The South Asia Channel
Magnitude 7.5 Earthquake Hits Afghanistan; Landslides Strand Thousands in Pakistan; ISIS Claims Attacks in Bangladesh
Afghanistan Magnitude 7.5 earthquake hits Afghanistan An earthquake registering a preliminary magnitude of 7.5 hit northeastern Afghanistan on Monday, according to the United States Geological Survey (NYT, Reuters). The quake was centered in the Hindu Kush mountain range, about 28 miles southwest of the district of Jurm in Afghanistan, the agency said, about 160 miles northeast of ...
Magnitude 7.5 earthquake hits Afghanistan
An earthquake registering a preliminary magnitude of 7.5 hit northeastern Afghanistan on Monday, according to the United States Geological Survey (NYT, Reuters). The quake was centered in the Hindu Kush mountain range, about 28 miles southwest of the district of Jurm in Afghanistan, the agency said, about 160 miles northeast of the nation’s capital, Kabul, but was felt in parts of Pakistan, India, and New Delhi. The mountainous Hindu Kush region is a seismically active region, with earthquakes the result of the Indian subcontinent driving into and under the Eurasian landmass. This earthquake comes almost exactly six months after Nepal suffered its worst quake on record, on April 24, in which 9,000 lives were lost. At least 18 have been reported dead (NYT), however, various hospitals and government officials in Afghanistan continue to report death and injury rates as the toll rises.
In Pakistan, government officials report that at least 52 people died in the earthquake and scores were injured (NYT, The Guardian, Dawn). “We received 50 injured and more are being shifted. The injured suffered multiple injuries due to building collapse,” said spokesman Syed Jamil Shah for Peshawar’s Lady Reading Hospital. The earthquake tremors hit northern areas of the Pakistan that are still dealing with a snowstorm that trapped hundreds of motorists.
Spain ends mission in Afghanistan, leaves 25 troops
Spanish troops lowered their flag at their base in western Herat province, ending their mission that launched in January 2002 (TOLO News, Khaama Press). Spanish Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria presided over the ceremony. The Chief of Defense Staff Adm. Fernando Garcia Sanchez and Army Chief of Staff Gen. Jaime Domniguez attended the ceremony as well, praising the services of the Spanish troops. Officials said to honor their commitment to Afghanistan, Spain will leave 25 troops in Kabul to support the international NATO-led mission.
Afghan security forces retake Ghormach district
On Saturday, Faryab’s deputy provincial police chief Baryalai Basharyar announced that Afghan security forces had retaken control of the Ghormach district following its brief occupation by the Taliban that began several days ago (Aljazeera, NYT). The government forces raised the Afghan flag above the district headquarters after a reported three-day offensive. Government forces are still clearing the district of small areas of Taliban resistance, according to Afghan Defense Ministry spokesman Dawlat Waziri.
Hospital bombing death toll rises to 30
Doctors Without Borders says the death toll of civilians killed in the United States air strike on the group’s Kunduz hospital has risen from 23 to 30 (TOLO News, LAT). The death toll includes “10 known patients, 13 known staff and seven unrecognizable bodies,” the organization said in a statement on Sunday. On Saturday, NATO announced that it has appointed U.S. Army Maj. Gen. William Hickman and two brigadier generals, U.S. military officers from outside the chain of command, to continue the investigation into the strike that occurred on October 3.
Bonus Read: “Karachi vice: inside the city torn apart by killings, extortion, and terrorism,” by Samira Shackle (The Guardian)
Landslides in northern Pakistan strand thousands
Rescue efforts are underway as landslides in northern Pakistan caused by unseasonably heavy rain and snow left thousands stranded (Reuters, ET). At least 3,000 tourists, mostly Pakistanis, were stranded in the towns of Naran and Kaghan, according to National Highway Authority official Abdullah Khan. “We have been working all night with the army engineers and the local administration, and we have now opened the routes between Naran and Kaghan and the Babusar Pass, removing landslides from the road,” Khan reported. More than 200 army personnel have been moved to Naran valley to carry out rescue operations, and as many as 250 tourists have been rescued.
Suicide attack targeting Shiites kills 22
A suicide bomber attacked a procession of Shiite Muslims on Friday who were taking part in a service marking the Shia holiday Ashura in Jacobabad, Sindh (NYT, Aljazeera). At least 22 people were killed and 20 others were wounded in the blast, according to officials. An investigation is underway to identify the male bomber who appeared to be in his early 20s. Lashkar-e-Jhangvi claimed responsibility for a similar attack last Thursday in Balochistan threatening more violence against Shiites, however, no group has immediately claimed responsibility for this attack.
— Alyssa Sims
ISIS claims responsibility for bombings
ISIS claimed responsibility for three bombs that exploded in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, on Saturday (NYT). The attack killed one person and injured over 100 others, according to a police officer. The bombs were set off in the midst of a major procession commemorating Ashura, a Shia Muslim holiday. ISIS has been targeting Shia Muslims, whom they view as heretics, in other countries. ISIS has also claimed responsibility for the murders of two foreigners, an Italian man and a Japanese man, in Bangladesh in the past month. Leaders of the ruling party, the Awami League, however, have dismissed these attacks—including Saturday’s attack—as the actions of domestic opposition Islamist groups. “There is no existence of Islamic State in Bangladesh,” said Qamrul Islam, the food minister.
Bonus Read: “Facebook’s Internet for All Is a Tough Sell in India,” by Vindu Goel (NYT).
India-Africa summit kicks off
The 3rd India-Africa Forum Summit kicked off on Monday in New Delhi (The Hindu, TOI, Indian Express). The summit, which is being held from Oct. 26 to Oct. 29, will involve the leaders of 54 African countries, including about 40 heads of state or government. The leaders are convening to discuss multilateral diplomatic and economic issues with the goal of deepening ties between African countries and India. Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said in her inaugural address that it is “inconceivable” and “incomprehensible” that neither India nor Africa had permanent representation on the United Nations Security Council, and she encouraged Africa’s leaders to work with each other and with India to address the issue. The two previous India-Africa summits were held in New Delhi in 2008 and in Addis Ababa in 2011, but this year’s gathering is significantly larger than either previous summit.
Indian military: ISIS shows growing interest in Kashmir
ISIS is showing a growing interest in Kashmir, an Indian military official told NDTV on Sunday (NDTV). The official, Lt. General Satish Dua, said that India’s intelligence agencies were monitoring the trend and coordinating to contain it. Dua said that so far efforts at preventing infiltration had been successful but that the military expected a major push by militants to cross over into Indian-controlled Kashmir before mountain passes become blocked with snow. A survey by an intelligence agency in September revealed that the state of Jammu and Kashmir, the portion of Kashmir controlled by India, had the largest amount of internet traffic related to ISIS. The government’s official position is that ISIS has no significant presence in India. Six Indians have been killed in Syria fighting for ISIS, and 60 others have been stopped at Indian airports for attempting to join the group, according to NDTV.
Maoist rebels burn construction equipment
Maoist rebels burned at least 37 vehicles and machines being used in road construction in the eastern state of Chhattisgarh on Sunday (NDTV). The Maoist rebels, also known as Naxals or Naxalites, attacked three construction sites simultaneously, according to the police. They threatened the workers at the construction sites and told them to leave before setting fire to the equipment and escaping into the forest. The Naxalites are a far-left radical group that have targeted government facilities and infrastructure for five decades, and they remain widespread in rural areas of eastern India.
— Udit Banerjea
— Edited by Peter Bergen
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