NYT, Pajhwok, Reuters, VOA).  Akram Behzad, the Ruyi Du Ab district police chief, told reporters that all of the trapped miners had been rescued (Reuters).  Though an investigation into the cave in at the Abkhorak mine is currently underway, many reports cited the "dangerously primitive" working conditions that exist in most of the country’s mines. 

Lt. Negar, Helmand province’s highest-ranking female police officer, died early Monday morning, succumbing to wounds she sustained on Sunday when unknown gunmen shot her as she walked in front of her house in Lashkar Gah (AP, NYT, Pajhwok, Reuters, RFE/RL, VOA).  No one has claimed responsibility for the attack, though a spokesman for the provincial governor blamed "enemies of Afghanistan," a phrase that often refers to the Afghan Taliban (BBC).  Negar’s murder comes about two months after her predecessor, Lt. Islam Bibi, was shot and killed in almost identical circumstances. 

Afghanistan’s Independent Election Commission announced on Monday the beginning of the candidate registration process for next year’s presidential and provincial elections (AP, Pajhwok, RFE/RL).  Noor Mohammad Noor, a commission spokesman, said that 29 likely presidential candidates received information kits about the election and another 1126 kits have been given to provincial candidates, including to 100 women.  The registration process will continue until October 6 and a final list of candidates will be revealed on November 7.  While there are currently no registered candidates or clear favorites for April’s elections, speculation abounds; Zalmai Rassoul, Afghanistan’s foreign minister, and Abdullah Abdullah, an opposition leader who ran against current President Hamid Karzai in 2009, are just two of the potential candidates (AP). 

In an interview with Pakistan’s Geo TV, Mullah Muhammad Hasan Rahmani, a close aide to the Afghan Taliban’s Mullah Mohammad Omar, said on Monday that women would not be confined to their homes or deprived of their right to education, signaling a major policy shift for the group (Pajhwok).  Rahmani said that the Taliban’s shura council was discussing the structure of Afghanistan’s future government and, "keeping in mind the wishes of the people," would not overturn the protections women have achieved over the past several years.  He added that the Taliban could not talk to Karzai while coalition troops were in the country but would work with the government to determine a way forward once the troops left.  Bonus read: "Pakistani ‘Father of Taliban’ keeps watch over loyal disciples," Maria Golovnina and Sheree Sardar (Reuters). 

Officers killed 

Maj. Gen. Sanaullah Khan Niazi, the commander of troops in the Swat Valley, and two other soldiers were killed in the Upper Dir district of Khyber Paktunkhwa province on Sunday when the vehicle they were traveling in struck a roadside bomb (BBC, Dawn, NYT, Reuters, RFE/RL).  The men were returning from inspecting the army’s border posts in the province when the blast occurred.  The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, which came one day after the provincial government announced a phased withdrawal of army troops from Swat (Dawn, Dawn). While Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said that "such cowardly acts" would not harm the morale of the Pakistani armed forces, the attack will likely have some impact on the government’s proposed peace talks with the militant group (VOA).

In Karachi on Saturday, unidentified gunmen shot and killed Mumtaz Shah, a local police officer, while he was driving to work in the Malir Cant area (RFE/RL).  Shah’s killing comes as the Sindh Rangers, a provincial paramilitary organization, work to restore order to the city, which has been plagued by increased violence in recent weeks.  While the government-endorsed crackdown was initially "hailed as a life-saving operation," it ran into trouble when police arrested Nadeem Hashmi, a senior leader with the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (RFE/RL).  Opposition to the operation is now growing within the city’s political parties and many residents say the efforts are hopeless. 

Just outside of Karachi, at least nine NATO oil tankers were destroyed on Sunday when an explosion in one caused the others to catch fire (AFP, RFE/RL).  Ahmad Nawaz Cheema, a senior police official, said that no one was killed or wounded in the incident as the drivers were eating at a nearby hotel.  Cheema said it was not immediately clear what caused the blast, though authorities are investigating. 

Best Foreign Language Film?

The Pakistani Academy Selection Committee submitted Zinda Bhaag for Oscar consideration in the Foreign Language Film Award category on Monday, the first Pakistani film to be put forward in more than 50 years (AFP).  One of three films to be submitted to the committee for consideration, Zinda Bhaag was the "overwhelming" favorite.  It hits Pakistani cinemas on September 20 and is described as "a comedy-thriller about three young men trying to escape the drudgery of their everyday lives." 

— Bailey Cahall 

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