The South Asia Channel

Second Kabul Bombing in One Day Injures 30; All Six Pathankot Militants Dead; Pakistani Foreign Affairs Adviser Warns of Saudi-Iranian Tension

Afghanistan Bonus Read: “Flawed Justice After a Mob Killed an Afghan Woman,” by Alissa J. Rubin (NYT). Second Kabul suicide bombing in one day injures 30 At least 30 people were injured in a suicide bombing in Kabul on Monday – the second such bombing of the day (Pajhwok, TOLO News). The attack, which involved ...

US soldiers and Afghan security forces patrol at the scene of a suicide car bomb attack that targeted compound for foreign contractors near international Kabul airport on January 4, 2016.
 A powerful car bomb struck near Kabul's international airport on Monday evening, just hours after a suicide bomber blew himself up in the war-scarred Afghan capital.No group immediately claimed responsibility for the blast, which appeared to target a compound for foreign contractors, an Afghan security official told AFP. Officials said there were no immediate reports of casualties from the explosion, which was strongly felt across downtown Kabul and blew out window panes of homes. / AFP / WAKIL KOHSAR        (Photo credit should read WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP/Getty Images)
US soldiers and Afghan security forces patrol at the scene of a suicide car bomb attack that targeted compound for foreign contractors near international Kabul airport on January 4, 2016. A powerful car bomb struck near Kabul's international airport on Monday evening, just hours after a suicide bomber blew himself up in the war-scarred Afghan capital.No group immediately claimed responsibility for the blast, which appeared to target a compound for foreign contractors, an Afghan security official told AFP. Officials said there were no immediate reports of casualties from the explosion, which was strongly felt across downtown Kabul and blew out window panes of homes. / AFP / WAKIL KOHSAR (Photo credit should read WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP/Getty Images)

Afghanistan

Bonus Read: “Flawed Justice After a Mob Killed an Afghan Woman,” by Alissa J. Rubin (NYT).

Second Kabul suicide bombing in one day injures 30

At least 30 people were injured in a suicide bombing in Kabul on Monday – the second such bombing of the day (Pajhwok, TOLO News). The attack, which involved a suicide car bomb, occurred outside the Met Office southeast of the Kabul international airport. The attack was preceded by an earlier suicide bomb attack near a checkpoint for Kabul’s airport Monday morning that only killed the bomber.

Siege near Indian consulate in Balkh ends

Late on Monday, Balkh Governor Atta Mohammad Noor announced that the siege near the Indian consulate in Mazar-e-Sharif, the capital of Afghanistan’s Balkh province, had ended with the deaths of all attackers (RFE/RL, TOLO News). Provincial Police Chief Sayed Kamal Sadat confirmed that the 25 hour attack which began late on Sunday had ended. Security services were able to prevent the attackers from breaching the Indian consulate, and Indian officials report that no consular staff were injured. One member of Afghanistan’s security forces was reportedly killed in the incident and nine people were injured. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

— David Sterman

India

Bonus Read: “Isis video: Is Indian-origin Siddhartha Dhar new ‘Jihadi John’?” by Mugdha Variyar (IBT)

Bonus Read: “Indian school boy scores a record 1,009 runs in an innings,” (Guardian)

All six Pathankot militants killed

Indian Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar confirmed on Tuesday that all six militants who attacked the air force base in Pathankot in Punjab province, near India’s border with Pakistan, were killed by security forces (Reuters). The on-going operation to secure the 2000- acre air base is in its fourth day now. Seven Indian security personnel, including a lieutenant colonel were killed in the operation while eight air force personnel and 12 members of the National Security Guard have been wounded. A coalition of militant groups from Indian administered Kashmir, the United Jihad Council, has claimed responsibility for the attack.

The attack is seen as an attempt to derail the latest India-Pakistan peace initiative launched after Indian Prime Minister Modi paid a surprise visit to Pakistan last month. In the aftermath of the attack, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif called his Indian counterpart to assure him of the full support of his government to fight terrorism in India (TOI, HT). The U.S. State Department also said on Tuesday that it “expects” Pakistan to act against the attackers (BBC).

Two Naxalite rebels killed in Chhattisgarh

Two Naxalite rebels, including a commander, were killed in a gunfight with the security forces in the Kondagaon district of the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh on Tuesday (Hindu/PTI). Inspector General of Police of the nearby Bastar district, S.R. Kalluri confirmed the incident, adding that another rebel fighter, Jai Singh, was arrested. Last week government sources announced that 11 Naxalite rebels surrendered to the police in the Kondagaon district (Hindu/PTI). Skirmishes between security forces and Naxalite groups have been a fairly common occurrence since 2004. Naxalite rebel groups, often referred as “ultras” in India, are far left guerrilla militants. Authorities in India estimate there is Naxalite presence in 10 different states.

Supreme Court upholds a ban on the sale of diesel vehicles in New Delhi

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court of India upheld a temporary ban on the sale of large diesel vehicles in New Delhi, in a bid to combat air pollution in the city (Indian Express, India Today). However the court withheld its decision to implement an expected environmental tax on diesel vehicles, a measure which is opposed by local auto manufacturers. Decision on the tax is now expected next week.

— Shuja Malik

Pakistan

Bonus Read: “Pakistani Censorship ‘Runs Counter’ to Times Values,” by Margaret Sullivan (NYT)

Pakistani Foreign Affairs Adviser warns of Saudi-Iranian tension

On Tuesday, Sartaj Aziz, the foreign affairs adviser to Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, warned of the dangers of tension between Saudi Arabia and Iran (Dawn). Aziz made his comments before Pakistan’s National Assembly following criticism from opposition parties that the government had not taken a position on recent tension between the two countries following Saudi Arabia’s execution of Shi’a cleric Nimr al Nimr and an attack on Saudi Arabia’s embassy in Iran which led Saudi Arabia to cut ties with Iran. A foreign office spokesman refused to comment on speculation regarding whether Pakistan would cut ties with Iran as Bahrain and Sudan have.

Special marine battalion to guard Gwadar port

On Tuesday, the Pakistan Navy reported that it was stepping up security at Gwadar port including deploying a special marine battalion to ensure protection for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project, which is anchored by the port (ET, Dawn). The spokesman commented: “A special Marine Battalion has been raised for security of Gwadar, Chinese engineers and delegates visiting the port.” The CPEC project links Gwadar with western China through 3,000 kilometers (1,864 miles) of rail and roadways

— David Sterman

Edited by Peter Bergen

WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP/Getty Images

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