Suicide Bomb Kills 33 in Khost; Sharif Says More Info Needed in Lakhvi Trial; Cocaine Seized by Bangladesh Was Headed to India
Afghanistan Suicide bomb kills 33 in Khost A suicide car bomber killed at least 33 people and wounded 15 others outside a U.S. base in the southeastern province of Khost on Sunday (Reuters, NYT, Pajhwok). Provincial security officials said the car bomber had intended to penetrate the base, Camp Chapman, which was a major facility ...
Suicide bomb kills 33 in Khost
A suicide car bomber killed at least 33 people and wounded 15 others outside a U.S. base in the southeastern province of Khost on Sunday (Reuters, NYT, Pajhwok). Provincial security officials said the car bomber had intended to penetrate the base, Camp Chapman, which was a major facility at the height of the American military presence and also the site of a 2009 suicide attack that left seven CIA operatives dead — one of the worst attacks in the CIA’s history. It was not immediately clear whether American personnel were at the base on Sunday. A senior Afghan official in Kabul said the target of Sunday’s attack was the Khost Protection Force, an Afghan unit trained by the CIA; he declined to specify whether American advisers were still assisting the force. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Islamic State audio tape raises doubt about leader’s death
On Monday ISIS released an audio tape it said was Hafez Saeed, the group’s leader for Afghanistan, raising doubts over whether he was killed in a U.S. drone strike on Friday as reported (Reuters, RFE/RL). According to Afghan intelligence agency reports, Saeed was killed late Friday in the Achin district of Nangarhar province (NYT). Saeed was a former Taliban commander until he changed allegiance to ISIS last year. The audio recording posted on ISIS’s website could not be independently verified by Reuters and it was unclear from the content when it was recorded. The speaker on the tape said in Pashto that the goal of ISIS was to implement Shari’a law and referenced battles between the Taliban and ISIS fighters in Nangarhar.
More information needed for Lakhvi trial
Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign affairs and National Security Sartaj Azizi said on Monday that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif told his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi during their meeting in Ufa, Russia last week that more information is required to resume the trial of Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, the alleged mastermind behind the 26/11 Mumbai attacks (Dawn, PTI, TOI, Dawn). Indian media has strongly criticized the statement, calling it “another Pakistani U-turn.” Speaking to reporters in Islamabad, Sartaj said that the reference to “additional information” is a recognition of the need for information which is required in order to expedite the trial. Lakhvi was released from Rawalpindi’s Adiala jail in April, after a court order dismissed detention orders issued against him in March. India condemned Lakhvi’s release from prison. India condemned Lakhvi’s release deeming it an “insult” to the victims of the attack. Lakhvi is among seven persons charged with planning and helping carry out the 2008 Mumbai attacks. He is believed to have been the operational head of the now banned organization Laskhar-i-Taiba, at the time of the attacks.
Malala marks 18th birthday
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai marked her 18th birthday on Sunday at a camp for Syrian refugees in Lebanon promoting children’s education and opening a school for Syrian refugee girls (Reuters, RFE/RL). She vowed to continue to campaign for the right of all children to have an education, saying: “Today, on my first day as an adult, on behalf of the world’s children, I demand of leaders — we must invest in books instead of bullets.” Malala was shot and nearly killed by the Taliban in her native Pakistan in 2012 for insisting that girls have a right to education. She was jointly awarded the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize with Indian child rights campaigner Kailash Satyarthi.
Drugs were headed to India: Bangladeshi police
Police officials in Bangladesh who seized Asia’s largest known shipment of liquid cocaine at a Bangladeshi port in late June say it was headed for India (Guardian). It is not clear whether India was the final destination for the cocaine, worth as much as $14m, or whether it was a transit point for other markets in Asia and Europe. “They wanted to redirect it to India when it got stuck at Chittagong,” Bangladeshi police official Mohammad Kamruzzaman said. He said they found correspondence that said the shipment was headed for “any port in India.” The growing trend of high value drug seizures at South Asian transit hubs points to the regions increasing role as a possible global transhipment hub.
India’s most expensive film a huge success
India’s battle epic film Baahubali (Strong Man), billed as its most expensive film to date, was released in cinemas on Friday and has been extremely well received by audiences (BBC, HuffPost). Reports suggest that the film may have broken the record for the highest gross opening day in India cinema. While Mumbai based Bollywood is well known globally, a little known fact is that south India’s Hyderabad-based Telugu film industry is much more prolific than Bollywood. It also routinely churns out more expensive films than its Mumbai counterpart.The two-part film, Baahubali, directed by SS Rajamouli, was made at a reported cost of about $39m (£25m). The film, which has been compared to Zack Snyder’s fantasy war film 300, has generated great interest because of its “massive budget” and special effects. Baahubali focuses on a prince who is smuggled out of his kingdom and eventually returns to reclaim it, fighting an epic battle along with his brother to save it from a murderous army.
— Emily Schneider and Shuja Malik
Edited by Peter Bergen
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