The South Asia Channel

Abdullah Expects Peace Talks With The Taliban To Begin Within Six Months; IMF Releases $497 Million Bailout Installment To Pakistan; Tanzanian Student Attacked By Mob In Bengaluru

Event Notice: United States of Jihad: Investigating America’s Homegrown Terrorists (DC Launch), Tuesday, February 9 (New America) Book Review: “Janet Napolitano Reviews Peter Bergen’s ‘United States of Jihad’” (NYT) Afghanistan Bonus Read: “Bin Laden’s Backers Want to Destroy Islamic State in Afghanistan,” by Eltaf Najafizada and Natalie Obiko Pearson (Bloomberg) Abdullah expects peace talks with ...

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NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 01: Chief Executive Officer of Afghanistan, Abdullah Abdullah speaks during the 2015 Concordia Summit at Grand Hyatt New York on October 1, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Leigh Vogel/Getty Images for Concordia Summit)

Event Notice:

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

Book Review: “Janet Napolitano Reviews Peter Bergen’s ‘United States of Jihad’” (NYT)

Afghanistan

Bonus Read: “Bin Laden’s Backers Want to Destroy Islamic State in Afghanistan,” by Eltaf Najafizada and Natalie Obiko Pearson (Bloomberg)

Abdullah expects peace talks with the Taliban to begin within six months

Speaking in New Delhi on Thursday, Abdullah Abdullah, Afghanistan’s chief executive officer, commented that he expects peace talks with the Taliban to begin within six months (Reuters). The announced death of the group’s leader, Mullah Omar, in July 2015 has left the group deeply divided with some factions advocating to give up violence and negotiate with the Afghan government. “There might be groups among the Taliban who might be willing to talk and give up violence,” Abdullah told Reuters. Asked when that could happen, he responded, “”It should be sooner than six months.” Abdullah also believes the United States will maintain its troop presence beyond 2016.

Abdullah seeks India’s help for regional economic corridor

Afghanistan’s Abdullah Abdullah appeared before a group of industry representatives in New Delhi on Wednesday to promote the development of an Afghan-Indian economic corridor (RFE/RL).  The corridor, which would link Afghanistan, India, Iran, and other parts of Central Asia, would have Iran’s Chabahar port as its base. Abdullah believes the port could “act as a gateway towards opening new energy and trade routes not only in Afghanistan but in Central Asia as well.” India and Iran signed a memorandum of understanding in May 2015, but the project to develop the port stalled.

Afghan security forces kill 17 Taliban insurgents in Kunduz

On Thursday, local officials in northern Afghanistan’s Kunduz province said Afghan security forces launched an operation that killed 17 Taliban insurgents in the Ali Abad district (TOLO News). Thursday’s clash came after members of the Taliban attacked military outposts in Kunduz on Wednesday. Commenting on Taliban casualties, Mohammad Masoum Safi, a provincial security official, said, “Two senior commanders of the Taliban Mawlawi Neyazi and Mawlawi Abdul Hai are among the dead.”

–Albert Ford

Pakistan

Bonus Read: “Balochistan: Pakistan’s information black hole,” by Jon Boone and Kiyya Baloch (Guardian)

IMF releases $497 million bailout installment to Pakistan

As part of the $6.7 billion bailout agreed to by Pakistan and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) three years ago, the IMF on Thursday released another $497 million installment during a meeting between Pakistani and IMF officials in Dubai (Reuters). The release comes despite Pakistan’s failure to privatize its state-run power supply companies and sell other state firms that are under water, both of which Pakistan agreed to do as part of the bailout terms. An IMF statement read, “While many structural benchmarks have been met, measures pertaining to the energy sector reform and restructuring of loss-making public enterprises are yet to be implemented.” Facing a foreign currency exchange deficit that covered less than six weeks of imports, the IMF loan helped Pakistan avert a default in 2013.

–Albert Ford

India

Bonus Read: “India and the Search for a Zika Vaccine,” by Suryatapa Bhattacharya (WSJ)

Tanzanian student attacked by mob in Bengaluru

A mob of people attacked and partially stripped a 21-year-old Tanzanian female student in the southern city of Bengaluru, also known as Bangalore (BBCIndian Express). The woman and three of her friends — all Tanzanians — were stopped and attacked after they passed by the site of an accident where an allegedly drunk Sudanese student had run over and killed a local woman with his car. The crowd chased the woman and “removed her top,” according to the police. Some earlier reports suggested that the woman was stripped and paraded naked down the street, but those were refuted by Karnataka state’s Home Minister G. Parmeshwara at a press conference. Police have arrested five people connected to the incident and continue to investigate. Bengaluru, located in Karnataka, is home to hundreds of foreign students. Bonus Read: “India’s Media has a Rape Problem,” by Rianna Starheim (FP)

Ten Indian soldiers missing after avalanche

An avalanche struck the Siachen Glacier in Indian-administered Kashmir on Wednesday, trapping ten Indian soldiers (WPBBCDawn). Army and air force teams have been deployed in the search operation along with rescue dogs, according to army spokesman Col. S.D. Goswamy. Pakistan’s director general military operations (DGMO) called his Indian counterpart on Thursday to offer assistance with the recovery efforts. Last month, four Indian soldiers were killed by an avalanche in the same region. The Siachen Glacier is sometimes known as the world’s highest battlefield, and the de facto border between India and Pakistan runs through the glacier. Kashmir is partially controlled by India and Pakistan, though both countries claim it in its entirety.

–Udit Banerjea

Edited by Peter Bergen

Leigh Vogel/Getty Images

Albert Ford is a research assistant with the International Security Program at New America.

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