The South Asia Channel

David Headley: ISI Paid Me for Recon of 26/11 Targets; Pakistan Arrests Purported Indian Spy; One Dead as Tensions Flare Between Afghan Strongmen

India David Headley: ISI paid me for reconnaissance for 26/11 targets A U.S. citizen convicted for his role in the 2008 Mumbai attacks told an Indian court on Thursday that the Pakistani intelligence service ISI paid him directly for reconnaissance of target for the 26/11 attacks (CNN-IBN). In his testimony given through video link from ...

Tourist boats lie anchored near the Taj Mahal Palace hotel, one of the 2008 militant attack sites, in Mumbai on November 26, 2015. A total of 166 people were killed and more than 300 others were injured when 10 heavily-armed Islamist militants stormed the city on November 26, 2008, attacking a number of sites, including the city's main railway station, two luxury hotels, a popular tourist restaurant and a Jewish centre.  AFP PHOTO/ PUNIT PARANJPE / AFP / PUNIT PARANJPE        (Photo credit should read PUNIT PARANJPE/AFP/Getty Images)
Tourist boats lie anchored near the Taj Mahal Palace hotel, one of the 2008 militant attack sites, in Mumbai on November 26, 2015. A total of 166 people were killed and more than 300 others were injured when 10 heavily-armed Islamist militants stormed the city on November 26, 2008, attacking a number of sites, including the city's main railway station, two luxury hotels, a popular tourist restaurant and a Jewish centre. AFP PHOTO/ PUNIT PARANJPE / AFP / PUNIT PARANJPE (Photo credit should read PUNIT PARANJPE/AFP/Getty Images)

India

David Headley: ISI paid me for reconnaissance for 26/11 targets

A U.S. citizen convicted for his role in the 2008 Mumbai attacks told an Indian court on Thursday that the Pakistani intelligence service ISI paid him directly for reconnaissance of target for the 26/11 attacks (CNN-IBN). In his testimony given through video link from the United States, Headley claimed that he was given one hundred thousand Pakistani rupees to scout National Defence College, Chabad House, and other places in Mumbai. Last month, Headley also told the court that he had visited India seven times prior to the attack, on behalf of the banned Pakistani militant organization Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), to gather information scouting potential target locations in Mumbai ahead of the attacks. Headley, 52, was captured in 2013 in the United States and plead guilty to charges of working with LeT and his involvement in the attacks, to avoid the death penalty and extradition to India. The November 2008 attacks in Mumbai were a coordinated set of strikes on the railway station, luxury hotels and a Jewish cultural center, and claimed 166 lives along with nine attackers.

PDP and BJP alliance government to be set up in Jammu and Kashmir

The ruling Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) announced on Friday that it will continue its support to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state legislature of Jammu and Kashmir, and nominated Nirmal Singh to be the deputy chief minister in the state (Hindu, IBT). The PDP-BJP coalition came to power in 2014, but earlier this year PDP Chief Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed died at the age of 79. The state has been under governor rule since Jan. 8 and talks between PDP and BJP regarding the coalition have broken down a number of times over the past few weeks. But after a meeting last week between Sayeed’s daughter Mehbooba Mufti and Prime Minister Modi, the PDP on Thursday announced Mehbooba Mufti as the chief ministerial candidate.
— Shuja Malik

Pakistan

Pakistan arrests purported Indian intelligence officer

On Friday, Pakistani officials announced that they arrested an Indian intelligence officer in Balochistan (AP, ET, Dawn). Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry alleged that the man was involved in violence and lodged a complaint with India. A spokesperson for the ministry commented, “Kul Yadav Bhoshan, a commander-ranked officer in Indian Navy was working for RAW and was in contact with Baloch separatists and terrorists fueling sectarian violence in Pakistan and Balochistan.”

Pakistan debuts Chinese helicopter

On Wednesday, during a military parade for Pakistan Day, Pakistan debuted its acquisition of the Chinese made CAIC Z-10 helicopter gunship as well as its Shaheen III ballistic missile (DefenseNews). The Z-10 gunship had been under evaluation in Pakistan for the past year and reportedly received impressed reviews from the Pakistani military. On Wednesday, Pakistan also announced that the Z-10 was in service.

Afghanistan

Bonus Read: “Buttressing a ‘Wall of Kindness’ Against a Harsh Reality in Afghanistan,” by Rod Nordlan (NYT)

One dead as tensions flare between Afghan strongmen

At least one person is dead after tensions flared between two former Afghan warlords, Afghanistan’s Vice President Abdul Rashid Dostum and Balkh Province Governor Atta Mohammad Noor, in Faryab province on Thursday (NYT, RFE/RL, TOLO News). Sayed Aqa Andarabi, the provincial police chief, commented: “One person was killed and five others wounded in the protests.” The clashes were sparked after hundreds of protesters marched on Tuesday in Mazar-i-Sharif, the capital of Balkh province, against the removal of two billboards displaying Dostum’s face alleging that they had been removed by his rival Noor. The dispute and recent death raised concerns about Afghanistan’s ability to contain the various competing factions within its political system.

ISIS arrives in Kunar

On Friday, Gen. Abdul Habib Syedkhel, the provincial police chief for Kunar province, announced that at least 85 families of Islamic State militants have arrived in eastern Kunar province fleeing military defeats in Achin district of Nangarhar province (Pajhwok). Gen. Syedkhel’s also suggested that the leader of the Islamic State in Afghanistan had lived with these families.

2,000 TB cases recorded in Kandahar

On Thursday, local health officials in Kandahar said that 2,000 cases of TB had been recorded in the province over the past year (Pajhwok). Mohammad Hussain Akrami, the public health department official responsible for controlling tuberculosis, stated that 64 percent of the cases were women.

— David Sterman

Myanmar

Myanmar Stock Exchange starts trading in Yangon

On Friday, Myanmar’s stock exchange started trading with a single company First Myanmar Investment (FMI) listed (Reuters). Myanmar’s economy suffered during the almost 50 years of military rule in the country which ended in 2011, and the transitional government set up to reframe the country’s constitution introduced numerous economic reforms, including establishing a stock exchange in the country’s financial capital Yangon in December 2015. The inaugural listing FMI is one of Myanmar’s largest companies and its sister company, Yoma Strategic Holdings Ltd, is listed in Singapore.

— Shuja Malik

Edited by Peter Bergen

PUNIT PARANJPE/AFP/Getty Images

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