Former SEAL Asserts He was bin Laden Shooter; PM Modi Adopts a Village; Hearing Set for Afghan Fighter Trial
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Editor’s Note: New America’s International Security Program is looking for a Project Manager – UAVs and Development 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.
Former SEAL asserts he was bin Laden shooter
Robert O’Neil told the Washington Post on Thursday that he was the Navy SEAL who fired the shot that killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan in May 2011 (Washington Post, NYT). O’Neil is now the second SEAL to come forward and claim to have shot bin Laden; Matt Bissonnette, who published a memoir of the event in 2012, was the first. Two special operations sources told CNN National Security analyst Peter Bergen that O’Neil was a shooter in the room where bin Laden was found (CNN). Doubts about the accuracy of O’Neil’s account are surfacing. There were at least two other SEALs in the room shooting at the same time and present and former members of SEAL Team 6 regard Bissonnette’s account of events more credible than O’Neil’s (CNN).
Sharif visits China to sign agreements
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif left on Friday for a two-day visit to China where he will sign 27 Memoranda of Understanding and agreements on a trade corridor connecting Pakistan with Central Asia, 21 of which agreements are related to energy (ET, Dawn). The energy agreements will cost an estimated $33 billion while other development project agreements will cost $4 billion (ET). Sharif will also attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Informal Leaders’ meeting in Beijing. Mussadiq Malik, spokesperson for Sharif, told reporters that Sharif’s visit to China is aimed at rebuilding investor confidence in Pakistan, adding that: “Whatever investment the Chinese will be making as a result of these projects will not be a loan to the government of Pakistan.”
Police officer kills man in custody
On Wednesday a police officer in Gurjat in Punjab province brutally killed Tufail Haider, a man who had been arrested the previous day for injuring two people (Dawn, ET). The officer, Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI) Faraz Naveed, fatally hit Tufail with an axe when the two men got into an argument during an interrogation. ASI Naveed later said that Tufail had insulted Islam while other officers in the department said that Tufail was mentally unstable. ASI Naveed has been taken into custody and legal proceedings against him have already begun.
TTP appoints new spokesperson
Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) released a statement on Friday that a new spokesperson, Muhammad Khurasani, will be replacing the “formally sacked” spokesperson, Shahidullah Shahid (ET). Shahid left the group in October along with five other senior TTP leaders to join ISIS. The TTP statement also announced the group’s support for Lashkar-e-Islam, which is currently under attack by security forces in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
— Courtney Schuster
PM Modi adopts a village
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi adopted Jayapur village in his Lok Sabha (lower house of Parliament) constituency, Varanasi, located in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh on Friday, to make it a “model” village under a federal scheme (BBC, Economic Times). During his visit to Varanasi, Modi inaugurated a power loom service center and laid a foundation stone for the trade facilitation center and crafts museum. In his two-day visit to Varanasi, Modi will talk to the locals to learn about their problems.
Modi pitched for modernization of the textile sector through “technological upgradation” and “human resource development.” Modi said: “Everyone in the world knows about Varanasi’s textiles. You must strategically plan to reach the global consumer” (NDTV). Varanasi is known for silk products crafted by its 40,000 weavers, the majority of whom are Muslims. During his election campaign earlier this year, Modi had committed to improve the conditions of local weavers who have fallen upon hard times.
Modi urged villagers not to depend on the government to solve their problems and said that policies framed by “big” people in New Delhi had failed to improve the conditions of villages. He said: “I, a small man, will bring about big things through my small talk” (Indian Express). Modi also spoke against female foeticide, and said: “Those who look upon the girl child as a liability should ponder as to how will mankind survive if we are left in a world with no women. If we kill girl child in the mother’s womb, then what will happen to the world. If only 800 girls are born against 1,000 boys, then 200 boys will remain unmarried. Will government do this job?” (Livemint).
Indian Navy vessel sinks
The Indian Navy’s Torpedo Recovery Vessel (TRV) sunk off the Visakhapatnam coast — located in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh — during a naval exercise on Thursday, killing one sailor (Indian Express, NDTV). While 23 people were rescued, four were reported missing. The Navy issued a statement, which said: “The vessel was on a routine mission to recover torpedoes fired by fleet ships during a routine exercise, when it experienced flooding in one of its compartments” (Livemint). The TRV is an auxiliary vessel used to recover practice torpedoes fired by fleet ships and submarines.
Indian hospital home to 70,000 rats
An Indian government hospital — located in the central state of Madhya Pradesh — has spent $89,511 to get rid of 70,000 rats hiding in about 8,000 rat-holes, according to news reports on Friday (BBC,Hindustan Times, NDTV). The hospital has named the task “Operation Kayakalp” (Operation Makeover), and so far 2,500 rats have been killed. The rats damaged medical equipment and were visible under beds, in toilets, and in food prepared for the patients. The hospital’s previous pest control drive was 20 years ago. The company killing the rats hopes to accomplish the task by Dec. 4.
— Neeli Shah and Jameel Khan
Hearing set for Afghanistan fighter trial
Irek Hamidullin, the first military detainee from the Afghan war to be transferred to face trial in the United States, is scheduled to be arraigned on Friday in a Virginia court (AP). Hamidullin is charged with twelve counts including material support to terrorists. According to the indictment, Hamidullin was captured in 2009 and was a Russian soldier during the 1980s.
Pakistan offers to train Afghan soldiers
Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff Gen. Raheel Sharif offered Pakistani support for Afghanistan including the training of Afghan soldiers during a meeting on Thursdaywith with Afghan Defense Minister Gen. Bismillah Mohammadi (Pajhwok). Sharif said preventing terrorism was in both countries’ interests while Mohammadi stated the importance of continued meetings. The meeting follows the Pentagon’s release of a report assessing Afghan security which accused Pakistan of continuing to use militant proxy forces in Afghanistan (RFE/RL). Pakistan said it took “serious exception” to the report’s claims on Wednesday and that it had conveyed its displeasure to US Ambassador Richard Olson.
Russia promises continued support as NATO withdraws
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday promised continued Russian support for Afghanistan as NATO forces withdraw from the country (Pajhwok). Putin stated: “The people of Afghanistan can count on Russia’s support if the situation in the country gets complicated following the withdrawal of the international security assistance force.” In the past, Russia has supported NATO forces in Afghanistan, allowing the transfer of weapons and forces through its territory.
Pakistan deports 78 Afghans
Pakistan deported 78 Afghan citizens through the Torkham border crossing, according to reports on Friday (Pajhwok). The Afghans were arrested in the Pakistani city of Peshawar. Massoud Khan, Pakistan’s United Nations representative, urged Afghanistan to provide homes for returning refugees, stating: “We want the Afghan refugees to return to their home country with respect.” Pakistan is currently home to almost 1.5 million Afghan refugees.
Turkey returns bodies
Afghanistan’s consulate in Istanbul, Turkey said on Thursday that preparations were being made to return the bodies of Afghan migrants who died when their boat capsized near Turkey earlier this week (Pajhwok). Two bodies have been handed over to family members already. Six people were rescued alive from the capsized boat, 23 bodies were recovered, and 13 people are still missing.
— David Sterman
Edited by Peter Bergen
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