Afghan Military Provided Coordinates for Hospital Bombing; Court Orders Delhi to Present Clean Air Plan; Ex-FM: India Considered Strikes in Pakistan
Afghanistan US: Afghan military provided coordinates for hospital bombing On Monday, Gen. John Campbell, the top American general in Afghanistan, stated that Afghan forces had provided the United States with the coordinates for the air strike that hit a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz on Saturday killing 22 people (NYT, LAT, ABC, Guardian, Pajhwok). ...
US: Afghan military provided coordinates for hospital bombing
On Monday, Gen. John Campbell, the top American general in Afghanistan, stated that Afghan forces had provided the United States with the coordinates for the air strike that hit a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz on Saturday killing 22 people (NYT, LAT, ABC, Guardian, Pajhwok). Gen. Campbell’s comments conceded that the strike was initially portrayed incorrectly as an effort to protect American forces under direct threat stating: “This is different from the initial reports which indicated that U.S. forces were threatened and that the airstrike was called on their behalf.” Gen. Campbell said Afghan forces had come under attack from near the hospital. He stated: “We have now learned that on October, 3rd, Afghan forces advised that they were taking fire from enemy positions and asked for air support from U.S. Forces,” adding, “An air strike was then called to eliminate the Taliban threat and several civilians were accidentally struck.” Christopher Stokes, the general director of Doctors Without Borders, remained critical of the American military’s explanation commenting: “Their description of the attack keeps changing – from collateral damage, to a tragic incident, to now attempting to pass responsibility to the Afghanistan government,” continuing, “The reality is the US dropped those bombs. The US hit a huge hospital full of wounded patients and MSF staff. The US military remains responsible for the targets it hits, even though it is part of a coalition.”
World Bank projects 3.1 percent Afghan growth in 2016
On Sunday, the World Bank projected that Afghanistan would experience 3.1 percent growth in 2016 (Pajhwok). The projection would be an increase in the rate of growth from this fiscal year in which growth stood at 1.9 percent. The bank cited a number of factors behind the slow growth this year and warned: “Fiscal vulnerabilities remain high and will require a large revenue effort and sustained levels of aid. Future prospects hinge critically on improvements in security and forceful implementation of reforms.”
Clashes in Kunduz City
On Tuesday morning, clashes broke out in Kunduz City between government forces and insurgents (TOLO News). The clashes come as Afghan forces seek to clear the city of Taliban forces after the group managed to take the city last week. According to the Deputy Minister of Refugees and Repatriations Fazel Ahmad Azimi, more than 6,000 people have been left homeless by the fighting.
— David Sterman
Supreme Court orders Delhi government to present air clean up plan in 3 days
The Supreme Court of India instructed the Delhi government on Tuesday to present an environmental plan designed to clean up the city’s air within three days (Reuters). The Indian capital faces a severe air pollution problem with the World Health Organization last year rating its air quality the poorest of 1,600 cities surveyed worldwide. The main source of air pollution in Delhi is vehicle exhaust, and authorities have tried to mitigate the number of vehicles entering the city with taxes, but have had little success. The Centre for Science and Environment said in a report last week that about 52,000 commercial vehicles are added to Delhi’s traffic every day.
Modi: India will introduce a new good and services tax in 2016
Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on Tuesday that his government plans to push a new goods and services tax through the parliament in 2016 (Reuters, NDTV). Speaking to a group of German and Indian businessmen in the southern city and technology hub Bengaluru, as a part of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s visit to the country, he said his government was focusing on increasing the ease of doing business in India by speeding up regulatory clearances, reducing licensing requirements in the defense sector, and making tax policy more consistent. The current proposal for the goods and services tax was blocked by the opposition in the monsoon session of the parliament this year which demanded resignations of two BJP legislators over alleged corruption charges.
Bangalore’s chief Islamic cleric instructs city’s mosques to counter ISIS propaganda
The chief cleric of Bangalore’s main mosque Jamia Masjid, Mohamed Maqsood Imran, said on Tuesday that he has advised mosques in the city to “actively counter propaganda by extremist Islamic groups” (AP). While there is little evidence of terrorist groups successfully establishing support networks in the Indian Muslim population, over the past few months, concerns have increased that the Islamic State terrorist group may look towards India’s 180 million Muslims as a recruiting ground. In a letter to the city’s mosques, Imran wrote, “many young people today are going astray. It is our duty to prevent them from being misled.”
Indian authorities have stopped around two dozen young people from leaving the country allegedly to join the Islamic State in Iraq over the past few months. Seventeen Indian citizens are also said to have joined the group in Iraq. Last month nearly 1,000 Muslim clerics in India ratified a religious edict condemning the Islamic State.
— Shuja Malik
Ex-FM: India planned air strikes after Mumbai attack
On Monday, former Pakistani Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri revealed that India had considered air strikes in Pakistan after the 2008 attacks in Mumbai (India Today, ET, Dawn). Speaking to India Today, Kasuri said that after the attacks he was visited by an American delegation headed by Senator John McCain that warned him India was considering strikes on Lashkar-e-Taiba in Punjab’s Muridke town. Kasuri said he told McCain that Pakistan’s response to such a strike would be “measured.” Kasuri recently launched his book Neither a Hawk nor a Dove in Pakistan and is preparing for the book launch in India.
India-Pakistan backchannel negotiations at UN General Assembly Collapse
Efforts at backchannel negotiations between India and Pakistan on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York collapsed, according to a report in the Express Tribune on Tuesday (ET). A senior Pakistani official told the Express Tribune that national security advisor talks were planned but collapsed because Pakistan was unwilling to accept India’s condition that the talks focus on issues of terrorism.
Thousands of trans people live in fear in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
On Monday, Trans Action KP/Fata and Blue Veins Organisation, a rights group, organized a multi-stakeholder meeting in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to discuss the security situation facing transgender and transvestite individuals in the area (Dawn). More than 18,000 trans people are believed to live in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and are regularly subject to harassment. Farzana, the coordinator of Trans Action, stated: “We are Pakistanis but we don’t have Computerized National Identity Cards.” Qamar Naseem, a program coordinator for Blue Veins, commented: “They are particularly vulnerable to hate crimes and the worst is that the transgender community does not receive any help, support and protection from the government.”
— David Sterman
Edited by Peter Bergen
WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP/Getty Images
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