The South Asia Channel

Pakistan: First Domestic Drone Strike; Taliban Infighting in Zabul; Lightning Kills 32 in India

Pakistan Pakistan: first drone strike by domestic drone Pakistan has claimed that it has carried out its first drone strike by a domestically produced drone on Monday (NYT, BBC). According to a tweet by Maj. Gen. Asim Bajwa, a Pakistani military spokesman, the Burraq drone killed three high-profile militants in Shawal Valley in North Waziristan. ...

Visitors look at a model of a Pakistan-made unmanned aircraft, or drone, during the International Defence Exhibition And Seminars (Ideas) in the Pakistani city of Karachi on December 2, 2014. Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) chief December 2 said Pakistan plans to induct a batch of 50 home assembled multi-role JF-17 Thunder aircraft into its airforce.  AFP PHOTO/Asif HASSAN        (Photo credit should read ASIF HASSAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Visitors look at a model of a Pakistan-made unmanned aircraft, or drone, during the International Defence Exhibition And Seminars (Ideas) in the Pakistani city of Karachi on December 2, 2014. Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) chief December 2 said Pakistan plans to induct a batch of 50 home assembled multi-role JF-17 Thunder aircraft into its airforce. AFP PHOTO/Asif HASSAN (Photo credit should read ASIF HASSAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Pakistan

Pakistan: first drone strike by domestic drone

Pakistan has claimed that it has carried out its first drone strike by a domestically produced drone on Monday (NYT, BBC). According to a tweet by Maj. Gen. Asim Bajwa, a Pakistani military spokesman, the Burraq drone killed three high-profile militants in Shawal Valley in North Waziristan. This is not the first time that the government has been reported to use a domestic drone but it is the first strike that the government has confirmed. The Express Tribune reported in March that Pakistan used its own drones in the Khyber tribal region, but a Pakistani security official speaking to the New York Times on Monday, denied those reports and said this strike was the first use of the drone. Pakistan is only the fourth country to use armed drones in combat, according to a count by New America (New America).

Baloch insurgent leader rumored killed

On Tuesday, Balochistan Home Minister Safraz Bugit said that unverified reports have reported that the head of the Baloch Liberation Front, Allah Nazar Baloch, has been killed in an operation by security forces (Dawn, ET). At a press conference, Bugti said: “According to unverified reports Dr. Allah Nazar has been killed… I say unverified because we have not yet received any evidence of his being alive ever since the Frontier Corps conducted a series of operations. There has been no human intelligence, no sign of life.” Reports of Nazar’s death have first surfaced on July 18 when security forces conducted an operation in the Awaran district of Balochistan province.

Urdu the official language of Pakistan

A three-member bench of the Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that Urdu be implemented as the official language of government departments (ET). Article 251 of the 1973 constitution holds that Urdu was to be the national language and must be used within fifteen years, replacing English.

Two new cases of polio in KP

On Tuesday, two new polio cases were been reported in Khyber Agency bringing the total number of polio cases in Pakistan this year to 32 (Dawn). There are now 10 registered cases of polio in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, 13 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, five in Balochistan, and four in Sindh. In 2014, there were 306 cases of polio nationwide.

Afghanistan

Taliban infighting in Zabul

Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour has deployed hundreds of fighters to Zabul Province to fight forces loyal to Mullah Mansour Dadullah, who has publicly refused to pledge allegiance to Mansour, according to Afghan and Taliban officials (NYT). The two factions have been fighting for the past two weeks with no clear end in sight. On Saturday, a gun battle between the two factions lasted for an hour and resulted in the deaths of five fighters on each side, according to Ghulam Jilani Farahi, the province’s security chief.

Narcotics officers killed in airstrike

On Sunday night, an unidentified airstrike killed at least 11 narcotics officers and wounded four other officers in the Garmsir District of Helmand Province (NYT, TOLO News). The deputy interior minister for counternarcotics, Baz Mohammad Ahmadi, said that the convoy, disguised as members of the Taliban, had been in the middle of an operation to arrest drug smugglers. Najib Danish, the deputy spokesman for the Interior Ministry, blamed the NATO-led military coalition for the strike. The United States is the only coalition member known to have carried out airstrikes this year. Col. Brian Tribus, a spokesman for the coalition, denied responsibility of the strike saying: “There were no strikes conducted by U.S. or NATO forces in Helmand Province on 6 September.”

Afghan aviation administration ready to run airport

On Monday, the Afghanistan Civil Aviation Authority (ACAA) said it was fully prepared to take operational responsibility of Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport after NATO forces leave (Pajhwok). Mahmood Shah Habibi, deputy operational director at the ACAA, said it was a moment of pride for Afghanistan that operational authorities of the country’s airports would soon be in the hands of Afghans. He also thanked NATO forces for training Afghans to take over the airports and added that more training was still required for Afghan officials to attain complete responsibilities.

India

Bonus read:  “India or China: Which Asian Giant Has More Inclusive Growth?” by Eric Bellman (WSJ)

Lightning kills thirty two in India

At least 32 people have been killed in eastern Indian states of Andhra Pradesh and Orissa after being struck by lightning (BBC, NYT). Local media reports suggest that most of those killed were working on farms during the strikes over the weekend. Lightning strikes are fairly common in India during the monsoon season, which runs from June to September and accounts for nearly 80 percent of rainfall in the country.

Mumbai police commissioner replaced during a high profile murder investigation

Mumbai Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria has been controversially removed from his position on Tuesday while he was heading a high profile murder investigation (LiveMint, Hindu). Maria was the lead investigator on the Sheena Bora murder case which involves media mogul Peter Mukherjea and his wife, both of whom are a regular fixtures of the Mumbai’s elite social scene and charged with murdering their own 24-year-old daughter. Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis issued the orders right before leaving for a four-day tour to Japan. Maria has been given the charge of DG Homeguards and has been replaced by Ahmed Javed.

Modi hosts industry leaders to brainstorm macroeconomic improvements

On Tuesday morning Prime Minister Narendra Modi hosted a private meeting of the country’s top bankers and industrialists to discuss India’s macroeconomic situation and ways to respond to jitters in the Chinese growth (Reuters, LiveMint, PTI). The local media seems to have dubbed the meeting to be aimed at turning “Chinese pain into Indian gain.” There were calls by industry chamber Assocham to reduce interests rates, a policy position the Modi government has been demanding from the central bank for a while now. The meeting, held at Modi’s residence, included India’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Central Bank Governor Raghuram Rajan, along with economists and heads of numerous bank chiefs.

–Courtney Schuster and Shuja Malik

Edited by Peter Bergen

ASIF HASSAN/AFP/Getty Images

Courtney Schuster is a research associate with the International Security Program at New America and an assistant editor with the South Asia Channel.

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