Afghan Taliban Warn ISIS; PPP Leader Criticized Military; Modi Calls Sharif
Afghanistan Taliban warn ISIS to stay out of Afghanistan In a letter sent to journalists but addressed to Islamic State (ISIS) leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the Afghan Taliban have warned ISIS to stay out of the conflict in Afghanistan (Post, RFE/RL). The Taliban argued that the war against the Afghan government should be fought “under ...
Taliban warn ISIS to stay out of Afghanistan
In a letter sent to journalists but addressed to Islamic State (ISIS) leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the Afghan Taliban have warned ISIS to stay out of the conflict in Afghanistan (Post, RFE/RL). The Taliban argued that the war against the Afghan government should be fought “under one flag and one leadership.” This week, the Taliban have been fighting ISIS militants in Nangahar province. According to analysts who spoke to the Washington Post, this letter highlights the growing divisions within the Taliban’s ranks, which is becoming increasingly fragmented. The letter was signed by Taliban deputy leader Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansoor and was also published on the Taliban’s website in four languages.
Afghanistan developing online commodity exchange
On Tuesday, the Afghan Chamber of Commerce and Industries announced a $20 million partnership between UAE-based Pride Company and an Afghan company to develop Afghanistan’s first online commodity exchange market (TOLO). The project will be a forum for selling Afghan agricultural products, handicrafts, precious stones, industrial products, and other commodities. It is expected to take one year to launch.
PPP leader criticized military
Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari railed against military leaders on Tuesday in a speech at an oath-taking ceremony for PPP officeholders from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (ET, Dawn). Zardari said that politicians were better suited to run the country, and added that he has a list of generals whose misdeeds he would expose, threatening to bring the whole country “to a grinding halt.” His unusually aggressive comments also targeted rival political parties, former President Pervez Musharraf, and India, who he accused of “creating chaos” in Pakistan.
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Sharif responded to Zardari’s speech saying that it is important to support the military during times of war, adding: “Coordination between the civilian and military leadership has strengthened democracy.” Early reports stated that Zardari and Sharif were expected to meet for lunch on Wednesday but sources told Dawn that the meeting would no longer take place.
Pakistani soldiers reportedly cross border to save Afghan soldier
On Tuesday, a military spokesman said Pakistani soldiers responded to an evacuation request made by members of the Afghan National Army after a firefight with the Taliban (VOA, Dawn). The Pakistani soldiers, located in the Bajaur tribal district, crossed 600 meters (1,968 feet) into Kunar province, Afghanistan to rescue a severely injured Afghan soldier. The soldier was taken to a medical hospital in Pakistan for initial treatment before he was airlifted to Afghanistan. The Afghan Ministry of Interior denied this occurred and called the reports of the rescue operation “baseless and concocted” (Pajhwok).
Prime Minister Modi calls his Pakistani counterpart Sharif
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi called his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday evening with well wishes ahead of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and to announce the release of detained Pakistani fishermen, according to a statement by the Pakistani prime minister’s office (WSJ, Dawn). Details of the number of fishermen or the exact release date were not given. The move seems to be a gesture to calm tensions between the two nuclear-armed neighbors, after weeks of heated statements from both sides. Tensions rose between the countries after Modi on a visit to Bangladesh, accused Pakistan of promoting terrorism in India. Soon after, an Indian military operation inside neighboring Burmese territory sparked a number of statements from Indian ministers hypothesizing a similar operation inside Pakistani territory and retaliatory statements from the Pakistani side warning of a large scale conflict.
Violence cost India more than $340 billion in 2014
According to a report by the Institute for Economics and Peace, “the economic impact of containing and dealing with the consequences of India’s levels of violence was estimated to cost the national economy $341.7 billion in 2014. This is equivalent to 4.7 per cent of India’s GDP” (Hindu, HT, ET). Moreover, according to the 2015 Global Peace Index (GPI) published on Wednesday, India ranked at 143 out of 162 countries. Within the region India ranked 5th out of the 7 South Asian countries ahead of Pakistan and Afghanistan. The GPI report cited escalating civil strife and the consequent refugee crisis have been among the major factors behind the rising cost of global violence containment. Iceland emerged as the world’s most peaceful nation, while Syria got the bottom spot.
Delhi High Court keeps Uber ban in place
New Delhi High Court decided on Wednesday to keep the ban in the city on the U.S.-based taxi company Uber in place, while ordering Delhi transportation regulators to respond to Uber’s challenge to their decision to refuse extending the firm’s license (WSJ, Zee News, FirstPost). The court postponed further hearings on the matter till July 8 and told Uber that in the absence of a license, it cannot operate in Delhi. Uber India Technology Pvt. Ltd. approached the Delhi High Court last week challenging an order of the city government denying extension of its licence to operate radio cabs in the national capital. Earlier on June 3, New Delhi`s transport authority had rejected the licence applications of Uber citing violation of ban orders imposed by the government last year. Uber has been at the center of a controversy since last year when one of its drivers was accused of rape by a passenger and the firm has been blamed for inadequate background checks.
Architect Charles Correa dies at 84
Indian architect Charles Correa, often described as India’s greatest contemporary architect, has died after a brief illness in the western city of Mumbai, aged 84 (BBC, Hindu). Correa was responsible for designing a number of landmark buildings in India, including the Gandhi Memorial in Gujarat, the Bharat Bhavan and Vidhan Bhavan in Bhopal, and the Kala Academy in Goa. Among his recent last works were Toronto’s Ismaili Centre and the Brain Science Center at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was often critical of the way cities were being planned. “Market forces do not make cities, they destroy them,” he said at an awards ceremony. On his death Prime Minister Modi tweeted: “Mr. Charles Correa’s architectural marvels are widely cherished, reflecting his brilliance, innovative zeal & wonderful aesthetic sense.”
— Courtney Schuster and Shuja Malik
Edited by Peter Bergen
Noorullah Shirzada/AFP/Getty Images
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