Afghanistan Captures Two Haqqani Leaders; Firing on Indo-Pak Border; India Army: ISIS Flags in Kashmir Raise Concerns
Bonus Read: "A Solider Reports: The Education of John Nagl," Daniel Green (South Asia) Event Notice: "Modern War in Theory and Practice: A discussion with Dr. John Nagl on his new book Knife Fights," Oct. 27, 1:15 PM (New America) Afghanistan Bonus Read: "Afghanistan’s Political Transition" (ICG) Two Haqqani leaders captured Afghan security officials ...
Bonus Read: "A Solider Reports: The Education of John Nagl," Daniel Green (South Asia)
Event Notice: "Modern War in Theory and Practice: A discussion with Dr. John Nagl on his new book Knife Fights," Oct. 27, 1:15 PM (New America)
Bonus Read: "Afghanistan’s Political Transition" (ICG)
Two Haqqani leaders captured
Afghan security officials arrested two Haqqani Network figures on Tuesday, including Anes Haqqani, the group’s second in command and son of Jalaluddin Haqqani, the network’s founder (WSJ, AFP). According to Afghan intelligence sources, Anes Haqqani ran the network’s fundraising in Gulf countries and oversaw its social media apparatus. The other captured figure was Hafiz Rashid, the network’s military commander in eastern Afghanistan. Haseeb Sadiqi, a spokesman for Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security stated: "We hope that these two arrests will have direct consequences on the network and their centre of command."
Meanwhile, Mullah Abdul Rahman Maldar, a high-ranking Taliban commander, was killed on Wednesday in Herat province, according to local officials (TOLO News). Maldar was reportedly killed along with 14 other Taliban fighters in a drone strike in the Loka Sang area of Herat’s Oba district. The Taliban have not yet commented on his death.
Afghanistan’s first lady takes public role
Afghanistan’s new first lady, Rula Ghani, has engendered both support and opposition as she takes an unprecedented public role according to reporting in the New York Times by Declan Walsh and Rod Nordland (NYT). Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s wife, Zeenat Karzai, rarely had a public role – even acknowledging in an interview that: "People don’t hear from me very much." In contrast, newly inaugurated Afghan President Ashraf Ghani publicly stated that Mrs. Ghani would have a public role during his inauguration speech. Shafic Gawhari, a media company CEO, called the declaration "one of the best parts of his speech." Opposition to Mrs. Ghani’s public role not only focuses on her gender but also on her Lebanese and Christian background. As Hamida Asazai, a microfinance officer from Wardak province put it: "A foreigner cannot feel the Afghan pain." Bonus Read: "The Underground Girls of Kabul," Emily Schneider (South Asia)
Modi congratulates Ghani
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Ashraf Ghani on his assumption of the presidency in a phone conversation on Wednesday (Pajhwok). Modi noted India’s support for Afghanistan and extended an invitation for Ghani to visit India at his earliest opportunity, which Ghani accepted.
Public Health Ministry: 6,000 regained eyesight
Afghanistan’s public health ministry announced on Thursday that it had treated 89,000 patients for eyesight related issues and that 6,000 had regained their eyesight in the past four years (Pajhwok). Deputy Minister Najia Tariq spoke on World Sight Day and called eye diseases a serious threat. According to Noor Hospital Director Dr. Asmatullah, 25,000 people lose their eyesight each year in Afghanistan.
Firing continues on Indo-Pak border
Indian forces fired into the Pakistani controlled parts of Kashmir on Wednesday, wounding four children, according to Pakistani military officials (AP). Pakistan’s military stated: "Pakistani troops befittingly responded to Indian firing." Indian officials confirmed the incident but blamed Pakistan for initiating small arms firing on the Poonch sector on Tuesday. While cross-border firing is common, the recent round has been particularly intense with 20 deaths since Oct. 5.
ISPR: Air strikes kill 21 militants
Pakistani air strikes killed at least 21 militants on Thursday in the Tirah Valley in Khyber Agency, according to an Inter-Services Public Relations statement (Dawn). The strikes occurred in the Akakhel and Sipah areas. Due to lack of media access, reporters are unable to independently confirm the government’s claims regarding the strike.
Pakistan’s first dengue death in 2014
Pakistan experienced its first dengue related death in 2014 on Friday (ET, Dawn). The patient who died was one of 44 people from Lahore who contracted the disease, which has spread widely in Pakistan. In Punjab province alone, 386 people reportedly have dengue.
— David Sterman
India Army: ISIS flags in Kashmir raise concerns
A senior Indian Army official, Lieutenant General Subrata Saha, said on Wednesday that the waving of ISIS flags in Kashmir is a matter of concern, and "deserves the highest attention of the security agencies" (NDTV, Times of India). ISIS flags and banners appeared in the northern state of Jammu and Kashmir recently. Saha further said: "ISIS has the capacity of attracting youths and that is a concern for us." Saha’s comment came a day after Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah denied the presence of ISIS in the state. Abdullah said: "You have to understand that no ISIS group has been identified so far in the Valley. The flag… was waved by some idiots, which does not mean that ISIS has any presence in Kashmir. Unfortunately, some channels have tried to make an issue out of this and drag me into this as if we are not doing anything about it" (Livemint).
India reacts to China’s concerns on proposed road
Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh said on Thursday that nobody should "threaten or warn India," in response to China’s objection to India building a road along the border in the northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh (NDTV, Hindustan Times). Singh further said: "India has grown in strength. Both sides should resolve the border issue through dialogue." China had reacted on Wednesday to India’s proposed plan, with Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hong Lie saying: "There is a dispute about the eastern part of the China-India border. Before final settlement is reached we hope that India will not take any action that may further complicate the situation" (Indian Express). In September, India and China had their biggest military standoff this year, with both countries mobilizing troops along the border. Tensions between India and China flare up occasionally as both nations disagree over the demarcation of the shared border.
Modi unveils labor reforms
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday launched six new labor initiatives, and stressed that labor reforms and skill development are essential to make India a global manufacturing hub (BBC, Livemint). Modi said: "Ease of business is the biggest requirement to make ‘Make in India’ a success" (Indian Express). In September, Modi launched the "Make in India" campaign to make it easier for companies to do business in India by cutting red tape and developing infrastructure. Presently, manufacturing contributes only 15 percent of India’s gross domestic product. The Modi government wants to raise manufacturing to 25 percent.
The new initiatives include a unified web portal where employers can submit a single compliance report, a labor inspection scheme, and a skill development and apprenticeship scheme. Under the new inspection initiative, labor inspectors will not be able to inspect companies arbitrarily. A computerized system will randomly send them on inspections, and inspectors will have to upload their reports within 72 hours. The new system aims to end the so-called inspector raj (rule), which typically resulted in inspectors harassing companies. Modi said: "Inspector Raj…we heard this since our childhood and we thought it is for policemen, only but then we realised it’s a lot more" (NDTV).
— Neeli Shah and Jameel Khan
Edited by Peter Bergen
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