Pakistani Taliban Set Up Afghan Sanctuary; UK Ends Afghan Combat Operations; India Clears $13 Billion in Defense Projects
Editor’s Note: New America’s International Security Program is looking for a Project Manager to join our team in Washington, D.C. to support our efforts to create a primer and a corresponding database on the development potential of unmanned aerial vehicles. For more information about this one-year contract position, as well as the application requirements, please ...
Editor's Note: New America's International Security Program is looking for a Project Manager to join our team in Washington, D.C. to support our efforts to create a primer and a corresponding database on the development potential of unmanned aerial vehicles. For more information about this one-year contract position, as well as the application requirements, please check out the employment listing here.
Editor’s Note: New America’s International Security Program is looking for a Project Manager to join our team in Washington, D.C. to support our efforts to create a primer and a corresponding database on the development potential of unmanned aerial vehicles. For more information about this one-year contract position, as well as the application requirements, please check out the employment listing here.
Event Notice: "Islamophobia, Extremism, and the Domestic War on Terror: A discussion with Arun Kundnani on his new book The Muslims are Coming!," October 28, 12:15 PM (New America)
Pakistani Taliban setting up Afghan sanctuaries
The Pakistani Taliban, facing pressure from Pakistan’s military operation in North Waziristan, is setting up sanctuaries in Afghanistan according to a report in Pakistan’s Express Tribune newspaper on Monday (ET). An anonymous senior Pakistani security official stated: "It is a worrying development that the TTP is regrouping close to the border right under the nose of the Afghan security forces." The official would not rule out "tacit support" from the Afghan government, though another official suggested that the new Afghan unity government might be more forceful on the issue. Bonus Read: "The Afghan Roots of Pakistan’s Zarb-e-Azb Operation," Umar Farooq (South Asia).
Mehsud Taliban jirga formed to negotiate with government
The Mehsud Taliban faction formed a tribal jirga, a traditional assembly of leaders, which met on Saturday and approved negotiations with the Pakistani government, according to a report today in Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper (Dawn). The jirga is led by the father in law of the group’s slain leader Baitullah Mehsud. The Mehsud faction split from the Pakistani Taliban in May 2014, and is now headed by Khan Said, who was reportedly involved in a 2011 attack on a Pakistani naval base and the 2012 jailbreak that freed 400 prisoners in Bannu province.
Tropical cyclone Nilofar likely to hit Pakistan
A depression over the Arabian Sea is expected to transform into tropical cyclone Nilofar and hit the coastal areas of Pakistan’s Sindh and Balochistan provinces on Monday or Tuesday (ET, Dawn). Muhammad Tauseef, the chief meteorologist at Karachi’s National Seismic Monitoring Centre said the cyclone would likely weaken by the time it hit the coast. He, however, added: "But we cannot ignore the possibility of heavy rainfall and thunderstorms." The government has issued warnings to fishermen in the potentially affected areas.
India seeks Pakistani transit route to export wheat to Afghanistan
India is seeking to export wheat to Afghanistan via Pakistan, according to reports on Monday (Dawn, Times of India). The move has angered the local Pakistani wheat industry, which worries that cheaper Indian wheat will push them out of the Afghan market. Pakistani wheat producers accuse India of subsidizing its wheat production.
— David Sterman
Bonus Read: "How Afghanistan Can Kick Its Drug Habit," M. Ashraf Haidari (South Asia).
Bonus Read: "War amputees in Afghanistan face harsh lives of discrimination and poverty," Erin Cunningham (Post).
United Kingdom ends combat operations in Afghanistan
On Sunday, British troops and U.S. Marines ended combat operations in Afghanistan, turning over two adjacent bases in Helmand province, Camp Bastion and Camp Leatherneck, to the Afghan National Army’s 215th Corps (BBC, Pajhwok). The United States is leaving an estimated $230 million in equipment and property behind for Afghan forces (Reuters). The New York Times reports that officials expressed "cautious optimism" while a statement from the International Security Assistance Force assured that: "Because of the competence, resolve and combined skills of the A.N.S.F. [Afghan National Security Forces], insurgent networks have become ineffective in Helmand Province" (NYT). Bonus Read: "In pictures: UK troops in Afghanistan 2001-2014" (BBC).
Provincial election results announced after months of delay
The Afghan Independent Election Commission (IEC) announced on Saturday the results of the April provincial elections, declaring the 458 individuals who won provincial council seats — including 97 women (TOLO News, Pajhwok). Results were delayed due to complaints that the some of the over six million votes cast were fraudulent, and 747,000 votes were invalidated by an audit. The Meshrano Jirga (the upper house of parliament) launched an inquiry into the results amidst claims by legislators that their names were wrongfully excluded from the final list of winners (Pajhwok). One senator, Rafiullah Gul Afghan, claims to have evidence that election officials received bribes.
Mullah sentenced to 20 years for rape
Mullah Mohammad Amin, an imam at a mosque in rural Kunduz province, was sentenced on Sunday to 20 years in prison for raping a 10 year-old girl in May (TOLO News, RFE/RL). After the attack, the girl was placed in the care of Women for Afghan Women, a Kabul-based women’s rights NGO, because her family had plotted to kill her out of shame (NYT). The family expressed outrage that the sentence was not harsher; the gang rape of four women resulted in the hangings of the five accused earlier this month (NYT). Afghanistan’s law on violence against women under which the Mullah was charged does not provide for the death penalty for any offense against women and the five men from the earlier gang rape were sentenced to die for armed robbery.
State owned businesses experience 90% revenue drop
Afghanistan’s state owned businesses are on track for a 90 percent drop in revenue according to officials from the Ministry of Finance, Afghanistan’s TOLO News reported on Sunday (TOLO News). Abdul Qader Jeelani, a spokesman for the ministry stated: "This year two billion Afghanis [$35 million] was set as the target, but so far 377 million AFN [$6.6 million] have been collected in the government account, which is a lot less than the set target." In 2013 state owned businesses had total revenues of 3.4 billion Afghanis ($59.5 million).
Militants kill at least four police officers
At least four policemen were killed on Sunday in attacks on Afghan security checkpoints in the Wardoj district of Badakhshan province (RFE/RL). The checkpoints were attacked simultaneously (TOLO News, Post). No group has claimed responsibility for the attacks but Lal Mohammad Ahmadzai, a spokesman for Badakhshan police chief, told the Express Tribune that "about 300 Taliban" were responsible (ET). On Monday, in a separate attack, five militants stormed an appeal court in Kunduz province, killing three security guards and one civilian (Pajhwok, TOLO News). Two suicide bombers were able to detonate their bombs during the attack.
— Courtney Schuster and David Sterman
India clears defense projects over $13 billion
India’s Defense Acquisition Council, chaired by Defense Minister Arun Jaitley, cleared deals over $13 billion according to news reports on Saturday (Livemint, The Guardian, Indian Express). India’s new deals include 12 Dornier aircrafts, 362 infantry combat vehicles, and six submarines manufactured indigenously. India will also purchase over 8,000 Israeli Spike missiles and 321 launchers in a deal worth $525 million. Spike, an anti-tank missile, built by Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defence Systems, beat out the rival U.S. Javelin weapons system, built by Lockheed Martin and the Raytheon Company. According to analysts, India is set to invest as much as $250 billion to upgrade its Soviet-era military hardware. India is the world’s largest arms importer according to a report released in March by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (AJE). India accounted for 14 percent of the world’s arms imports. China and Pakistan, the two next largest arms importers each accounted for five percent of the world’s arms imports.
Indian government names individuals on black money list
The Indian government disclosed to the Supreme Court on Monday the names of three Indians who have stashed money in foreign banks to evade taxes (Livemint, Times of India). The government named Pradip Burman, promoter of Dabur India Limited, one of India’s top consumer goods companies, Gujarat-based bullion trader Pankaj Chimanlal Lodhiya, and Radha S. Timblo, a Goa-based miner. In an affidavit submitted to the court, the government stated that it would reveal names from the black money list after tax evasion was established, and clarified that: "Every foreign account held by an Indian may not be illegal and names cannot be disclosed unless there is prima facie evidence of wrongdoing."
Shares of Dabur fell sharply on Monday after Burman was named on the black money list. Dabur issued a statement, which said: "We wish to state that this account was opened when he [Burman] was an [non resident Indian] NRI, and was legally allowed to open this account. We have followed all the laws and the complete details regarding the account have been voluntarily, and as per law, filed with the Income Tax Department, and appropriate taxes paid" (Hindustan Times). Lodhiya denied any wrongdoing, and said: "I do not have any Swiss account. I have declared all assets and I have not been served any notice" (NDTV).
PM Modi entertains NDA MPs over high tea
Prime Minister Narendra Modi hosted a post-Diwali high tea for all members of parliament (MPs) of the ruling coalition, National Democratic Alliance, on Sunday where he told the MPs: "Let us think big. Let us think far. Let us think above politics" (Times of India, BBC). Modi further said that MPs should be deeply involved in the implementation of welfare programs introduced by the Modi government. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) General Secretary Rajiv Pratap Rudy told reporters after the meeting: "There was an elaborate discussion on many issues which the government has brought to the nation. We had an address by the Prime Minister who talked about cleanliness, various issues before the government, how a common MP can change things in this country, how a common MP can be a symbol of positive political entity and how the respectability of politicians can be enhanced in the country" (Indian Express).
— Neeli Shah and Jameel Khan
Edited by Peter Bergen
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