Drone Strikes Continue in N. Waziristan; Firing on the Indo-Pak Border; Afghanistan: World’s Largest Refugee Repatriation

Pakistan Drone strikes continue in North Waziristan A U.S. drone strike on a compound in North Waziristan killed three suspected militants on Tuesday (AP, DAWN). The strike continued a recent spike in the number of strikes occurring in Pakistan: it was the third strike in 24 hours and the fourth in the past three days. ...

Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Pakistan

Pakistan

Drone strikes continue in North Waziristan

A U.S. drone strike on a compound in North Waziristan killed three suspected militants on Tuesday (AP, DAWN). The strike continued a recent spike in the number of strikes occurring in Pakistan: it was the third strike in 24 hours and the fourth in the past three days. According to data collected by New America, this is the 13th strike in 2014 (NA).

Two killed, one injured in attack on polio worker

Muhammad Gul, a Union Council Polio Worker, was seriously injured on Wednesday in Mohmand Agency when an improvised explosive device planted outside of his home exploded; his brother and cousin were killed in the incident (DAWN, ET). The incident is the latest in a spate of attacks against polio workers and comes as Pakistan wrestles with a surging number of polio cases. The Global Polio Eradication Initiative reports that 174 polio cases have been recorded in Pakistan to date, compared to 93 cases in all of 2013 (GPEI).

— David Sterman

The Indo-Pak Border

Cross border firing continues

Indian and Pakistani troops continued to exchange fire over the disputed border in the Kashmir region on Wednesday (BBC, NDTV, Dawn). India reported that two women have been killed and around two dozen civilians have been injured since Tuesday. According to Pakistani sources speaking to the Dawn newspaper, at least three people were killed and four were injured in the Sialkot district of Punjab province on Tuesday following continued firing across the Indo-Pakistani border. The sources, who are in the Chenab Rangers, added that they retaliated.

As both sides accused each other of unprovoked firing, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon asked India and Pakistan to resolve their issues through dialogue. His spokesperson, Stephane Dujarric, told reporters on Tuesday: "The secretary general would call on both countries to resolve their issues diplomatically and through discussions" (Times of India).

Indian Air Force Chief Arup Raha said on Wednesday: "The issue is quite serious and it should not happen. Government is taking it seriously and we want a quick resolution of the problem. We want peace and tranquillity and want the borders to be normal… India wants good relations with our neighbours and the government is taking a number of steps in this direction diplomatically and otherwise" (Indian Express). Commenting on the ongoing ceasefire violations, S. Chandrasekharan, the director of the South Asia Analysis Group in New Delhi, said: "It is very unusual that we are seeing both sides targeting civilian areas and buildings… At the moment, neither side seems willing to back down" (Livemint). Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry lodged a formal protest with the Indian government, calling the firing "in complete disregard" of the Eidul Azha festival, which is currently being celebrated across the country (DAWN).

India and Pakistan have fought three wars since the two countries were partitioned in 1947, and two of them were over Kashmir. Both countries claim Kashmir in its entirety, and the dispute has been a flashpoint between India and Pakistan for more than 60 years. Although New Delhi and Islamabad agreed to a truce in 2003, ceasefire violations have continued across the borders.

— Neeli Shah, Jameel Khan, and David Sterman

India

Court rejects Indian minister’s bail plea

An Indian court rejected a plea for bail made by Jayaram Jayalalithaa — the former chief minister of the southern state of Tamil Nadu and leader of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) party — on Tuesday, even though the public prosecutor said he had no objection to a conditional bail (The Hindu, NDTV, BBC). Jayalalithaa, in a case that lasted 18 years, was jailed in September for four years on corruption charges, after she was found guilty of accumulating unaccounted for wealth totaling more than $10 million. Jayalalithaa’s lawyers said they will approach the Indian Supreme Court as her plea for bail was rejected by a court located in the neighboring state of Karnataka. Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu witnessed protests and attacks on Tuesday as AIADMK members started pelting cars and transportation buses with Karnataka license plates (Indian Express).

IMF projects an increase in India’s growth rate

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Tuesday that India’s economy has recovered from a slump, as it hiked its 2014-2015 growth forecast to 5.6 percent (Livemint, Indian Express). The IMF, in its bi-annual World Economic Outlook, left its growth projection for India in 2015-2016 unchanged at 6.4 percent. Olivier Blanchard, the IMF’s chief economist, said: "India has recovered from its relative slump, and, thanks in part to policy and a renewal of (economic) confidence, growth is expected to exceed five percent again" (NDTV). The Indian economy grew at 5.7 percent in the second quarter of this year, its fastest in two-and-a-half years. Last month, the Standard & Poor’s ?credit ratings agency raised its credit outlook of India from "negative" to "stable."

— Neeli Shah and Jameel Khan

Afghanistan

Afghanistan: the largest refugee repatriation in the world

The World Bank stated in a new report released on Monday, that 5.7 million refugees have returned to Afghanistan in the past decade (Pajhwok). According to the report, the return to Afghanistan is the largest refugee repatriation effort in the world. However, the report also notes that Afghanistan is the second-largest source country of refugees and that "large numbers remain forcibly displaced."

Car bomb kills at least four in Helmand province

A car bomb killed at least four people on Wednesday when it exploded in Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand district (Pajhwok, TOLO News). Omar Zowak, a spokesman for the provincial governor, said the incident occurred at 11:00 AM near the house of Abdullah Khan, a former district police chief; Khan was wounded in the blast. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Action commences on Kabul Bank investigation

Kabul police chief Lt. Gen. Muhammad Zahir Zahir announced on Tuesday that the city’s police have initiated arrests in the Kabul Bank investigation (Pajhwok). Zahir stated: "We have received a list of 19 individuals and two of them have already been arrested." Sher Khan Farnoud, who was the founder and chairman of Kabul Bank, is reportedly among those accused.  Zahir’s statement follows newly inaugurated Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s direction last week to reopen the case. On Tuesday, Rahmatollah Nazari, Afghanistan’s deputy attorney general announced that the Attorney General’s office would reopen the case (TOLO News).

–David Sterman

Edited by Peter Bergen

David Sterman is a program associate at New America and Assistant Editor of the South Asia Channel. He tweets at @DSterms Twitter: @Dsterms
Neeli Shah is a Washington D.C.-based economics, law, and policy professional. She is a graduate of the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. Twitter: @neelishah

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