U.S. Special Forces Called In Hospital Strike, Believed it Under Taliban Control; Earthquake Kills More Than 300 in Afghanistan and Pakistan; Indian Crime Boss Arrested in Indonesia
Afghanistan U.S. Special Forces called in hospital strike; believed it under Taliban control The U.S. Army Green Berets who called in the air strike on the Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz on October 3 had advanced intelligence that it was a functioning medical facility, according to documents viewed by sources of the Associated Press ...
U.S. Special Forces called in hospital strike; believed it under Taliban control
The U.S. Army Green Berets who called in the air strike on the Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz on October 3 had advanced intelligence that it was a functioning medical facility, according to documents viewed by sources of the Associated Press (AP). The intelligence also suggested that the hospital was being used as a Taliban command and control center and may have housed a Pakistani operative and heavy artillery. However, this was refuted twice in advance of the strike by Doctors Without Borders personnel who spoke with U.S. forces. A day before the air strike, a senior Green Beret officer wrote in a report that U.S. forces had discussed the hospital with the Doctors Without Borders country director, adding to evidence that the U.S. military knowingly struck a functioning hospital in violation of international law.
A nearby hospital run by Afghanistan’s health ministry had been seized by the Taliban, according to a senior U.S. defense official, but an intelligence dossier with the Doctors Without Borders hospital circled makes it unlikely the U.S. military confused the two. Furthermore, following the attack a U.S. intelligence report said 16 enemies had been killed at the hospital, including the Pakistani operative. Additionally, a senior Green Beret officer reportedly told superiors his troops and Afghan security forces were under fire prior to the hospital strike. Neither account has been corroborated. Pentagon spokesman Maj. Roger Cabiness declined to respond to questions while formal investigations are underway.
Earthquake kills more than 300 in Afghanistan and Pakistan
Officials said on Tuesday that the death toll from the 7.5-magnitude earthquake that hit the Hindu Kush mountain range yesterday has exceeded 300 in Pakistan and Afghanistan and is likely to rise as a complete picture of the damage in remote areas emerges (NYT, TOLO News, Dawn). In Afghanistan, officials said the quake had killed at least 82 people, injured hundreds, and destroyed more than 4,000 homes. The National Disaster Management Authority in Pakistan said the death toll there had reached 231 and at least 1,620 people had been injured, with 2,520 houses damaged. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said if requested, U.N. agencies are ready to support government-led relief operations for earthquake victims in both countries (NYT, Pajhwok).
Troops retake police headquarters in Dasht-e-Archi district after two years
Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) retook the police headquarters in the Dasht-e-Archi district of northern Kunduz on Monday, according to Deputy Chief of Army Staff Gen. Murad Ali Murad (TOLO News). The police headquarters fell to the Taliban two years ago. Murad stated that the ANSF also managed to retake control of the district’s market. “Fifteen Taliban insurgents including their deputy shadow governor Mullah Rahim were killed in clashes with the security forces and three other insurgents were injured,” Murad said in an interview, reporting that the clashes between the ANSF and the Taliban in that area continue.
— Alyssa Sims
Indian crime boss arrested in Indonesia
Indian crime boss Rajendra Sadashiv Nikalje, known by the alias Chhota Rajan (“Little Rajan”), was arrested in an airport in Bali, Indonesia on Monday (BBC, NDTV). Rajan was a major figure in the criminal underworld of the city of Mumbai, where he is wanted for at least 17 murder cases and other charges of illegal possession and use of firearms. Rajan has been on the run for 20 years. Australian police tipped off Indian authorities on his location, and India’s central law enforcement agency made an arrest request to Indonesian police through Interpol. Rajan had flown into Bali from Australia, where Australian police said he had been living under a different name. Relying on Mumbai police sources, however, NDTV reports that Rajan may have orchestrated his own arrest to seek protection from his longtime rival and fellow Mumbai crime boss, Dawood Ibrahim. Rajan showed no signs of resistance, and he is expected to be deported to India to face charges.
“Mystery Woman” Geeta returns to India
An Indian woman who has spent the last decade stranded in Pakistan was welcomed back to India on Monday(NYT, NDTV, BBC). The woman, named Geeta, is speech and hearing impaired, and she is believed to have strayed into Pakistan by accident when she was eleven years old. Geeta was unable to provide a name, address, or other identifying information to Pakistani border guards who found her at the time. She was taken in by a charity shelter, where she had lived since then. The Indian government finally recognized Geeta as an Indian citizen in August. Geeta was cleared to return to India earlier this month after she claimed to recognize her family from pictures sent to her. However, upon returning to India, she is “refusing to recognize her family,” said Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj. A DNA test is being conducted to determine whether or not Geeta is related to the family. Several other families have claimed Geeta as their own in the meantime.
Devotees donate stocks to religious centers
Wealthy devotees in India are increasingly donating stocks to temples, mosques, and churches in lieu of traditional donations of cash or gold, according to a Times of India report on Tuesday (TOI). Within the past few months, over 50 trusts in charge of such religious centers have opened electronic stock accounts in India, according to the report. In the past, some wealthy devotees would deposit physical share certificates into donation boxes, which was tedious for the religious trusts to process. A stock market boom in India coupled with stagnating gold prices have led to the switch to stock donations, according to brokers. Religious trust officials interviewed by the Times of India stated their intent to remain passive shareholders and abstain from voting in shareholder meetings for companies in which they hold equity.
— Udit Banerjea
Militants firing from Afghanistan into Pakistan kill seven soldiers
The Pakistani army reported that Islamist militants firing from Afghanistan into Pakistan killed seven members of the paramilitary Frontier Constabulary (FC) near a border town in the South Waziristan region (NYT, Dawn). “Heavy fire from across Pak Afghan border early morning today on a FC check post northeast of Angoor Adda in South Waziristan…seven FC soldiers embraced shahadat (martyrdom),” the military said in a statement.
— Alyssa Sims
Tune in to this week’s new Editor’s Roundtable (The E.R.) podcast episode, where David Rothkopf, Rosa Brooks, Kori Schake, and Tom Ricks debate whether the U.S. military is still too much of an industrial-era relic to operate in the Information Age. How can the U.S. military adapt to a new world order and is it even possible to upgrade the current system without the urgency of a catastrophe? Listen and subscribe to FP’s podcasts on iTunes and Stitcher: http://atfp.co/1K7nhrI
Edited by Peter Bergen
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