The South Asia Channel
14 Dead at Clinic North of Kabul; Delhi High Court Tells JNU Students to Surrender; Police Raid Kills 12 Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent Militants Near Karachi
Afghanistan 14 dead at clinic north of Kabul On Monday, a suicide bomber riding a motorcycle in Parwan, north of Kabul, attacked and killed 14 people and wounded 11 others at a health clinic (Reuters). Of the 14 dead were six police officers and eight civilians, according to Wahid Seddiqi, a spokesman for the Parwan ...
14 dead at clinic north of Kabul
On Monday, a suicide bomber riding a motorcycle in Parwan, north of Kabul, attacked and killed 14 people and wounded 11 others at a health clinic (Reuters). Of the 14 dead were six police officers and eight civilians, according to Wahid Seddiqi, a spokesman for the Parwan governor. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack – initially targeting a local police commander – and attributed the civilian casualties to being fired on by the police.
IS suffers due to U.S. air strikes
A U.S. drone strike that reportedly killed as many as 22 Islamic State (IS) fighters hit Achin district, an area in Afghanistan’s eastern Nangarhar province, on Monday (Reuters). Col. Michael Lawhorn, a spokesman for the U.S. operation in Afghanistan, confirmed the “counter-terrorism strike” but did not offer more details “for reasons of operational security.” In late January and February 2016, the United States has conducted roughly 20 air strikes against IS targets in Afghanistan. Sherin Aqa, a spokesman for the Afghan army’s 201st Corps, said, “The air strikes are very useful and we have been able to make progress with their help. The air strikes must continue for us to stop Daesh (IS).” Monday’s drone strike occurred due to an intelligence-sharing partnership forged between Afghan and U.S. security officials, according to Aqa.
QCG countries meet in Kabul to discuss Afghan-Taliban peace talks
On Tuesday, representatives from the four Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) countries – the United States, China, Pakistan, and Afghanistan – met to set a date and make a plan to bring members of the Taliban to the negotiating table before the end of February (Reuters, TOLO News, RFE/RL, VOA, AP). The goal is not to meet with the Taliban before the end of February, but to have a framework, date, and venue set so as to move expeditiously to hold the actual talks. The Taliban – still reeling from the announced death of its former leader, Mullah Omar, in July and the splintering into factions that came from it – remains noncommittal and will not attend Tuesday’s meeting.
Signs of potential progress exist. On Monday, Pakistani Chief of Army Staff Gen. Raheel Sharif met officials from Qatar, where the Taliban maintain a political office, to prepare for Tuesday’s meeting. Ashraf Ghani, president of Afghanistan, recently appointed a widely respected political and religious leader, Pir Sayed Ahmad Gilani, as the new head of the Afghan High Peace Council, which is directly tasked with persuading armed groups to end the violence. To date, though, the council has been unsuccessful.
Bonus Read: “How ‘black money’ saved the Indian economy,” by Justin Rowlatt (BBC)
Bonus Read: “India’s crackdown on dissent,” by the Editorial Board (NYT)
Delhi High Court tells JNU students to surrender
The Delhi High Court on Tuesday rejected bail requests from two Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) students, Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya, who are charged with sedition by Delhi police (HT, NDTV, Hindu). The High Court ordered the students to voluntarily surrender themselves immediately. Two more students, Rama Naga and Anant Prakash Narayan, filed anticipatory bail pleas to the court as well on Tuesday.
Delhi police are investigating a rally held at JNU campus for acts of sedition, which condemned the execution of Kashmiri man Afzal Guru convicted for his involvement in the 2001 attack on the Indian parliament. The president of the student government, Kanhaiya Kumar, was arrested on Feb. 12 for his role in organizing the event and allegedly shouting anti-India slogans. Kumar is to be presented in court on Wednesday under extremely heightened security arrangements as he was severely beaten when he appeared in court last week.
Jats reach agreement to end protests
On Monday, Jat community leaders and the Haryana state government reached an agreement to end protests after 19 people were killed and 170 injured over the week of protests (Reuters). Members of the Jat community had demanded inclusion in caste quotas for jobs and education opportunities that are available to lower castes. In March 2014 the Congress-led national government said it would re-categorize Jats as Other Backward Castes (OBC), but India’s Supreme Court ruled in 2015 that the Jats were not a backward community. Protesters had earlier blocked Munak Canal, the main water supply resource for New Delhi, which left nearly ten million residents without water over the weekend. However, authorities say water supply has been significantly restored (BBC).
Police raid kills 12 al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent militants near Karachi
A police raid at a house in Pipri district, roughly 30 miles northeast of Karachi, on Monday resulted in the deaths of 12 militants with links to al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (RFE/RL). The militants had prior links to attacks on police officers and targeted killings in Karachi. According to Rao Anwar, a senior police official who led the raid, the police also recovered explosive material, bomb-making devices, and suicide vests.
–Albert Ford and Shuja Malik
Edited by Peter Bergen
WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP/Getty Images