Malala, Satyarthi Win Nobel Peace Prize; Pakistani Extremists Attack Iran; Air Strikes in Afghanistan at 2 Year High
India and Pakistan Bonus Read: "I Am Malala," Daud Khattak (South Asia) Malala, Satyarthi win Nobel Peace Prize Malala Yousafzai, a 17-year-old Pakistani schoolgirl now living in England, became the youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner on Friday, after the prize was awarded to her and India’s Kailash Satyarthi for work they have done on children’s ...
India and Pakistan
India and Pakistan
Bonus Read: "I Am Malala," Daud Khattak (South Asia)
Malala, Satyarthi win Nobel Peace Prize
Malala Yousafzai, a 17-year-old Pakistani schoolgirl now living in England, became the youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner on Friday, after the prize was awarded to her and India’s Kailash Satyarthi for work they have done on children’s rights (AP, NYT, BBC, DAWN, Economic Times, Indian Express). Nobel Committee chairman Thorbjorn Jagland announced the award, stating: "The Nobel Committee regards it as an important point for a Hindu and a Muslim, an Indian and a Pakistani, to join in a common struggle for education and against extremism."
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif congratulated Malala saying: "She is (the) pride of Pakistan. She has made her countrymen proud. Her achievement is unparalleled and unequalled. Girls and boys of the world should take the lead from her struggle and commitment" (ET). Malala has long been an advocate for children’s rights, despite being the target of an October 2012 attack during which she was shot in Pakistan by the Taliban. Malala is Pakistan’s second Nobel laureate and first Nobel Peace Prize winner. Pakistan’s first Nobel laureate was Abdus Salam, who won the physics prize along with American Steven Weinberg in 1979.
Satyarthi, the Indian Nobel winner, founded the Bachpan Bachao Andolan (Save the Childhood Movement), which works to end human trafficking. The Nobel Peace Prize Committee recognized his work for maintaining the traditions of Mahatma Gandhi, and "focusing on the grave exploitation of children for financial gain." Prime Minister Narendra Modi — @narendramodi — congratulated Satyarthi, and tweeted: "Congratulations to Shri Kailash Satyarthi on being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The entire nation is proud of his momentous achievement." Modi, also congratulated Malala, and tweeted: "Malala Yousafzai’s life is a journey of immense grit & courage. I congratulate her on being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize."
Decline in firing on Indo-Pakistan border
After days of cross-border firing, there was silence along the Indo-Pakistan border on Friday, a day after both sides exchanged verbal warnings (The Nation, NDTV). While Indian military officials claim there have been over 110 ceasefire violations by Pakistan so far this year, Pakistani military officials claim there have been 227 violations by India (Livemint). The continuous firings in the past week resulted in the death of nine Pakistani and eight Indian civilians.
Sharif chaired a meeting with the National Security Committee on Friday, and condemned the unprovoked firing from across the border (Dawn). Sharif condemned the loss of innocent lives, and called on India to halt the firing on the border. Modi announced a compensation on Friday for the nearly 30,000 Kashmiris displaced by the recent firing. A statement from the prime minister’s office on Friday said: "Prime Minister Narendra Modi has directed that people who have been displaced from the border villages of Jammu and Kashmir due to dastardly acts of shelling by Pakistan over the last few days, be suitably compensated" (Economic Times).
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.
— David Sterman, Neeli Shah, and Jameel Khan
Pakistani extremists increase attacks on Iran
Pakistani Sunni extremists have increased their attacks on Iranian border posts, according to a report on Thursday by the New York Times’ Thomas Erdbrink (NYT). Recent attacks include a car bomb that killed a senior officer and prompted Iranian calls for Pakistan to control its borders, as well as an ambush on Tuesday that killed three police officers. A separate attack in September involved a 1000-pound car bomb, which was followed by a convoy of armed men in pick up trucks who attacked an Iranian base. According to Iranian Brig. Gen. Mohammad Pakpur, that attack was only repelled after a long firefight and the arrival of reinforcements by helicopter. Esma’il Kowsari, an Iranian lawmaker, stated: "The Pakistani government has practically no control over the border areas, and if they really cannot control the common border, they should tell us so that we ourselves can take action."
Kidnapped engineers freed
Two Pakistani engineers who had been kidnapped in Afghanistan in September were freed on Thursday (ET). The engineers had been working in construction in Jawzjan province. The provincial police chief, Faqir Muhammad Jawzjani, said that local elders had helped free the two men, and that the Taliban were not involved. Jawzjani suggested that a ransom was paid though the construction company the engineers worked for denied his claim. Afghan Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid also said the Taliban had not kidnapped the engineers.
Bonus Read: "Afghanistan’s New First Lady," Aarya Nijat (South Asia)
Air strikes hit two-year high
In August, the monthly number of American air strikes in Afghanistan hit its highest number in two years (Boston Globe, Navy Times). The United States conducted strikes at nearly triple the average rate since January. According to U.S. Central Command, there were 436 ‘weapons releases’ in August compared to an average of about 150 for the past seven months. ISAF spokesman Army Lt. Col. Chris Belcher attributed the rise in strikes to increased fighting during the warmer "fighting season" and to the Afghan National Security Forces’ (ANSF) increased role on the ground as American forces withdraw. According to Belcher, as the ANSF takes more of a leading role, "we expect to see a corresponding increase in airstrikes in support of their operations."
Afghanistan announces Ebola screening at airports
Afghanistan’s Ministry of Public Health announced on Thursday that it has deployed teams to screen for Ebola at the country’s airports (Pajhwok). The ministry’s deputy director of health services, Dr. Najia Tariq, stated: "Our teams will monitor flights landing at airports to ensure the virus does not reach the country." Tariq also said that pamphlets on the disease are being distributed to Afghan hajj pilgrims.
Shelling from Pakistan slows
Shelling from Pakistan into Afghanistan’s Kunar province has slowed since the signing of the Bilateral Security Agreement with the United States, Shujaul Mulk Jalala, the provincial governor, told Afghanistan’s Pajhwok Afghan News on Thursday (Pajhwok). Jalala noted, however, that the shelling had not stopped and claimed that 156 rockets had been fired into Kunar from Pakistan in the last ten days. The cross-border shelling has been a recurring source of tension between the two countries.
— David Sterman
Indian govt to track its employees’ attendance
The Indian government has introduced a new electronic surveillance system to track the punctuality of government officials, who are known to take frequent tea breaks and show up late for work, according to news reports on Friday (Indian Express, Livemint). Biometric attendance terminals have been installed in government buildings, and employees are checked in through their fingerprints and a unique identification number. The website, which keeps track of the government employees’ attendance, is publicly available, and allows users to see a real-time chart of how many government employees are present at work.
So far, over 50,000 employees have registered on the site, and around 10,000 more are expected to join this month. Speaking about the project, Shefali Sushil Dash, the project coordinator of the National Informatics Center, the agency responsible for e-government initiatives, said: "It all started with the Prime Minister [Narendra Modi] giving the idea" (NDTV). During the election campaign earlier this year, Modi had pledged to change the work culture in government offices.
India prepares for cyclone Hudhud
Indian authorities on Friday stocked up on rations and planned evacuations as a powerful cyclone named Hudhud (the name of a bird) heads for the southeastern coast of India (NDTV, BBC, Times of India). The Indian Meteorological Department said that the center of the storm was expected to hit the city of Vishakapatnam in Andhra Pradesh. Home Minister Rajnath Singh spoke to the chief ministers of Odisha, Telangana, and Andhra Pradesh, where the cyclone is expected to hit on Sunday. Cyclones are common in eastern India; last year, as many as 500,000 people were evacuated and 53 people were killed when Cyclone Phailin swept through Odisha and Andhra Pradesh.
— Neeli Shah and Jameel Khan
Edited by Peter Bergen
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