Qatar Extends Travel Ban for Released Afghan Taliban; Modi First Indian Premier to Visit Israel; 22 Killed in Baloch Bus Attacks
Afghanistan Bonus read: “Afghanistan’s justice system is moving faster — maybe too fast,” Tim Craig (Post) Qatar extends travel ban for released Afghan Taliban On Sunday an anonymous State Department official said that Qatar will extend its monitoring and travel ban of five senior Afghan Taliban who were released from Guantanamo Bay prison as part ...
Bonus read: “Afghanistan’s justice system is moving faster — maybe too fast,” Tim Craig (Post)
Qatar extends travel ban for released Afghan Taliban
On Sunday an anonymous State Department official said that Qatar will extend its monitoring and travel ban of five senior Afghan Taliban who were released from Guantanamo Bay prison as part of the Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl prisoner exchange (RFE/RL, Al Jazeera). The five were released to Qatar where the government was to monitor them and prevent them from traveling outside the country for one year; the expiration date of the agreement was Monday. The travel ban was extended as the U.S. government is in discussions with Qatar over the threat the men might pose to U.S. security.
Taliban claim downing of NATO helicopter
Pajhwok Afghan News is reporting that a NATO helicopter crashed into a mountain in the Koh-i-Safi district of Parwan province on Sunday and that the Taliban have claimed to be responsible (Pajhwok). A Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, said fighters shot and downed the helicopter, killing all aboard, however, NATO Resolute Support Mission told Pajhwok: “We have no operational reporting to support these claims.”
PM Modi will be the first Indian premier to visit Israel
Addressing a press conference on Sunday, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj announced that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be visiting Israel, although exact dates of the visit were being “worked out” (BBC, Hindu, NDTV). No Indian prime minister has ever visited Israel, though in the past India sent a number of ministerial level delegations to Israel on different occasions. Reports indicate Modi’s landmark visit could happen this year after an Indian delegation led by the foreign minister Swaraj visits Israel in July. The two countries share 23 years of diplomatic relations and work together in a number of areas including counter-terrorism, defence, agriculture and the water and energy sectors. Trade between the two countries has grown substantially – from $200m in 1992 when diplomatic relations were established, to about $4.39bn in 2013. In 2013, India was Israel’s 10th largest trade partner and its third largest trade partner in Asia after China and Hong Kong. Israel has also emerged as a major defense supplier to Delhi.
Chicken prices hit an all time high as heatwave continues
Chicken prices in India soared to a record high as an extreme heat wave across the country continues (Reuters). More than 17 million farmed chickens died in May, the highest ever deaths per month. Wholesale chicken prices in western India jumped to a record 95 rupees ($1.49) per kg, up 35 percent from the previous month. Maximum temperature in the southern states Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, which account for a third of India’s poultry output, rose above 47 degrees celsius last week. Although some parts of the country saw monsoon rains begin over the weekend, the relief was limited and the number of people killed due to the extreme weather since mid-April is almost 2,200.
Food and Drug administrators file a criminal case against Nestle India
On Monday, Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan told reporters in New Delhi that FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India) will be investigating a complaint against food manufacturing giant Nestle’s Indian subsidiary, after food inspectors in the country found excess amounts of lead in Maggi’s 2-minute Instant Noodles (Reuters). Earlier on Friday, the food safety and drug administration in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh registered a criminal case in a local court saying it found seven-times the permissible level of lead in a routine test of two dozen noodle packets. Uttar Pradesh FDA officials confirmed on Monday that the complaint included Nestle India, as well as the manufacturing unit, the retailer selling the tainted packs, two Nestle managers and even Bollywood stars who promoted the snack. A spokesman for Nestle, which is now carrying out independent tests, said on Monday the company has not yet been notified of the complaint, and had no further comment.
22 killed in bus attacks in Balochistan
Two buses traveling from Quetta to Karachi were stopped and attacked in Mastung by gunmen dressed as Pakistani security forces Friday night (Reuters, NYT). “Fifteen to 20 armed men in three pickup trucks and wearing security uniforms kidnapped around 35 passengers,” said Sarfaraz Bugti, Balochistan’s home minister. The bodies of 22 passengers were found two kilometers (1.2 miles) from the highway where the bus was stopped. Seven of the gunmen have been killed in a massive search by security forces for those responsible; no group has claimed responsibility for the attack. The New York Times is reporting that ethnic Pashtuns were targeted.
Violence follows local KP elections
On Monday in the Tank district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province eight people were killed and ten were wounded after the results of the local elections were announced (RFE/RL, ET). At the victory party of the winner, Wali Khan, supporters of the losing candidate threw hand grenades into the crowd. Similar attacks were also reported on Sunday in Kohat and Nowshera districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
In the city of Dera Ismali Khan, PTI minister and candidate Ali Amin Gandapur along with armed supporters took ballot boxes from a polling station loaded them into the minister’s car and drove off even after workers from opposition candidates threw stones and slashed the car’s tires (ET). Ali claimed he received complaints that the ballot boxes contained illegal ballots cast for his opposition candidates and blamed the PLM-N. A case has been registered against him.
— Courtney Schuster and Shuja Malik
Edited by Peter Bergen
SHAH MARAI/AFP/Getty Images
More from Foreign Policy
Saudi-Iranian Détente Is a Wake-Up Call for America
The peace plan is a big deal—and it’s no accident that China brokered it.
The U.S.-Israel Relationship No Longer Makes Sense
If Israel and its supporters want the country to continue receiving U.S. largesse, they will need to come up with a new narrative.
Putin Is Trapped in the Sunk-Cost Fallacy of War
Moscow is grasping for meaning in a meaningless invasion.
How China’s Saudi-Iran Deal Can Serve U.S. Interests
And why there’s less to Beijing’s diplomatic breakthrough than meets the eye.