The South Asia Channel

Ghani Approval Rating at 84 Percent; U.S. SEALs Involved in bin Laden Killing Admonished; India, Pakistan Exchange Words at U.N

Afghanistan Ghani approval rating at 84 percent A poll conducted by the Afghan firm ATR Consulting and TOLO News during the last week in October found that 84 percent of Afghans approve of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s performance during his first month in office (TOLO News). The poll found that over eight out of ten ...

SHAH MARAI / Stringer
SHAH MARAI / Stringer


Ghani approval rating at 84 percent

A poll conducted by the Afghan firm ATR Consulting and TOLO News during the last week in October found that 84 percent of Afghans approve of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s performance during his first month in office (TOLO News). The poll found that over eight out of ten of the 2,745 respondents were very satisfied or moderately satisfied with Ghani as president; over 6 percent answered they were not satisfied and 10 percent had no opinion or did not know. Ghani has the highest approval rating — 90 percent — in Kabul and the highest disapproval rating from the southern region — 9.3 percent.

Taliban leader killed in clash

In a clash on Monday night between the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) and the Taliban in Faryab province, five Taliban were killed and nine were injured, including a second leader (TOLO News). The clash lasted only one hour and occurred when Taliban attacked Afghan police outposts in the Khaja Sabz Posh district of Faryab. Only one ANSF member was injured.

Boat with Afghan migrants capsizes

A boat carrying 43 Afghan migrants capsized in the Black Sea near Istanbul as it attempted to reach Europe (RFE/RLReuters). So far, only seven have been rescued, 24 have been found dead, and another nine are still missing. Those onboard reportedly paid more than $8,700 each to reach either Bulgaria or Romania (Pajhwok).


U.S. SEALs involved in bin Laden killing admonished

The head of the Naval Warfare Special Command wrote on open letter to all SEALs involved in the killing of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan in 2011 urging their continued silence on the operation (CNN). On Sunday, Navy SEAL Matt Bissonnette was interviewed by the U.S. news program “60 Minutes” about the operation, and in the process, revealed his identity. A second SEAL is scheduled to be the subject of a Fox News documentary that will air November 11 and 12 (Washington Post). The letter, written by Admiral Brian Losey, admonished the two SEALs for seeking public accolades and reminded SEALs of the confidential nature of their missions.

Bombings in northwest Pakistan

An explosion at the Zakakhel Bazaar in Khyber Agency on Tuesday killed two security forces and two civilians (DawnET). A second explosion occurred at the bazaar shortly after, targeting the rescue workers. The blasts targeted security forces and peace committee members, and ten suspects have already been arrested, according to official sources. Violence in the area has increased ever since Pakistan launched Zarb-i-Azb, a military operation against the Pakistani Taliban in northwest Pakistan. No group has claimed responsibility yet.

Flag ceremony continues at Wagah crossing

The flag-lowering ceremony was carried out at the Wagah border crossing despite initial reporting on Monday that it would be suspended after a suicide bombing in the area killed at least 55 people on Sunday (Washington PostBBC). Pakistani police investigating the attack found a second bomb and an explosives vest near the site of the attack. Checkpoints were installed around the ceremonial site by security forces before the attack after gaining intelligence that suggested that attacks could occur; the checkpoints prevented the bomber from gaining access to the main crossing area (Reuters).

— Courtney Schuster


India, Pakistan exchange words at U.N.

India and Pakistan exchanged words at the U.N. General Assembly, during a committee meeting that deals with social, humanitarian, and cultural issues, according to news reports on Tuesday (Economic Times, Indian Express, Times of India). Diyar Khan, a counsellor at Pakistan’s U.N. Mission, said that Pakistan regretted that the people of Jammu and Kashmir had been deprived of their right to self-determination. In response to Khan’s comments, India’s Mayank Joshi dismissed Pakistan’s comments as “unsolicited,” and said they were factually incorrect. Joshi further said free, fair, and open elections were regularly held in the northern state of Jammu and Kashmir.

Khan, exercising the right of reply, questioned India for calling Kashmir a part of India, and cited U.N. Security Council resolutions describing Kashmir as a disputed territory. Joshi responded by saying that the elections in Kashmir had been held under the scrutiny of international media. Khan further claimed that the elections could not be impartial, as they were held under “foreign occupation.” Joshi replied that Kashmir was a part of India and that Khan’s comments were out of context. 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.

Indian Army apologizes after Kashmir firing

The Indian Army fired at a private vehicle in the Budgam district — located in the northern state of Jammu and Kashmir — on Monday, killing two civilians and injuring two others (IBNLive, The Hindu, Economic Times). According to police sources, the troops fired at civilians in a car after they failed to stop at a check-point. Inspector general of police for Kashmir, A. G. Mir, said a first information report had been lodged against the army unit. Mir further said: “The law will take its own course” (Times of India). The Army expressed its regrets for the incident, and issued a statement that said: “Anyone found guilty will be severely dealt with.” Indian Defense Minister Arun Jaitley — @arunjaitley — tweeted: “The Budgam incident in the Kashmir Valley is highly regrettable. A fair enquiry will be held and action taken against those found guilty (sic)” (NDTV). Clashes broke out between protesters and security forces in response to the killing of two youths on Tuesday (Indian Express). As a precautionary measure to maintain law and order, the local authorities imposed a curfew to restrict the movement of the people.

New Delhi to hold elections

The Indian government ratified Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung’s recommendation on Tuesday to dissolve the New Delhi state assembly (Indian Express, The Hindu). Leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Congress party, and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) told Jung on Monday that they did not have the numbers to form a government on their own in New Delhi (Hindustan Times, Livemint). The Indian Supreme Court had recently criticized the central government over the delay in government formation in New Delhi, which has been under the President’s rule after AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal quit as chief minister on February 14. Kejriwal alleged that the BJP and the Congress party were blocking the introduction and passage of the Jan Lokpal, an anti-corruption bill.

Although the BJP is the single largest party in the 70-member state assembly, it does not have a majority. After senior BJP leaders met on Sunday, it was decided that even though the BJP was invited to form a government in New Delhi, the party wants to win a clear majority. New Delhi BJP General Secretary Ramesh Bidhuri said: “We are confident of getting 47 seats. The people of Delhi have seen the AAP government and will not support it again” (Indian Express).

— Neeli Shah and Jameel Khan

Edited by Peter Bergen

Courtney Schuster is a research associate with the International Security Program at New America and an assistant editor with the South Asia Channel.
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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