The South Asia Channel
Taliban Enter Kunduz City; Modi Arrives in New York; UN Head Urges Pakistan, India Talks
Event Note: “Objective Troy: The Hunt for Awlaki,” Wednesday, October 1, 12:15 pm to 1:45 pm, (New America) Afghanistan Bonus read: “U.S. Is Struggling in Its Effort to Build an Afghan Air Force,” (NYT) Taliban enter Kunduz city On Monday, officials and residents said that hundreds of Taliban entered Kunduz city and raised their flag ...
Event Note: “Objective Troy: The Hunt for Awlaki,” Wednesday, October 1, 12:15 pm to 1:45 pm, (New America)
Bonus read: “U.S. Is Struggling in Its Effort to Build an Afghan Air Force,” (NYT)
Taliban enter Kunduz city
On Monday, officials and residents said that hundreds of Taliban entered Kunduz city and raised their flag in the Zakhel neighborhood (NYT, BBC, TOLO News). The Talban attack began at 3 am when fighters inside the city launched their assault at the same time militants sealed off the four entrances into the city. Abdullah Khan, a mechanic in Zakhel, told the New York Times that the Taliban fighters were met with little resistance from security forces. An Afghan Army spokesman, Col. Abdul Qahar, said commando units and regular units had been dispatched to Kunduz, and that air support was being prepared from Kabul. Seven civilians and 14 Afghan Local Police have been killed (TOLO News).
This is the first time in this year’s offensive that the Taliban have overrun part of a major city but according to Mohammad Yousuf Ayoubi, the head of the Kunduz provincial council, 70 percent of the province is under Taliban control.
ISIS fighters attack Nangarhar checkpoints
On Sunday, Islamic State (ISIS) militants attacked 10 checkpoints in the Achin districit of Nangarhar province, according to Ahmad Zia Abdulzai, a provincial government spokesman (RFE/RL). He added that ISIS militants “have a presence in three districts of Nangarhar, but this was their first attack on Afghan forces in the province.” Abdulzai said Afghan air strikes launched after the early morning attack killed 60 ISIS militants. Three policemen were killed and eight others wounded. The BBC is reporting that 300 fighters attacked the checkpoints (BBC).
Suicide bombing in Patika
A suicide bomb detonated at a sports game in Patika on Sunday afternoon killing at least nine people and injuring 51 others (RFE/RL, TOLO News, Pajhwok). The type of bomb used is uncertain; news outlets are reporting it was a suicide car bomb, a motorcycle bomb, and an explosives vest. No group has claimed responsibility yet.
Bonus Read: “India Replaces China as Next Big Frontier for U.S. Tech Companies,” (NYT)
Prime Minister Modi arrives in New York
Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in New York on Monday where he will meet with U.S. President Barack Obama as well as leaders from the United Kingdom and France (BBC, Hindustan Times). Modi is wrapping up his five-day visit to the United States where he spent two days on the West coast meeting with I.T. giants like Google and Facebook to promote the Digital India brand. Modi also held a town hall style meeting at the Facebook headquarters, moderated by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, where he shared his thoughts about the political power of social media. Answering a question, Modi said: “We used to have elections every five years and now we can have them every five minutes.” Modi also toured Google headquarters and met with Google CEO Sundar Pichai who announced that his company will be investing in 500 wifi hotspots at railway stations in India over the next two years (Hindu). Bonus read: “Modi Goes Coast to Coast,” Lisa Curtis (South Asia)
India successfully launches Astrosat space observatory
India launched a new space observatory, named the AstroSat, on Monday, which is 10 times smaller than the Hubble Telescope (ISRO, Guardian). This is the first space observatory ever launched by a developing nation. At 10 am local time India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle launched the Astrosat, a multi wavelength space observatory along with six foreign customer satellites from the country’s main space center at Sriharikota in southern India. Astrosat has a limited life span of five years and cost about $75 million. Last year, India became the first country to launch a successful Mars orbital mission on its first attempt.
Bonus Read: “Malala Yousafzai’s Fight Continues,” (NYT)
UN head urges Pakistan, India talks
On Sunday, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon issued a statement urging India and Pakistan to “continue their peaceful dialogue” and encouraged Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to continue engaging with Afghanistan (Dawn). A Pakistani official said Sharif also asked the United Nations to enforce the Security Council resolution on Kashmir, urging a plebiscite and addressing the cease fire violations at the Line of Control (Dawn).
Politicians switch parties, join PTI
The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) party gained more than 20 new members on Sunday (ET). In and around Lahore, over 20 politicians withdrew their allegiance from other political parties and joined the PTI. The individuals belonged to Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, Pakistan Peoples Party, and Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid.
Animal sacrifice in Karachi leads to seizures, arrests
Each year on Eidul Azha, Sindh’s home department issues a code of conduct that prohibits the door-to-door collection of the hides of animals sacrificed for the holiday, an edict that has not been enforced in years past (ET). Gunmen typically go door-to-door and force people to turn over hides; the Muttahida Qaumi Movement is usually the largest collector of hides. But this year, Rangers have been implementing the code during the three days of Eid, arresting 356 people for forcibly collecting hides and seizing 18,037 hides.
— Courtney Schuster and Shuja Malik
Edited by Peter Bergen