The South Asia Channel
Bergdahl to Face Desertion Charges, Possible Life in Prison; Delhi Chief Minister’s Office Raided; Pakistan Tests Missile
Afghanistan Bergdahl to face desertion charges, possible life in prison On Monday, Gen. Robert B. Abrams, head of Army Forces Command at Fort Bragg, N.C., ordered Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl to face charges of desertion and endangering troops for leaving an outpost in 2009 (NYT, LAT). The decision means that Bergdahl faces a possible life sentence. ...
Bergdahl to face desertion charges, possible life in prison
On Monday, Gen. Robert B. Abrams, head of Army Forces Command at Fort Bragg, N.C., ordered Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl to face charges of desertion and endangering troops for leaving an outpost in 2009 (NYT, LAT). The decision means that Bergdahl faces a possible life sentence. The army’s investigating officer had previously recommended a much less stringent penalty, saying jail time would be “inappropriate.” A spokesman for the army noted that initial opinions from investigators “are advisory in nature.”
20 percent of Afghanistan covered by landmines
On Monday, United Nations Mine Action Centre for Afghanistan Director Mohammad Sediq stated that 20 percent of Afghanistan remains littered with landmines (Pajhwok). Sediq noted that thousands of people have been killed or wounded by landmines and unexploded ordinance in the past 26 years including 1,126 deminers.
Afghan peace talks to resume
On Tuesday, Afghanistan’s TOLO News reported that peace talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government are likely to resume in the coming weeks, according to senior Pakistani diplomats and officials (TOLO News). One official stated: “Contacts have started. Everyone is working for creating a conducive environment for reinitiating the process.” Hopes for a renewed process have risen with an upcoming visit to Kabul from Pakistani Chief of Army Staff Gen. Raheel Sharif, which is expected in the near future (Pajhwok).
— David Sterman
Bonus Read: “How Will the Paris Climate Deal Impact Modi’s Plan to Electrify India?” By Niharika Mandhana (WSJ)
Delhi chief minister’s offices raided
The offices of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal were raided on Tuesday by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), India’s central law enforcement agency, setting off a political fight between the central government and the Delhi state government (NDTV, Indian Express). Kejriwal and his deputy chief minister, Manish Sisodia, claimed that the raid was political in nature and targeted against Kejriwal. The CBI insisted that the raid was a part of a separate investigation into corruption charges against a senior bureaucrat in the Delhi state government, Principal Secretary Rajendra Kumar. But Kejriwal took aim at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, accusing his government of orchestrating the raid for political gain. “Modi is a coward and a psychopath,” Kejriwal wrote on his Twitter account. Leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led central government said that the raid had nothing to do with Kejriwal and demanded an apology for his remarks on Twitter.
PM Modi attacks opposition over parliamentary disruptions
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke out sharply against the Congress party-led opposition on Tuesday over recent disruptions in parliament (The Hindu, NDTV). “They have made a joke of Parliament’s functioning,” Modi said at a speech in the southern state of Kerala, which is ruled by Congress. Modi claimed that the only tactics understood by the opposition were to “disrupt, destruct, [and] demolish,” a reference to a speech made by Indian President Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday in which he described parliament’s role as “debate, dissent, and decision.” Congress members of parliament have held up debate on the parliament floor over the past week to protest what they see as a political vendetta against its leaders.
Independence leader’s family wants Russian files declassified
The family of Indian independence leader Subhas Chandra Bose will meet with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday to ask him to request that the Russian government release Soviet-era classified files surrounding Bose’s death (NDTV, Asian Age). Bose, often reverently referred to with the honorific title “Netaji” (“leader”), was a revolutionary who attempted to raise an army of Indian WWII POWs to forcefully overthrow British rule in India. Bose’s venture failed, and he purportedly died in 1945 under mysterious circumstances, giving rise to numerous conspiracy theories ranging from Bose being held as a Russian prisoner in Siberia to him hiding in India as a holy man. The current official government line is that Bose died in an airplane crash over Taiwan and was cremated there. Bose’s family rejects that explanation, and they asked Modi to personally bring up the issue with Russian President Vladimir Putin during an upcoming visit to Russia.
— Udit Banerjea
Pakistan tests ballistic missile
On Tuesday, Pakistan conducted a successful test of its Shaheen 1-A ballistic missile (ET, Dawn). The Shaheen 1-A has a range of 900 kilometers (559 miles). The test follows a test last week of Pakistan’s medium-range Shaheen-III missile which has a range of 2,750 kilometers (1709 miles).
— David Sterman
Edited by Peter Bergen
U.S. Army via Getty Images
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