The South Asia Channel

Afghan Policeman Kills Four Colleagues; Indian Soldier Rescued From Siachen Avalanche Dies; U.S. Senator Impedes Sale of F-16s to Pakistan

Afghanistan Afghan policeman kills four colleagues Late Wednesday evening, an Afghan policeman opened fire and killed four other policemen and wounded seven in Kandahar’s Zhari district (NYT/AP). According to Zia Durrani, a provincial police spokesman, the officer was shot dead by another colleague soon after committing the attack. The Taliban claimed responsibility. United States names Afghan al ...

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Afghan security personnel stand guard near the site of a suicide attack at the entrance to a police base in Kabul on February 1, 2016. A Taliban suicide bomber struck a police base in central Kabul on February1, killing at least nine people just days before a fresh round of international talks aimed at reviving dialogue with the Islamist group. AFP PHOTO / WAKIL KOHSAR / AFP / WAKIL KOHSAR (Photo credit should read WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP/Getty Images)

Afghanistan

Afghan policeman kills four colleagues

Late Wednesday evening, an Afghan policeman opened fire and killed four other policemen and wounded seven in Kandahar’s Zhari district (NYT/AP). According to Zia Durrani, a provincial police spokesman, the officer was shot dead by another colleague soon after committing the attack. The Taliban claimed responsibility.

United States names Afghan al Qaeda leader as a terrorist

On Wednesday, the U.S. Treasury named Nayf Salam Muhammad Ujaym al-Hababi as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (TreasuryWSJTOLO News). According to the Treasury Department’s designation, al-Hababi has been active in Afghanistan since 2009, and is currently serving as the al Qaeda emir for the Eastern Zone of Afghanistan. He allegedly provided support for al Qaeda through the purchase and distribution of weapons, and planned and supported attacks against U.S. forces between 2012 and 2015. Adam J. Szubin, Acting Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, said, “Al-Hababi has a long history of directing deadly attacks against U.S. forces and our Coalition allies in Afghanistan, along with plotting al Qaeda terrorist operations in the United States and around the world.”

–Albert Ford

India

Bonus Read: “Sri Lanka’s Maid in Saudi Problem,” by Uditha Jayasinghe (WSJ)

Indian soldier rescued from Siachen avalanche dies

An Indian soldier found alive after being buried for six days in an avalanche on the Siachen glacier in the Indian administered region of Kashmir, Lance Naik (Corporal) Hanamanthappa Koppad, died on Thursday (WSJBBCNYT). Last week on Feb. 3, 10 Indian soldiers were trapped under 25 feet of snow when an avalanche hit the northern end of the Siachen glacier, but six days later, Koppad was miraculously rescued and airlifted to New Delhi. The army has already recovered the bodies of the other nine soldiers. Siachen glacier is a disputed region between India and Pakistan and both countries have lost hundreds of soldiers to cold weather at the “highest battleground in the world.”

India colonialism “comments deeply disturbing,” Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook chairman Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday condemned the recent comments made by a board member of the company, Marc Andreessen, about colonialism in India (WSJGuardianBBC). Zuckerberg emphasized that Andreeseen’s comment does not reflect how Facebook views India. After the Indian government banned Facebook’s free internet project in India last week on the basis of net neutrality, Andreessen tweeted “Anti-colonialism has been economically catastrophic for the Indian people for decades. Why stop now?” Andreeseen has since apologized for his comments.

Price of gold futures hits a two year high

Price of gold futures in India hit a two year high on Thursday after a surge of nearly three percent to 29,290 rupees (about $428) per 10 grams (ReutersIBT). Industry experts say the rise in prices has negatively affected physical demand for gold but emphasize that multiple causes such as slowdown in China and the global economy along with falling crude oil and commodity prices have triggered a surge in gold prices worldwide. India is the world’s second largest consumer of gold.

–Shuja Malik

Pakistan

U.S. Senator impedes sale of F-16s to Pakistan

Senator Bob Corker, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, explained in a letter dated Feb. 9 to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry that he will block the Obama administration’s subsidized sale of as many as eight F-16s due to his concerns of the Pakistani government’s close ties to militant organizations, specifically the Haqqani network (WSJ). In the letter, Senator Corker referred to Pakistan as a “duplicitous partner, moving sideways rather than forward in resolving regional challenges” and cited Pakistan’s alleged involvement with the Haqqani network’s destabilizing activities in Afghanistan.

Pakistan, Qatar sign $16 billion gas deal

On Wednesday, during Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s two-day visit to Qatar, Pakistani and Qatari officials signed a 16-year agreement that will have Qatargas-2, the world’s biggest liquefied natural gas (LNG) producer, sending 3.75 million tons of LNG to Pakistan per year (ReutersRFE/RLET). One Pakistani official said, “This is the single largest commercial transaction that Pakistan has entered into.” Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, the Pakistani petroleum minister, said the deal would account for 20 percent of Pakistan’s gas needs and will save the country roughly $1 billion per year. Pakistan, starved for energy, still has a LNG deficit that stands at roughly 2-4 billion cubic feet per day.

–Albert Ford

Edited by Peter Bergen

WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP/Getty Images

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

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