Taliban Leader Calls For Jihad; Floods Kill Over 100 in West Bengal; PML-N Leaders Resign
Afghanistan Taliban leader calls for jihad On Saturday the Taliban released an audio recording of its new leader, Akhtar Muhammad Mansour, in which he encouraged unity within the Taliban and rejected the peace process (NYT, Post, BBC). He vowed, “the jihad will continue until there is an Islamic system.” Mansour, who was said to have ...
Taliban leader calls for jihad
On Saturday the Taliban released an audio recording of its new leader, Akhtar Muhammad Mansour, in which he encouraged unity within the Taliban and rejected the peace process (NYT, Post, BBC). He vowed, “the jihad will continue until there is an Islamic system.” Mansour, who was said to have been receptive to peace talks in early July, called the peace process the “words of the enemy.” Late last week, Mansour was appointed the new leader and two hard-liners from the Haqqani Network — Maulavi Haibatullah Akhunzada and Mullah Sirajuddin Haqqani, the son of founder Jalaluddin Haqqani — were appointed as his deputies (NYT).
In an odd twist mirroring the events of the Taliban, Pakistani media reported on Friday that Haqqani founder, Jalaluddin Haqqani, died over one year ago due to poor health (RFE/RL). The Taliban denied his death in a statement on Saturday and posted a statement to its website on Sunday that is purportedly from Haqqani endorsing Mansour as the new leader (RFE/RL).
Ghani underwent surgery
On Saturday Afghan President Ashraf Ghani had surgery in Germany on his foot (TOLO News, Pajhwok). From his hospital room, Ghani held a security review with security officials via video link. Ghani injured a foot at an event in Kabul for World Olympic Day in June. Ghani is expected to return to Afghanistan on Thursday.
Spike in road accidents
Officials from the Ministry of Public Health announced on Sunday that a sharp spike in traffic accidents nationwide was recorded in the first three months of this year (TOLO News). Wahidullah Mayar, spokesman for the ministry, said that the total number of accidents reported last year was 4,290, “but in the first three months of this year we recorded 6,720 accidents.” The high number of accidents is attributed to a number of factors such as driver not obeying traffic rules, narrow roads, the absence of traffic police, and a lack of traffic signs. Road accidents are the second leading cause of death in Afghanistan.
Bonus Read: “India’s inverted abortion politics,” by Manil Suri (NYT)
More than 100 killed due to floods in the eastern state of West Bengal
India’s home ministry on Monday said that heavy monsoon rains in the country have killed more than 100 people in the past week and forced tens of thousands of people to take shelter in relief camps (Guardian, WP, BBC). Nearly four million people in 10,000 villages have been affected by the floods in the worst-affected Indian state of West Bengal, the home ministry said. Over the weekend, Cyclone Komen struck the eastern state of West Bengal, killing 48 people in flood-related incidents. More than 200,000 people have moved to relief camps. In neighboring Myanmar, Cyclone Nargis left a trail of destruction and, floods have left at least 47 dead. Officials say more than 200 medical teams using 120 boats have reached the flood-hit areas in an effort to prevent the outbreak of waterborne diseases. India regularly witnesses severe floods during the monsoon season.
India and Bangladesh swap land enclaves in the border region
India and Bangladesh have swapped control of 160 small pockets of land on each other’s territory, in an attempt to simplify the boundary between the two countries (WP, BBC, NDTV). The enclaves, home to nearly 50,000 people, were created through local peace treaties in the 18th century. New national flags were hoisted as a landmark accord between the two countries came into effect at midnight local time on Friday. Residents were asked to choose where they wanted to live and which nationality they would prefer. Most of the people living in the enclaves, 111 in Bangladesh and 51 in India, will stay where they are, but change nationality. The enclaves endured through British colonial rule and the independence first of India (1947) and more recently Bangladesh (1971). For six decades the residents of these enclaves have been treated as stateless persons.
Two of the four Indians abducted in Libya released
Two of the four Indian teachers being held in Libya by the group Islamic State have contacted their families via SMS from Libya, saying they are safe, while two others remain in the custody of the group (HT, NDTV). Earlier on Friday, the Indian foreign ministry said that four Indian teachers, working at University of Sirte, were abducted at a checkpoint near the city of Sirte, in Libya (BBC). The Islamic State has a strong presence in Sirte, hometown of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, and is thought to be involved in the abduction.
The foreign ministry said that the teachers were kidnapped on their way back to India on Wednesday. “They were returning to India via Tripoli and Tunis, when they were detained at a checkpoint approximately 50 km (31 miles) from Sirte,” an Indian foreign ministry spokesperson said. Last July a group of 65 Indian nurses were trapped in fighting which engulfed parts of Libya. The nurses, who had been working in various hospitals in the country, safely returned to India in August.
20 die in landslides in the northeastern state of Manipur
Deputy Commissioner of police in the northeastern state of Manipur, Robert Khetrimayum said on Monday that 20 people died in landslides caused by torrential monsoon rains in remote mountainous northeastern region (NDTV, Guardian). Villages named Juomol and Goupi in Chanel district, 100 miles southwest of Imphal, the state capital, are the worst affected. Police reinforcements reached the area and were trying to remove rubble to find the other missing people. Government officials indicated that crucial bridges in the Chandel district have been damaged and the only other route to the village is through Myanmar. Helicopters sighted in the region suggest that an air rescue and relief mission may be launched.
Uber to invest 1 billion USD in India
The taxi booking service Uber has said it will invest $1 billion to expand its business in India (BBC, WSJ, Reuters). The U.S. company wants to use the money to expand to more cities and invest in new payment solutions. Earlier in the year, Uber was banned in India after rape accusations against one of its drivers. The government had told unregistered web-based taxi services like Uber to halt operations in the wake of the rape accusations. Uber applied for new licenses in New Delhi and other cities but continued its operations while approvals were pending. App-based aggregator services have been criticized in India for not doing proper background checks on drivers they recruit.
PML-N leaders resign
In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa following a big loss in local elections, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawz (PML-N) provincial general secretary, Rehmat Salam Khattak, resigned (Dawn). Khattak told Dawn: “There is no justification for me to hold the party office when my candidates have failed to win the elections.” The provincial information secretary, Nasir Khan Musazai, also tendered his resignation.
Balochi dictionary published
The Balochi Academy in Quetta on Sunday published the first ever Balochi Dictionary, a dictionary of the indigenous Balochi language widely spoken in Balochistan province (ET). Building the dictionary took 15 years of work on the part of dozens of intellectuals, writers, and poets. The dictionary sold out before the formal launch event was even held.
–Courtney Schuster and Shuja Malik
Edited by Peter Bergen
BANARAS KHAN/AFP/Getty Images
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