U.S. Soldier Killed in Marjah, 2 Evacuated After Delay; Bangladesh Upholds Death Sentence for Islamist Leader; Mumbai Opens Slum Museum; Factory Collapses in Pakistan
Afghanistan American soldier killed in Marjah fighting, two evacuated after delay Two wounded American service members and the body of one American soldier, who was killed in fighting near the city of Marjah in Helmand province, were evacuated by helicopter, U.S. officials said on Wednesday (NYT, CNN, VoA, Reuters, Fox). Col. Mike Lawhorn, a military ...
American soldier killed in Marjah fighting, two evacuated after delay
Two wounded American service members and the body of one American soldier, who was killed in fighting near the city of Marjah in Helmand province, were evacuated by helicopter, U.S. officials said on Wednesday (NYT, CNN, VoA, Reuters, Fox). Col. Mike Lawhorn, a military spokesman, stated: “all casualties have been evacuated.” The soldiers had been part of a joint U.S.-Afghan Special Operations operation in the area on Tuesday. An initial evacuation effort was waved off when the two rescue helicopters came under fire. Pentagon Spokesman Peter Cook stated: “One of those waved off after taking fire and returned safely to its base,” continuing “The second landed safely, but sustained damage to its rotor blades after it apparently struck a wall.”
Taliban captures ISIS bases
Taliban forces have captured the Batikot and Chaparhar districts of Nangarhar province from ISIS forces after fierce fighting that began earlier this week (VoA). The Taliban offensive, however, stalled and was unable to take the Nazyan district, ISIS’ major stronghold in the area. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid confirmed the seizure of two districts from ISIS.
Kabul hit by third suicide bombing in two days
For the third time in two days, Kabul was hit by a suicide bomb attack, when an attacker detonated his explosive vest at a police checkpoint near the city’s diplomatic quarter on Tuesday night (TOLO News). No casualties are reported. Tuesday’s attack was preceded by a bombing on Monday night that killed two people and wounded 36 others near Kabul’s airport and another blast near the airport on Monday morning that only killed the attacker.
— David Sterman
Bangladesh Supreme Court upholds death sentence for Islamist leader
On Wednesday, Bangladesh’s Supreme Court upheld the death sentence for 72-year-old Motiur Rahman Nizami, the chief of the country’s largest Islamist political party Bangladesh Jammat-i-Islami (BBC, WP). Nizami was sentenced in October 2014 by the International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) of Bangladesh for war crimes committed during the 1971 War of Independance.
Nizami, a former minister who served in the Bangladesh Nationalist Party-led government from 2001-2006, is one of the most high profile convictions by the ICT. The current government has been criticized for lack of transparency in the ICT trials and using these trials to target opposition parties.
Mumbai to open world’s first slum museum
Mumbai’s largest slum, Dharavi, is to open the world’s first slum museum, showcasing products made in the neighborhood (Guardian, India Times). Dharavi was the setting for the famed 2008 Danny Boyle movie “Slumdog Millionaire.” An estimated one million people live in Dharavi, and it is known to have horrific living conditions such as cramped spaces, poor ventilation, and a lack of clean toilet facilities. The organizers behind the project “Design Museum Dharavi” aim to “employ design as a tool to promote social change and innovation on a global scale.”
Indian coal imports fall for sixth consecutive month
Secretary for the Ministry of Coal, Anil Swarup, announced on Wednesday that due to increased domestic production, Indian coal imports fell for a sixth consecutive month in December 2015 (Reuters, CNBC). India is the third largest importer of coal and the state-run Coal India is the world’s biggest miner of the fuel. Annual coal imports in India fell for the first time in five years as the Modi government fast tracked environmental clearances and domestic production grew by nine percent from April to December 2015.
— Shuja Malik
Factory collapse kills one, injures 30
On Wednesday, in the Pakistani city of Gujranwala in Punjab province killed at least one person was killed and 30 others wounded by the collapse of a factory roof (ET). The collapse was reportedly triggered by a boiler explosion. The factory employs around 200 people and rescuers are still searching for people under the debris.
Four arrested in suspected Taliban Karachi plot
On Wednesday, Pakistan arrested four members of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan accused of plotting a suicide attack in Karachi (ET, Dawn). The suspects were identified as Hanif alia Nadeem Kala, Ashraf alias Bholoo, Rehmat, and Shahid. Police recovered one kilogram (2.2 pounds) of explosive material during the arrests.
— David Sterman
Edited by Peter Bergen
MASSOUD HOSSAINI/AFP/Getty Images
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