The South Asia Channel

Kabul Explosion Death Toll Doubles; “330 Million People Affected By Drought” in India; Gunmen Kill Seven Policemen During Polio Campaign in Karachi

Afghanistan Kabul explosion death toll doubles The death toll from the large-scale Taliban attack in Kabul on Tuesday rose to 64, more than double the initial figures reported, according to an Afghan official (NYT, TOLO News). Spokesman for the Interior Ministry Sediq Sediqqi reported the revised casualty numbers at a news conference in the city ...

Afghan security personnel stand at the scene of a suicide attack by Taliban militants on the Afghan parliament building in Kabul on June 22, 2015.Taliban militants attacked the Afghan parliament on June 22, with gunfire and explosions rocking the building, sending lawmakers running for cover in chaotic scenes relayed live on television.The insurgents tried to storm the complex after triggering a car bomb but were repelled and have taken position in a partially-constructed building nearby, officials said about the ongoing attack. All MPs were safely evacuated after the attack, which came as the Afghan president's nominee for the crucial post of defence minister was to be introduced in parliament. AFP PHOTO / Wakil Kohsar        (Photo credit should read WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP/Getty Images)
Afghan security personnel stand at the scene of a suicide attack by Taliban militants on the Afghan parliament building in Kabul on June 22, 2015.Taliban militants attacked the Afghan parliament on June 22, with gunfire and explosions rocking the building, sending lawmakers running for cover in chaotic scenes relayed live on television.The insurgents tried to storm the complex after triggering a car bomb but were repelled and have taken position in a partially-constructed building nearby, officials said about the ongoing attack. All MPs were safely evacuated after the attack, which came as the Afghan president's nominee for the crucial post of defence minister was to be introduced in parliament. AFP PHOTO / Wakil Kohsar (Photo credit should read WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP/Getty Images)

Afghanistan

Kabul explosion death toll doubles

The death toll from the large-scale Taliban attack in Kabul on Tuesday rose to 64, more than double the initial figures reported, according to an Afghan official (NYT, TOLO News). Spokesman for the Interior Ministry Sediq Sediqqi reported the revised casualty numbers at a news conference in the city and said that the number of people wounded in the blast also increased to 347. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack moments after the explosion which occurred at the entrance of the compound of an elite Afghan security force.

Taliban leader killed in Kunduz

A key Taliban commander and 13 other militants on Tuesday were killed during a clash in northern Kunduz province (TOLO News). Mullah Khair Mohammad, the commander, is the second Taliban commander to be killed this week in the Qala-e-Zal district of the province. The other Taliban commander, Haqyar, was killed in a clash along with seven other militants on Monday. Clashes persist in Qala-e-Zal where a military operation is underway to clear the area of insurgents.

India

“330 million people affected by drought” in India

On Wednesday the government told the Supreme Court that at least 330 million people in almost 256 districts are affected by the current drought in India, due to poor monsoon rains for a second straight year (BBC, Guardian). Authorities indicated that this number may grow given that some states with water shortages have not yet submitted status reports. The Central Water Commission reported that water levels in the country’s 91 reservoirs are at their lowest in a decade. Schools have been shut in the eastern state of Orissa and the government of Maharashtra asked local municipalities to stop supplying water to swimming pools.

160 people die in India due to heatwave

Officials confirmed on Tuesday that the recent heatwave in southern and eastern India caused at least 160 deaths up to now (NYT/AP). Most of the heat-wave victims were laborers and farmers in the states of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, and Orissa, though temperatures elsewhere in India have also hit 45 degrees Celsius (113 Fahrenheit). Coupled with water shortages, the heatwave has hit the agriculture sector very severely and there are reports of thousands of distressed farmers committing suicide, tens of thousands of farm animals dying, and crops being destroyed. This is the second consecutive year southern India was hit by a severe heat wave. Last year, around 2,500 people died in scorching temperatures before the monsoon rains began in early June.

US lawmakers want Modi to address U.S. Congress

Ed Royce, the Republican chairman, and Eliot Engel, the ranking democrat, of the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, wrote to House Speaker Paul Ryan on Tuesday, to ask him to invite Prime Minister Narendra Modi to address a joint session of Congress during a visit to Washington in June (Reuters). The representatives told Speaker Ryan, “Given the depth of our relationship with India across a range of areas – defence, humanitarian and disaster relief, space cooperation, conservation and innovation – we believe this is an ideal opportunity for the Congress to hear directly from the prime minister.” The office of the house speaker has not yet confirmed if an invitation will be extended.

Pakistan

Gunmen kill seven policemen during polio campaign in Karachi

Gunmen shot and killed seven police officers on Wednesday in two coordinated attacks in Karachi city, capital of the southern Sindh province (NYT, Dawn). The officers were killed minutes apart in separate attacks, according to Home Minister Suhail Anwar. The attackers targeted the policemen who were deployed to the city to provide security for polio workers administering a vaccine to children.

Two Pakistanis receive life sentences over pedophile ring

A Pakistani anti-terror court on Monday sentenced two men, Haseem Amir and Faizan Majeed, to life imprisonment for their roles in a pedophile ring that was discovered last year in Punjab province (NYT). The ring was uncovered after dozens of families went to the police with evidence that their children had been abused and the families blackmailed. The discovery led to the sanctioning of at least three police officers for their negligence and elevated the trial to the anti-terror courts which are occasionally used to prosecute important cases as they are perceived to be strict. Amir and Majeed are the first to be sentenced of 17 people charged with sodomy, extortion, and blackmail in relation to the abuse of children for their roles in the ring.

–Alyssa Sims and Shuja Malik

Edited by Peter Bergen

WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP/Getty Images

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