Intelligence Bureau Chief Says IS Is Growing in Pakistan; Bergdahl Court Martial Delayed; India Launches Nationwide Deworming Campaign for Children

Bonus Read: “Chabahar Port: A Win for South Asia,” by Rohullah Osmani (FP) Pakistan Intelligence Bureau chief says IS is growing in Pakistan Testifying before the Pakistani senate standing committee on interior and narcotics control on Wednesday, Aftab Sultan, Director General Intelligence Bureau, said the Islamic State (IS) is expanding in Pakistan and coordinating with the ...

Pakistani army troops cordon off a street leading to the Army Public School due to hold a ceremony to mark the first anniversary of the school massacre which left more than150 people dead, in Peshawar on December 16, 2015. Pakistan deployed paramilitary forces and police in major cities on December 16 as it marked the first anniversary of a Taliban school massacre that left 151 people dead, shocking a country already scarred by nearly a decade of attacks. AFP PHOTO / A MAJEED / AFP / A Majeed (Photo credit should read A MAJEED/AFP/Getty Images)

Bonus Read: “Chabahar Port: A Win for South Asia,” by Rohullah Osmani (FP)

Pakistan

Intelligence Bureau chief says IS is growing in Pakistan

Bonus Read: “Chabahar Port: A Win for South Asia,” by Rohullah Osmani (FP)

Pakistan

Intelligence Bureau chief says IS is growing in Pakistan

Testifying before the Pakistani senate standing committee on interior and narcotics control on Wednesday, Aftab Sultan, Director General Intelligence Bureau, said the Islamic State (IS) is expanding in Pakistan and coordinating with the Pakistani Taliban (ET). “There are reports of fighters being recruited by sectarian and other outfits, and being sent to Syria. The number of people leaving from Pakistan to Syria to join IS are in the hundreds,” he said. Sultan referenced IS attacks on media houses and schools as well, though stated terrorist attacks on the whole have decreased due to Operation Zarb-e-Azb.

World Bank chief cites Pakistan’s economic growth in visit

Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank, met with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar in Islamabad on Tuesday (Dawn). Kim remarked on Pakistan’s economic growth and increased stability, recognizing the government’s policies in achieving it. Giving examples of his country’s economic growth, the prime minister referenced Pakistan’s continued improvement in sectors such as the development of mega-hydropower projects, rail and road infrastructure, education, and health. “Let me state that under your leadership, Pakistan has witnessed phenomenal improvements in all three sectors and we support your endeavors,” Kim said.

–Albert Ford

Afghanistan

Bergdahl court martial delayed

The court martial brought against Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, who is charged with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy after disappearing from his base in Afghanistan’s Paktika province in June 2009, has been delayed by the U.S. Army Court of Criminal Appeals and presiding Judge Colonel Jeffrey Nance. This is due to disputes over the defense’s access to classified documents used by the prosecution in their case against Bergdahl (RFE/RLCNN). Last week, Colonel Nance instructed the prosecution to share several of the classified documents with the defense, which had previously claimed they had access to less than 1 percent of all the classified material. The trial was expected to unfold this summer, but could be delayed due to the holdup in the prosecution’s appeal of releasing the classified documents.

Afghan woman will get new nose in Turkey

Reza Gul, a 20-year old victim of domestic violence whose husband cut off her nose in their village in Afghanistan’s Faryab province in January, is in Ankara, Turkey to undergo reconstructive surgery (RFE/RL). Her doctor, Turkish plastic surgeon Ramazan Erkin, said, “The patient’s nose was … completely cut off…The bone, cartilage, and soft tissues are missing. But we can reattach the nose with surgery. We might carry out a couple of surgeries.” According to her family, Gul does not want to return to Afghanistan unless she has full protection. Police say they have yet to detain her husband, who fled their village after the attack.

–Albert Ford

India

India launches nationwide deworming campaign for children

Indian officials on Wednesday launched a nationwide child health campaign to combat the risk of parasitic worm infection in the country, declaring Feb. 10 as “national deworming day” (NYT/AP). The health ministry said in a statement that they aimed to reach 270 million children during this campaign and had mobilized 900,000 teachers and volunteers to take part. While officials from the health ministry have called the first day of the campaign a resounding success, 180 children in Bihar reportedly fell ill after taking the prescribed chewing tablets (Indian Express).

The World Health Organization estimates that 220 million children between the ages of 1 and 14 are at risk of parasitic worm infection in India, caused mainly by lack of proper toilets, unclean drinking water and poor hygiene. Parasitic worms decrease nutrient absorption in children and could lead to malnourishment and other diseases.

Scientists express doubt over meteorite death claim

Scientists in India have expressed skepticism over an earlier claim by Tamil Nadu’s Chief Minister Jayalalithaa Jayaram that a meteorite killed a person for the first time in nearly 200 years when it hit a bus driver named Kamraj on a college campus in the southern city of Vellore on Friday (BBC, Reuters).

The team of investigating scientists visiting from the Indian space agency argue that the small crater caused by the fallen object, the absence of a sonic boom before impact, a lack of debris and the green and blue color of rock recovered (rather than brown and black typically found in fallen meteorites) suggest some other cause. According to the scientific journal International Comet Quarterly, the last reported death from a meteorite strike was in 1825 in India.

–Shuja Malik

Edited by Peter Bergen

A MAJEED/AFP/Getty Images

More from Foreign Policy

Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a commission on military-technical cooperation with foreign states in 2017.
Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a commission on military-technical cooperation with foreign states in 2017.

What’s the Harm in Talking to Russia? A Lot, Actually.

Diplomacy is neither intrinsically moral nor always strategically wise.

Officers with the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) wait outside an apartment in Kharkiv oblast, Ukraine.
Officers with the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) wait outside an apartment in Kharkiv oblast, Ukraine.

Ukraine Has a Secret Resistance Operating Behind Russian Lines

Modern-day Ukrainian partisans are quietly working to undermine the occupation.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron wave as they visit the landmark Brandenburg Gate illuminated in the colors of the Ukrainian flag in Berlin on May 9, 2022.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron wave as they visit the landmark Brandenburg Gate illuminated in the colors of the Ukrainian flag in Berlin on May 9, 2022.

The Franco-German Motor Is on Fire

The war in Ukraine has turned Europe’s most powerful countries against each other like hardly ever before.

U.S. President Joe Biden holds a semiconductor during his remarks before signing an executive order on the economy in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, D.C.
U.S. President Joe Biden holds a semiconductor during his remarks before signing an executive order on the economy in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, D.C.

How the U.S.-Chinese Technology War Is Changing the World

Washington’s crackdown on technology access is creating a new kind of global conflict.