The South Asia Channel
India Arrests 5 Militants for Manipur Ambush; Pakistan Buys Russian Helicopters; Afghan CEO Warns Pakistan
India Army arrests 5 militants involved in June 4 Manipur ambush The Indian Army has arrested five militants linked to the insurgent group believed responsible for a June 4 ambush on a military convoy, which killed 18 military personnel (NDTV, TOI). The militants are members of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Khaplang), or NSCN ...
Army arrests 5 militants involved in June 4 Manipur ambush
The Indian Army has arrested five militants linked to the insurgent group believed responsible for a June 4 ambush on a military convoy, which killed 18 military personnel (NDTV, TOI). The militants are members of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Khaplang), or NSCN (K). “Five members of the ambush team have been caught and the search for the remaining killers is on. All the above apprehended are being handed over to [the National Investigation Agency] for further investigation,” an Army source told the Indian press. The ambush, which took place in the northeastern state of Manipur, was the deadliest insurgent attack on the Indian Army in two decades.
Modi-Obama hotline becomes operational
A secure hotline between the leaders of the United States and India and their national security advisers has become operational, according to a top U.S. official (Hindustan Times, NDTV, TOI). The hotline establishes a direct line of communication between U.S. President Obama and Indian Prime Minister Modi. The decision to implement the hotline was made during Obama’s visit to New Delhi during India’s January 26 Republic Day celebrations. Peter R. Lavoy, special assistant to the U.S. president and senior director for South Asian Affairs on the U.S. National Security Council, confirmed that the hotline was now operational. The hotline represents India’s first with any other country at the head of state level and the United States’ fourth, after hotlines with Russia, the United Kingdom, and China. According to Lavoy, the new hotline has not yet been used.
Chinese hackers targeting India
According to U.S. cyber security company FireEye, hackers based in China have been systematically targeting Indian institutions and government agencies (Bloomberg, FT). The group of Chinese hackers has been using a “spear-phishing” method, in which employees of government institutions and universities are tricked into opening e-mail attachments that appear relevant to their work. When opened, the attachments run a script that provides the hackers with backdoor access to other programs. The hackers appear to be focused on obtaining commercially sensitive information as well as information related to the China-India border dispute. China-based hackers have recently been accused of orchestrating similar attacks in the United States and Southeast Asia.
— Udit Banerjea
Bonus read: “Pakistan fears that U.S. will slash military aid over counterterror efforts” by Tim Craig and Karen DeYoung (Post)
Bonus Read: “Humans of New York blog offers a fresh perspective on Pakistan” by Ramsha Jamal (Guardian)
Pakistan, Russia strike helicopter deal
On Thursday, Pakistan announced that it would purchase four Mi-35 attack helicopters from Russia at an unstated price (WSJ). The deal follows a series of meetings including a visit by Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to the Russian city of Ufa, where he met Russian President Vladimir Putin. Despite the new deal, Pakistan is unlikely to abandon its relations with the United States as it builds its relations with Russia. Pakistan continues to receive substantial aid from the United States and recently struck a $1 billion deal to purchase 15 American AH-1Z Viper helicopters.
Investigators point to ISIS link in Safoora attack
On Thursday, investigators submitted a charge sheet to the Anti Terrorism Court in the case of the Safoora attack, identifying the attackers as having been aligned with ISIS (ET). According to the charge sheet, there were at least 15 attackers and they had been aligned with al Qaeda before shifting their allegiances to ISIS. Forty-five people were killed in the attack in May along a road in Safoora Goth.
Two arrested for spying on assassinated provincial minister
On Thursday, the Counter-Terrorism Department arrested two members of a banned organization for having spied on Shuja Khanzada, the home minister of Punjab who was assassinated on Aug. 17 (Dawn). The suspects were identified as Qari Tahir and Mohammad Zubair and accused of following Khanzada in the weeks before the attack.
Bonus Read: “Is Peace Possible in Afghanistan?” by Carter Malkasian (Foreign Affairs)
CEO’s office warns Pakistan to handle sanctuaries or Afghanistan will
The office of Afghanistan’s Chief Executive Officer warned Pakistan to handle terrorist sanctuaries in its territory warning that if it doesn’t Afghanistan will, according to a report on Friday in Afghanistan’s TOLO News (TOLO News). Sayed Aqa Hussain Fazel Sancharaki, the CEO’s cultural adviser, stated: “We often told Pakistan to demonstrate sincerity in fighting against terrorism otherwise Afghan security forces are capable to eliminate militants’ sanctuaries inside and outside the country.” The comments come amid increasing tensions between Afghanistan and Pakistan and Pakistan’s summoning of an Afghan envoy regarding the Afghan leadership’s blaming of Pakistan for a recent wave of violence.
Taliban closing in on Baghlan’s Burka district
The Taliban are closing in on Baghlan province’s Burka district according to a report in Pajhwok Afghan News on Thursday (Pajhwok). Local residents report a deteriorating security situation while Mohammad Hanif Kohgaday, a provincial council member, said the Taliban were asking residents to take up arms. Kohgaday said the Taliban were half a kilometer away from the district center and warned the district could soon fall. Brig. Gen. Abdul Jabar Pordeli, the Baghlan police chief, said that security incidents were up 60 percent but called the situation stable.
Meanwhile nearly 90 percent of the residents in the Palmir mountain region of Badakhshan province face starvation as militants cut off supply routes to the area, local officials stated on Thursday (TOLO News). Badakhshan Provincial Council Deputy Qutbuddin Qader stated: “If government officials do not focus on the border districts, undoubtedly, a number of people will face starvation.” One resident warned: “If the government doesn’t care, then we will not have no option but to support any side.”
— David Sterman
Edited by Peter Bergen