The South Asia Channel

17 Indian Soldiers Killed in Manipur; Pakistani Officials: Polio Cases Down Because of Military Campaign; Afghan Militias Running Amok, Says Group

India 17 soldiers killed in an ambush in the northeastern state of Manipur At least 17 soldiers were killed in an ambush in the north eastern state of Manipur when a military convoy was traveling to the state capital Imphal from the town of Motul (TOI, NDTV, Reuters, BBC). Police sources say that “an unidentified ...

Indian police officers take part in a wreath laying ceremony for two slain paramilitary policemen at the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) headquarters in Srinagar on May 12, 2015.  Suspected rebels shot dead two paramilitary policemen who were on patrol in Indian-administered Kashmir on May 11, police said.  AFP PHOTO/Tauseef MUSTAFA        (Photo credit should read TAUSEEF MUSTAFA/AFP/Getty Images)
Indian police officers take part in a wreath laying ceremony for two slain paramilitary policemen at the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) headquarters in Srinagar on May 12, 2015. Suspected rebels shot dead two paramilitary policemen who were on patrol in Indian-administered Kashmir on May 11, police said. AFP PHOTO/Tauseef MUSTAFA (Photo credit should read TAUSEEF MUSTAFA/AFP/Getty Images)

India

17 soldiers killed in an ambush in the northeastern state of Manipur

At least 17 soldiers were killed in an ambush in the north eastern state of Manipur when a military convoy was traveling to the state capital Imphal from the town of Motul (TOI, NDTV, Reuters, BBC). Police sources say that “an unidentified militant group” attacked the 6 Dogra unit convoy early Thursday morning. Manipur Home Secretary J Suresh Babu said that rocket propelled grenades were used to attack the convoy. Manipur, which has a population of 2.5 million, has faced an armed insurgency for years in which several tribal militant groups are active. Security forces have struggled to contain the unrest despite being granted sweeping shoot-to-kill powers in so-called “disturbed areas” under the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA). Shops and businesses in the state were closed on Wednesday in protest over a woman’s death, allegedly killed by security forces on Monday. Security analysts suspect the attack on the convoy may be a retaliation of the killing. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the latest attack.

US and India sign two trade deals to strengthen military ties

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Indian Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar met on Wednesday to sign an agreement known as the 2015 Framework for the U.S.-India Defense Relationship (NYT, TOI, NDTV, WSJ). According to Indian defense officials two deals have been signed between officials, one to jointly develop protective gear for soldiers against biological and chemical warfare, and another on building generators for military use. The United States has become one of the top sources of weapons for the Indian military, upstaging Russia in recent years, and now, under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Make-in-India” program, has offered joint development and production of military technologies. 

Pakistan

Pakistani officials: Military campaign is benefiting polio immunizations

Pakistani government officials said that the military’s territorial advances in the country’s northwest against militants have contributed to the 70 percent decrease in polio cases in the country this year (BBC, RFE/RL, AFP). They say that so far in 2015 there have been about 25 cases. In October of last year, there were more than 200 cases across the country — the highest number in 15 years. Officials said that most polio infections are in the northwestern tribal region, where health workers have been kept from immunizing populations because of militant attacks.

Islamabad asks US for access to nuclear technology

Pakistan has reportedly asked the United States for access to peaceful nuclear technology during talks held in Washington, D.C. this week under the Pak-U.S. Strategic Dialogue (ET). U.S. Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Rose Gottemoeller and Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry co-chaired the 7th round of U.S.-Pakistan Security, Strategic Stability, and Nonproliferation working group, according to a statement issued by Pakistan’s foreign office. “Pakistan stressed the need for access to peaceful nuclear technology as a socioeconomic imperative,” the statement said.

Afghanistan

Research group: Afghan militias running amok

Afghanistan is increasingly relying on “cheap but dangerous” militias totally 30,000 fighters, some of whom have committed serious abuses, an international research group said in a report released on Thursday (AP, RFE/RL). The International Crisis Group said members of the force, known as the Afghan Local Police (ALP), fight on the front lines, lose men at three to six times the rates of soldiers and police, and cost just $120 million a year. But the group also said that members of the force have killed civilians, committed fraud, theft, rape, kidnapping, drug trafficking, and extortion. The government has come to rely on the ALP and other local militias that are pro-government to fend off Taliban attacks.

Two suspects arrested after attack on guesthouse

Two Haqqani Network insurgents who allegedly planned and carried out the attack on the Park Palace Guest House in Kabul on May 13 have been arrested, the National Directorate of Security (NDS) said in a statement on Wednesday (TOLO). The two suspects were arrested in a special NDS operation in the Sang-e-Nawishta area of Kabul and confessed during preliminary investigations. They told officials they used fake United States Agency for International Development (USAID) documents to gain access and carry out the attack. Fourteen people — including seven aid workers — died in the attack on the guesthouse.

— Emily Schneider and Shuja Malik

Edited by Peter Bergen 

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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