The South Asia Channel
Af police found to have links to Taliban; India to probe new black money list; Sharif calls for civil bureaucracy reform
Event Notice: “88 Days to Kandahar,” Tuesday February 10, 12:15-1:45 (New America). Afghanistan Afghan police found to have links to Taliban The National Directorate of Security, Afghanistan’s spy agency, launched an investigation into connections between the Afghan police and the Taliban in Kunduz province (NYT). The investigation began after the interrogation of Mullah Mujahid, a ...
Event Notice: “88 Days to Kandahar,” Tuesday February 10, 12:15-1:45 (New America).
Afghan police found to have links to Taliban
The National Directorate of Security, Afghanistan’s spy agency, launched an investigation into connections between the Afghan police and the Taliban in Kunduz province (NYT). The investigation began after the interrogation of Mullah Mujahid, a Taliban commander in Kunduz who was arrested last month, revealed that the police aided the Taliban by providing ammunition or even tipping them off to upcoming operations. According to Abdul Wadud Paiman, a member of Parliament from Kunduz, and Wasi Basil, a spokesman for the provincial governor, at least 32 officers are under suspicion and of those, 12 have been arrested, including several senior commanders, while others have been fired or suspended.
ISIS commander killed in drone strike
Mullah Abdul Rauf, a Taliban commander who defected to ISIS, was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Helmand province while traveling in a car on Monday (AP, BBC). Deputy Governor Mohammad Jan Rassoul Yar told Pajhwok Afghan News that three people were killed while others were wounded while a Taliban source said six people had been killed including Rauf, his brother-in-law, and four Pakistani fighters (Pajhwok). Rauf spent six years detained in Guantanamo Bay, and he reportedly joined ISIS several months ago after a falling out with Taliban leader Mullah Omar.
Just one day before — on Sunday — Ministry of Interior spokesman, Sediq Sediqqi, rejected the presence of ISIS fighters in Afghanistan, saying the rumors of ISIS sightings were “nothing more than publicity,” and “the security agencies were aware of the movements of all enemies of the country” (TOLO News).
Ghani attends Munich security conference
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani attended the 51st Munich Security Conference over the weekend (TOLO News). On Sunday, the second day of talks, Ghani urged European leaders to remain involved in Afghanistan even as new threats emerge in the Middle East. Ghani said: “In the region, we have experience with countries who provide safe haven to terrorists and support them.” He continued: “Also, there are non-governmental actors who threaten our security and it must be made clear that the era of interference is long gone.”
— Courtney Schuster
India to probe new black money list
Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Monday that the government will check the veracity of the newly-released list of Indians with Swiss bank accounts, after an international body of journalists released secret documents from HSBC’s Swiss private banking unit (Indian Express, BBC, NDTV, Livemint). The HSBC report lists 1,195 Indians including politicians, prominent corporate leaders, and non-resident Indians, who are allegedly holding a combined total of $4 billion in their accounts. Jaitley said that the government was aware of most of the released names, and said further: “The question is not about names but evidences that we need” (Times of India). He also said that the government has initiated legal proceedings against 60 people who have allegedly parked black or untaxed money in illegal foreign accounts. According to experts, Indians hold about $500 billion in overseas tax havens. Last year, the Supreme Court appointed a special team to probe “black money” deposited in foreign tax havens.
Indian government clarifies nuclear liability deal
The Indian Ministry of External Affairs issued a press release on Sunday explaining that India’s liability law will not be amended, two weeks after U.S. President Barack Obama announced that the United States and India reached a “breakthrough understanding” on the civil nuclear deal (The Hindu, Indian Express, Livemint). The press release states that victims of a nuclear incident cannot sue foreign suppliers of the reactors for damages, however, the operator can sue foreign suppliers. This understanding between the countries was reached after three rounds of discussions between the Indo-U.S. Nuclear Contact Group.
India, Pakistan suspend trade on Kashmir border
Trade on the Line of Control — LoC, a military boundary between the Indian and Pakistani-controlled parts of Kashmir — stopped on Friday, after Indian police arrested a Pakistani truck driver for allegedly smuggling in 305 packets of narcotics (Indian Express, The Hindu, Hindustan Times). In response to the arrest, Pakistan stopped 50 Indian drivers from returning to the northern state of Jammu and Kashmir. Although trade across the LoC started in 2008, it has been suspended several times.
Basharat Iqbal, Pakistan’s trade facilitation officer, said: “We were informed by the Indian authorities on Friday evening that they have stopped 22 Pakistani trucks which crossed the Line of Control (LOC) earlier that day… They told us that they had discovered 12 kilogrammes of opium from a truck carrying oranges and were taking an action against the driver. After the incident, we also held 50 Indian trucks in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), because traffic crosses the border simultaneously” (ET).
— Neeli Shah
Sharif calls for civil bureaucracy reform
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif criticized the efficiency of civil bureaucracy in Pakistan and called for reforms (ET). In a high-level meeting at the Prime Minister House, Sharif said: “It is a point of concern that various officers, even those at the senior level, are lacking in competence and initiative which is hampering service delivery to the public,” (Dawn). The meeting was a follow-up to Sharif establishing on Sunday an Evaluation, Monitoring and Delivery Cell in the Prime Minister’s Office designed to keep tabs on the work of key ministries and which is to deliver a report on reforming the civil structure within four months.
China admits involvement in Pakistani nuclear projects
Wang Xiaotao, a key official of the National Development and Reform Commission confirmed on Monday that China has been involved in the construction of at least six nuclear reactors in Pakistan that have a total capacity of 3.4 million kilowatts (ET). China declared involvement in two reactors, Chashma-1 and Chashma-2, at the time of joining the Nuclear Suppliers Group, and in 2009, signed agreements for two new reactors, Chashma-3 and Chashma-4.
Pakistani ambassador to U.S. speaks on India, U.S.
Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States, Jalil Abbas Jilani, gave his first big interview since taking the post one year ago (ET, Washington Times). Jilani critiqued the Obama administration, telling the Washington Times that it “could and should be doing more to foster peace in South Asia by pressuring India to embrace economic and counterterrorism overtures from Islamabad.” Jilani added that India displayed a “kind of arrogance not to engage,” in Pakistani efforts to create a joint counterterrorism initiative, and continued: “The Obama administration’s increased attention to India appears to be having the opposite effect by essentially bolstering New Delhi’s confidence to continue ignoring Islamabad.”
Despite his criticism on the United States, Jilani was positive in his assessment of U.S.-Pakistani relations, saying: “Today there are more convergences than divergences in our bilateral relations, whether it is in the context of Afghanistan or other hot spots in the region, in terms of bilateral cooperation, our side is extremely happy with the very good cooperation that we are getting from the U.S.”
— Courtney Schuster
Edited by Peter Bergen
Noorullah Shirzada/AFP/Getty Images