Point Person For Bacha Khan University Attack Arrested; 10 Year-Old Anti-Taliban Child Soldier Shot Dead; Boeing Considers Manufacturing F/A-18 Jets In India

Event Notice: United States of Jihad: Investigating America’s Homegrown Terrorists (DC Launch), Tuesday, February 9 (New America) Pakistan Bonus Read: “Identity Goes Beyond Islam in Pakistan,” by Madiha Afzal (FP) Point person for Bacha Khan University attack arrested Last week in Nowshera, a city in Pakistan’s northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province, Pakistani intelligence agencies arrested ...

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gettyimages-506679012
Pakistani security personnel stand near Bacha Khan University in Charsadda on January 25, 2016. Pakistan has pledged further action to combat militants, but Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif admitted progress had often been slow, speaking just days after a deadly attack by heavily armed gunmen on a university campus killed 21 people. AFP PHOTO / A MAJEED / AFP / A Majeed (Photo credit should read A MAJEED/AFP/Getty Images)

Event Notice:

United States of Jihad: Investigating America’s Homegrown Terrorists (DC Launch), Tuesday, February 9 (New America)

Pakistan

Event Notice:

United States of Jihad: Investigating America’s Homegrown Terrorists (DC Launch), Tuesday, February 9 (New America)

Pakistan

Bonus Read: “Identity Goes Beyond Islam in Pakistan,” by Madiha Afzal (FP)

Point person for Bacha Khan University attack arrested

Last week in Nowshera, a city in Pakistan’s northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province, Pakistani intelligence agencies arrested “Terrorist A,” Waheed Ali, in connection to his leadership in carrying out the deadly attack at Bacha Khan University in Charsadda on Jan. 20 (Dawn). Believed to be in his early 30s, the man had shaved his beard and was preparing to flee the country into Afghanistan before he was detained. In his statement, Waheed said the attack planning had occurred for six months in the Achin district of Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province and was overseen by Umar Mansoor (also known as Omar Naray), a Pakistani Taliban commander in KP. Waheed was the latest arrest made in connection to the Bacha Khan attack. Five others identified as facilitators are in custody.

All domestic and international Pakistan International Airlines flights cancelled

In the wake of the Pakistani International Airlines (PIA) strikes, all of the carrier’s flights were grounded on Wednesday (DawnET). Speaking to the Pakistani newspaper Dawn, the Civil Aviation Authority spokesman, Pervez George, said the services of a private carrier, Airblue, were requested so some domestic flights could operate. The protest, now in its second day, has cost Nasser Jaffer, the PIA chairman, his job in response to the force used against protesters in Karachi. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif also has warned PIA employees that they could be terminated and face a year in prison for their participation in the strike.

–Albert Ford

Afghanistan

Bonus Read: “In Afghanistan, No Leadership Means No Elections,” by Shahmahmood Miakhel (FP)

10 year-old anti-Taliban child soldier shot dead

On Wednesday, Afghan officials announced that a 10 year-old boy, Wasil Ahmad, was shot and killed as he walked outside of his house in Tirin Kot city, the capital of Uruzgan province in southern Afghanistan, on Monday (NYTAP). Last summer, along with his uncle, a former Taliban fighter who four years ago changed his support to the Afghan government, Ahmad fought against the Taliban. At one point, due to an injury to his uncle, he took command of the troops defending their district in Uruzgan. “He fought like a miracle,” his uncle, Mullah Abdul Samad, said. “He was successfully leading my men on my behalf for 44 days until I recovered.” The Taliban claimed responsibility for Ahmad’s death via their website.

Departing U.S. commander says long-term commitment is needed in Afghanistan

Testifying before the House Armed Services Committee on Tuesday, Gen. John F. Campbell, whose tenure in Afghanistan is ending soon, told the committee that the United States should not give up on Afghanistan (ReutersAP). “If I thought it wasn’t worth it, I’d tell my own son (an Army sergeant about to serve his third tour of duty in Afghanistan), ‘You need to do something different,'” Campbell said. Based on current threats from the Taliban and Islamic State (IS) – among others – and the still-developing Afghan army, the current situation does not warrant “a reduction in our support in 2016,” the general said. He also believes Afghanistan’s economy will not be self-sustaining until 2024, and requires U.S. support until then.

18 Pakistani Taliban militants killed by drone strike in Afghanistan

On Monday, 18 members of the Pakistani Taliban were killed by a drone strike in Paktika province in southeastern Afghanistan (ETDawn). Nabiullah Peerkhel, the spokesman for the Paktika governor, said the militants were heading toward the Afghan-Pakistan border when they were struck in Paktika’s Gomal district. The men were members of the organization’s Sajna group. The group’s leader, Khan Said Sajna, previously thought to be killed in a drone strike in 2015, was believed to attend. His death in 2015 had not been independently verified or acknowledged by the Mehsud tribal faction, which he also leads. According to Afghan officials, an unmanned aircraft carried out the strike.

–Albert Ford

India

Bonus Read: “From ‘Bold’ to ‘Bastard,’ Readers Debate Role of Working Women in India,” by Hanna Ingber (NYT)

Boeing considers manufacturing F/A-18 jets in India

U.S. aircraft giant Boeing is considering manufacturing its F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter jet in India, according to Chief Executive Officer Dennis Muilenberg (TOIReuters). “We see the Super Hornet as an opportunity … to tie directly into the ‘Make in India’ strategy,” said Muilenberg, referring to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s campaign to increase manufacturing in India. Muilenberg, who is currently visiting India, said the the company would be willing to back the project with billions of dollars of investment in India to meet its operational needs. Boeing’s F/A-18 was briefly considered for India’s Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft procurement program before losing out to France’s Dassault Rafale. However, a tender to purchase 126 Rafales collapsed due to cost escalation and contract delays, and India and France are in current negotiations to finalize the sale of just 36 aircraft. Boeing and other aircraft manufacturers, including Sweden’s Saab, are hoping to take advantage of the opportunity to make up the shortfall.

India becomes second largest smartphone market

India has surpassed the United States to become the world’s second largest smartphone market, according to a new report by Counterpoint Research (Indian ExpressTOI). The total base of smartphone users in India stands at 220 million users, according to the report. “India still has a long way to go as the smartphone penetration of the total potential population is still below 30 percent,” said Tarun Pathak, Senior Analyst at Counterpoint Research. Samsung leads the way in India, with nearly 29 percent market share. China remains the world’s largest market for smartphones.

Islamic group fighting radicalism in southern India

An Islamic group known as Ahlah-e-Sunnat Wal Jamaath’s Federation (ASWJ) in India’s southern state of Tamil Nadu is conducting a campaign to combat radical Islam, reports NDTV (NDTV). The ASWJ has pushed the Tamil Nadu state government to crack down on groups that spread radical Wahabbi ideology and promote ISIS. “Unfortunately, radical Islam is being peddled and the youth are falling prey. There are at least half-dozen organisations that are misleading the youth to move towards radical Islam,” said Sayed Ali Akbar, a member of the ASWJ. The ASWJ recently organized a rally against radicalism in the city of Vellore, and it plans to soon visit college campuses to spread its message.

–Udit Banerjea

Edited by Peter Bergen

A MAJEED/AFP/Getty Images

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