The South Asia Channel
Taliban Reign of Terror in Kunduz; India Announces Plan to Cut Carbon Emissions; Sharif Accuses India of Terrorism at UN
Afghanistan Taliban “reign of terror” in Kunduz On Friday, Amnesty International and the New York Times reported that the Taliban have unleashed a “reign of terror” on Kunduz, committing mass murder, gang rapes, and house-to-house searches (Amnesty Int’l, NYT). After taking over the city earlier this week, the Taliban announced the formation of a new judicial system, ...
Taliban “reign of terror” in Kunduz
On Friday, Amnesty International and the New York Times reported that the Taliban have unleashed a “reign of terror” on Kunduz, committing mass murder, gang rapes, and house-to-house searches (Amnesty Int’l, NYT). After taking over the city earlier this week, the Taliban announced the formation of a new judicial system, amnesty for government employees, and discouraged looting. Despite their reassurance that atrocities would not be committed, the Taliban’s behavior appears to be echoes its violent rule in the 1990s. The Afghan government announced on Friday it has regained control of key areas of the city.
U.S. plane crashes in Afghanistan
A C-130 U.S. military transport plane crashed just after midnight on Friday at Jalalabad airfield, killing all 11 people on board (BBC, Reuters, TOLO News). Colonel Brian Tribus, spokesman for U.S. forces in Afghanistan, said six of the dead were U.S. military personnel and the others were civilian contractors. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for shooting down the plane on Twitter, however, the U.S. military said there were no reports of enemy fire at the time the plane went down.
Abdullah met with UN Secretary General
On Thursday, CEO Abdullah Abdullah met with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon while in New York for the U.N. General Assembly session (TOLO News, Pajhwok). According to the U.N. statement, the two discussed the progress made by the national unity government in the last year, and the secretary general agreed that a political solution to the conflict with the Taliban is the “only durable mechanism for peace.” At the New York meeting on Thursday, Mahmoud Saikal was appointed as Afghanistan’s new ambassador to the United Nations, special representative of the U.N. secretary general, and head of the U.N. Mission in Kosovo (Pajhwok). Bonus Read: “NUG One Year On: Success,” by Tamim Asey (South Asia). Bonus Read: “NUG One Year On: Struggling to Govern,” by Timor Sharan and Srinjoy Bose (South Asia)
Over 60 percent of embezzled Kabul Bank money recovered
More than 60 percent of the money embezzled from the Kabul Bank has been recovered, according to Da Afghanistan Bank Deputy Governor Khan Afzal Hadawal on Thursday (Pajhwok). The Kabul Bank collapsed in 2010 after $935 million was stolen. President Ashraf Ghani reopened the investigation into the scandal in October 2014, and by November 2014, only one third of the funds had been recovered.
India announces “ambitious” plan to cut carbon emissions
India’s Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar, talking to a news conference in Delhi on Friday, announced India’s “ambitious” commitment that by 2030 they will decrease the rate at which greenhouse gas emissions output is increasing in the country, by up to 35 percent (NYT, Post, WSJ). This objective is a part of the plan India has submitted to the United Nations ahead of the Paris conference in November. The United Nations has asked for all of its 196 members to submit plans about reducing carbon emissions so that they can evaluate whether global efforts need to be adjusted to avoid disastrous climate change. India also aims to produce 40 percent of its electricity with non fossil fuels, by 2030. Analysts say that it will be extremely difficult for India to achieve any of these goals if it continues to grow the economy at the current rates.
Five-year-old boy murdered in Andhra Pardesh as a “human sacrifice”
Police in the Prakasam district of the southern state of Andhra Pradesh have identified the murder of a 5-year-old boy as a case of “human sacrifice” (BBC). The suspect named as Rao, allegedly kidnapped the boy, beheaded him, and then sprinkled the boy’s blood around his own home. After the incident, the villagers upon realizing that the boy had been beheaded, attacked Rao who was set ablaze and has been admitted to the hospital with severe burn injuries.
India celebrates Gandhi’s 146th birthday
On Friday, India celebrated Mahatma Gandhi’s 146th birth anniversary with numerous events across the country with President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress Chief Sonia Gandhi, and other leaders visiting his memorial in Delhi as a tribute (Hindu, HT). Numerous schools across the country held special events, including thousands of children dressing up as Gandhi to pay their respect to the leader of Indian freedom struggle. On Twitter, Modi posted a message saying that cleanliness was “very close to Mahatma Gandhi’s heart,” tying in his “Clean India” campaign, which completed one year today as a tribute to his values.
Sharif speaks at United Nations, accuses India of terrorism
On Thursday, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif spoke to the U.N. General Assembly urging a cease-fire in Kashmir with India and accusing India of “fomenting instability” in Pakistan (Reuters). On Friday, Pakistan turned over to the U.N. secretary general dossiers of evidence documenting Indian involvement in terrorism in Pakistan (ET). A statement from the Foreign Office said: “The dossiers include details of Indian interference and support for terrorism in Balochistan and Karachi as well as its security and intelligence agencies’ link with the [Pakistani Taliban] especially in [the Federally Administered Tribal Areas].”
Inflation drops to 12-year low
The Consumer Price Index rose to only 1.3 percent in September, according to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics on Thursday (ET). This is the lowest level of inflation since July 2003. While the reduction in inflation is often attributed to the steep decline in commodity prices, the core inflation, which removes volatile food and energy prices, decline 0.6 percent to 3.4 percent in September. Economists are calling for the government to implement economic stimulus plans rather than focusing on austerity measures.
Pakistan, South Korea agree to $500 million in economic development
On Friday, Pakistan Secretary of Economic Affairs Division Muhammad Saleem Sethi and the Ambassador of the Republic of Korea Song Jong-hwan signed a framework arrangement for $500 million in economic development (Dawn). The framework provides that South Korea will assist in the completion of projects related to hydropower, road infrastructure, the power distribution system, information technology, and the health sector.
— Courtney Schuster and Shuja Malik
Edited by Peter Bergen