The South Asia Channel

Al Qaeda Resurgent in Afghanistan; Pakistani Gang Kills Six Policemen, Takes 24 Hostages; Extreme Heat Wave Hits Southern India

Afghanistan Al Qaeda resurgent in Afghanistan Al Qaeda’s network in Afghanistan is slowly expanding, according to a CNN report on Wednesday (CNN). Acting Defense Minister Masoom Stanikzai told CNN, “They are working behind other networks, giving them support and the experience they had in different places. And double their resources and recruitment and other things. ...

A Pakistani tribesperson is pictured along a shuttered market in Miranshah in North Waziristan, a stronghold for Taliban and Al-Qaeda-linked militants near the border with Afghanistan, on June 15, 2014, during a curfew imposed by authorities. Pakistani fighter jets launched air strikes early June 15 against militant hideouts in the country's troubled northwest, killing more than 50 insurgents, the Pakistan military said.  AFP PHOTO/STR        (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)
A Pakistani tribesperson is pictured along a shuttered market in Miranshah in North Waziristan, a stronghold for Taliban and Al-Qaeda-linked militants near the border with Afghanistan, on June 15, 2014, during a curfew imposed by authorities. Pakistani fighter jets launched air strikes early June 15 against militant hideouts in the country's troubled northwest, killing more than 50 insurgents, the Pakistan military said. AFP PHOTO/STR (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)

Afghanistan

Al Qaeda resurgent in Afghanistan

Al Qaeda’s network in Afghanistan is slowly expanding, according to a CNN report on Wednesday (CNN). Acting Defense Minister Masoom Stanikzai told CNN, “They are working behind other networks, giving them support and the experience they had in different places. And double their resources and recruitment and other things. That is how — they are not talking too much. They are not making press statements. It is a big threat.”

Major General Jeff Buchanan, Deputy Chief of Staff for the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan, concurred saying, “If you go back to last year, there were a lot of intel estimates that said within Afghanistan al Qaeda probably has 50 to 100 members, but in this one camp we found more than 150,” referring to the recent discovery and destruction of an al Qaeda training camp in Kandahar province. U.S. officials told CNN the number of core al Qaeda operatives in Afghanistan could be as high as 300, but that number does include other facilitators and sympathizers in their network.

Kunduz highway police chief killed in ambush

The highway police chief for northern Kunduz was killed on Wednesday in an ambush by insurgents (TOLO News). Highway police chief Qahar Khorbabi died along with seven of his bodyguards in Farkhar district after Khorbabi left home in Takhar province for his office in Kunduz city. Khorbabi had been Kunduz’s highway police chief for more than two years. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Pakistan

Pakistani gang kills six policemen, takes 24 hostages

Pakistani gang members killed six policemen and took 24 hostages on Thursday during a police raid in Punjab province (NYT). Security officials had entered the ninth day of an operation to flush out the gangsters on an island hideout in Punjab. 1,600 security officials, including police officials and paramilitary Rangers, reportedly battled for control of the island. “The gang has held 24 persons hostage, including police officials. We are not sure how many civilian and police officials are among the hostages,” Punjab police spokeswoman Nabeela Ghazanfar told Reuters.

India

Extreme heat wave hits southern India

A heat wave across the southern states of India including Telangana, Orissa, and Andhra Pradesh led to dozens of reported deaths over the past two days as authorities struggle to cope with the unusually high temperatures (BBCTime). Temperatures in some parts of the country peaked at 46 degrees Celsius (115 degrees Fahrenheit), with certain parts of Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh receiving less than half the normal rainfall for the year at this point. However, India’s only private weather forecaster, Skymet, predicted on Monday that 2016 annual monsoon rains in the country are likely to be above average, which is significantly important to the agriculture sector of the economy.  Almost 70 percent of India’s 1.3 billion people live in rural areas and are heavily dependent on the agriculture sector, which accounts for about 14 percent of India’s $2 trillion economy.

6.9 magnitude earthquake hits eastern India, Myanmar

According to U.S. Geological Survey reports, a strong earthquake struck Myanmar on Wednesday, with tremors felt across the region (Al-JazeeraBBC). The tremors could be felt in the northeastern Indian state of Assam, the city of Kolkata, and the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka. Reports suggest that the earthquake lasted for nearly two minutes and registered a 6.9 magnitude on the Richter scale.

–Alyssa Sims and Shuja Malik

Edited by Peter Bergen

STR/AFP/Getty Images

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