The South Asia Channel

Afghan Taliban Continue Attacks; Pakistani Religious Leaders Condemn Suicide Attacks; Modi Wants to ‘Act East’

Afghanistan Taliban attacks continue in Afghanistan A suicide car bomber attacked a convoy from the European Union (E.U.) police training mission near Kabul’s international airport on Sunday, killing three people (AP, BBC). The bomb exploded near the office of the Afghan Civil Aviation Authority, a few hundred yards from the airport’s main terminal. The blast ...

Afghan security forces inspect the site of a suicide attack in Kabul on May 17, 2015. A powerful suicide blast struck near Kabul airport during the peak morning rush hour on May 17, with several casualties feared, an official said. "Three civilian vehicles, one of them belonging to foreign troops are damaged at the site of the attack," Najib Danish, deputy interior ministry spokesman, told AFP. AFP PHOTO / SHAH Marai        (Photo credit should read SHAH MARAI/AFP/Getty Images)
Afghan security forces inspect the site of a suicide attack in Kabul on May 17, 2015. A powerful suicide blast struck near Kabul airport during the peak morning rush hour on May 17, with several casualties feared, an official said. "Three civilian vehicles, one of them belonging to foreign troops are damaged at the site of the attack," Najib Danish, deputy interior ministry spokesman, told AFP. AFP PHOTO / SHAH Marai (Photo credit should read SHAH MARAI/AFP/Getty Images)

Afghanistan

Taliban attacks continue in Afghanistan

A suicide car bomber attacked a convoy from the European Union (E.U.) police training mission near Kabul’s international airport on Sunday, killing three people (AP, BBC). The bomb exploded near the office of the Afghan Civil Aviation Authority, a few hundred yards from the airport’s main terminal. The blast killed one British citizen, who was part of the E.U. convoy, and two Afghans who were standing nearby, according to Sediq Sediqqi, an interior ministry spokesman. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement emailed to media.

In a separate incident, a Taliban attack in southern Uruzgan province killed at least seven people on Monday (AP). The attack, which targeted a district headquarters, killed five police officers, a former district chief, and a school principal, according to Abdul Kareem Karimi, the chief administrative official in the district. The Taliban also claimed responsibility for the attack. Bonus read: “Afghan forces straining to keep the expanding Taliban at bay,” Tim Craig (Post).

Pakistan

Pakistani religious leaders say attacks are un-Islamic

Some 200 religious scholars issued a fatwa, or religious edict, against suicide attacks on Sunday (RFE/RL, Dawn). The decree, issued at a conference in Lahore, said that suicide attacks are haram (forbidden) under Shari’a law. It also said that the philosophy guiding ISIS, al Qaeda, and other extremist groups was based on ignorance and un-Islamic. The fatwa said that protecting non-Muslims is mandatory for an Islamic state.

Drone strike in northwest Pakistan kills militants

A U.S. drone strike in northwestern Pakistan’s Shawal region killed at least four militants on Saturday (Reuters). The drone fired two missiles and hit a compound in the Wara Mandi area of Shawal Valley. The area is one of the last major strongholds of the Taliban in North Waziristan. “According to internal conversations of the militants, members of the Punjabi Taliban and foreign militants believed to be Arabs were killed in the drone strike,” a security official in Miranshah told Reuters. 

Pakistani company selling fake degrees

A Pakistani software company, called Axact, is making millions of dollars each year from the sale of fake diplomas and degrees online, according to a report in the New York Times by Declan Walsh on Sunday (NYT). Former employees and internal company records reviewed by the New York Times told a similar story: Axact employees manipulate people seeking a real education with elaborate ruses — sometimes even impersonating U.S. government officials — all for profit. “Hands down, this is probably the largest operation we’ve ever seen,” said Allen Ezell, a retired F.B.I. agent and author of a book on diploma mills who has been investigating Axact. “It’s a breathtaking scam.”

India

 

Modi says it is time to “Act East”

Arriving in Seoul on Monday, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said it was now time for India to “Act East” after having had enough time to “Look East” (Hindustan Times, LiveMint). Modi is currently on a three nation Asian tour to China, Mongolia and South Korea, aimed at bolstering India’s economic and diplomatic relationships in the region. On Sunday, he announced that India will be extending a line of credit worth $1 billion to help strengthen Mongolia’s “economic capacity and infrastructure” (Reuters). On Saturday, Modi completed his 3 day visit to China, where the two countries signed trade and economic cooperation deals worth $22 billion (BBC, Guardian). Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi criticized Modi for his extensive trips to foreign countries while ignoring “distressed farmers in Punjab” (Hindustan Times).

Rape victim dies after 42 years in a vegetative state

An Indian nurse, Aruna Shanbaug, died at a hospital on Monday in Mumbai, located in the western state of Maharashtra, after having spent 42 years in a vegetative state (BBC, Hindustan Times, Times of India). In 1973, at the age of 25 Shanbaug was raped and strangled by a member of the hospital cleaning staff. She survived the attack but went into a vegetative state and had been kept alive by force feeding, twice a day. Shanbaug’s case triggered a considerable debate in India about euthanasia laws. In 2011, the Supreme Court of India rejected a plea by author and journalist Pinki Virani to allow for Shanbaug to be taken off life support. Although the Supreme Court had rejected the plea, they had given a ruling which eased the laws regarding euthanasia (BBC).

— Shuja Malik and Emily Schneider

Edited by Peter Bergen

SHAH MARAI/AFP/Getty Images

Emily Schneider is a program associate in the International Security Program at New America. She is also an assistant editor of the South Asia channel. Twitter: @emilydsch
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