2017 July 12 : AsiaNet-Pakistan

Archive for July 12th, 2017

MILITARY DRILLS OF NATO COUNTRIES START IN BULGARIA

July 12, 2017 |

Major military drills of the NATO countries have begun in southern Bulgaria.Nearly twenty five thousand military personnel from twenty two NATO allied and partner countries are participating in The Saber Guardian 17 exercise.These drills have been cons…

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US Drone Strike Reportedly Killed 4 Key IS Commanders

July 12, 2017 |

NANGARHAR, AFGHANISTAN/WASHINGTON �

A suspected U.S. drone strike has reportedly killed four key Islamic State commanders in eastern Afghanistan, a provincial security official in Nangarhar said.

The drone strike late Tuesday � which has not been immediately confirmed by the Pentagon � targeted a gathering of IS militants in eastern Kunar province, killing 11 fighters, including four commanders.

The drone strike targeted IS militants in the Gambir region, provincial police chief, Juma Gul Hemmat told VOA’s Afghan service. Four IS commanders along with seven of their fighters were killed in the strike.

The slain commanders also include Mohammad Rahman who was in charge of the terror group’s financial affairs and Noora, known by his first name, who had the responsibility of recruiting new fighters in the province.

A brother of Rahman was also killed in the strike, according to police chief Hemmat.

Based in southern parts of eastern Nangarhar province, IS’s self-styled Khorasan province branch emerged in early 2015 in the mountainous areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan. The terror group is active in several districts of eastern Nangarhar province.

IS in Afghanistan has been able to draw its members from the Pakistani Taliban fighters, some former Afghan Taliban, and other militants who believe that associating with or pledging allegiance to IS will further their interests, according to an annual Pentagon report submitted to U.S. Congress .

Extending its reach

The group has recently expanded its presence and activities to neighboring Kunar province as well.

According to police chief, Hemmat, up to 2,000 IS fighters are active in several districts of Kunar province.

He told VOA that the terror group has established a training base in the Patash valley, where foreign fighters, including Arabs and Pakistanis provide training to new recruits.

Attaullah Khogyani, Nangarhar provincial government spokesperson told VOA that as IS is losing ground in Nangarhar, it is trying to expand to neighboring mountainous Kunar and Nuristan provinces, which share a border with Pakistan to establish a persistent presence there.

U.S. and Afghan forces have been engaged in joint- counterterrorism operations against IS in eastern Afghanistan. Earlier this year, American military, in partnership with Afghan security forces, promised to eliminate IS in Afghanistan this year. Hundreds of IS fighters, including several senior commanders, have been killed in recent months.

In May of this year, Sheikh Abdul Hasib, the terror group’s leader in Afghanistan was killed in a joint U.S. Afghan forces raid in Nangarhar.

In April, the U.S. Air Force dropped a Massive Ordinance Air Bomb (MOAB), informally known as the mother of all bombs, on an IS stronghold in Achin district of Nangarhar, killing at least 95 IS fighters, mostly foreign nationals.

Source: Voice of America

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India Police Warned Weeks Ago of Attack on Hindus in Kashmir

July 12, 2017 |

SRINAGAR, INDIA �

As India’s government on Tuesday blamed separatist rebels for gunning down seven Hindu pilgrims and wounding 19 more in Kashmir before fleeing into the night, rebel groups in the disputed region condemned the rare, deadly attack on civilians and insisted they had no part in it.

A memo that was circulated to regional police, military and paramilitary units two weeks ago indicates Indian security officials had been expecting an attack. The memo, marked top secret, warned that a sensational attack by terrorist outfits cannot be ruled out in the mostly Muslim region.

The memo, dated June 25 and verified as authentic by The Associated Press, said terrorists have been directed to eliminate 100 to 150 yatris (pilgrims) and about 100 police.

It described circumstances eerily similar to what transpired Monday night: The attack may be in the form of standoff fire on yatra (pilgrimage) convoy, which they (militants) believe will result in flaring of communal tensions throughout the nation.

Police said the attack began with gunmen unleashing a hail of bullets on an armored police vehicle and, soon after, on a nearby police patrol. They said that a bus carrying 60 Hindu pilgrims had been passing through the area when the patrolling police and militants were exchanging fire, and that some bullets struck the bus and its passengers.

The police also said that the bus had been traveling at night, despite instructions to avoid the roads after dark. Though security had been increased along the route for the pilgrimage, the thousands of deployed soldiers and police do not patrol overnight.

Several bus passengers who were wounded gave a different version of events, saying the bus had been targeted from three directions during the attack. They said the driver kept driving the bus as it was being struck with bullets near the southern town of Anantnag on the main highway linking Kashmir with the rest of India.

The annual summer pilgrimage to the Amarnath cave shrine, which began June 29 under heavy security, has been targeted in the past. Opponents of Indian rule in Kashmir accuse Hindu-majority India of using the pilgrimage as a political statement to bolster its claim to the disputed region.

On Tuesday, thousands of Hindus continued the religious pilgrimage undeterred, as Indian soldiers and police increased security along the Himalayan route for buses carrying pilgrims to the base camps where they start walking the path to the high mountain cave.

None of the rebel groups fighting to oust India from the mostly Muslim region has claimed responsibility for the attack, and the three top separatist leaders in Kashmir condemned it.

They demanded an independent investigation into the attack.

This incident goes against the very grain of Kashmiri ethos, the separatist leaders – Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammed Yasin Malik – said in a joint statement.

Police were searching for the assailants, who they said were from the Pakistan-based rebel group Lashkar-e-Taiba. India also blames the group for a 2008 attack that left 166 people dead in India’s commercial capital of Mumbai.

We’re investigating the attack, but we know certainly that the Lashkar has done it. We’ll soon deal with them, police Inspector-General Muneer Ahmed Khan said.

Lashkar-e-Taiba denied any involvement in the attack, which they called reprehensible and un-Islamic, according to a statement sent to local media in Srinagar, the main city in Indian-controlled Kashmir.

The group said India was behind the attack, to sabotage the freedom struggle of Kashmiris and fulfill its nefarious agenda to crush the popular anti-India rebellion.

No Kashmiri has ever targeted any pilgrims, and this barbarity and atrocity is the trademark of Indian forces, the group’s statement said.

Residents said they were afraid of a possible backlash by Hindu nationalists and Indian forces against Kashmiris elsewhere in India.

My two brothers are studying in India, school teacher Shagufta Kaunsar said. I don’t know if it’s really safe for them there. We’re already telling them to come back home.

Omar Abdullah, a former chief minister of Kashmir, asked India’s home ministry to protect Kashmiri students and workers across the nation. Possibility of backlash can’t be ignored, he said in a Twitter message.

Most of the pilgrims wounded in the attack were released from hospitals on Tuesday. The bodies of those killed were flown to New Delhi on their way to the pilgrims’ west Indian states of Gujarat and Maharashtra.

The attack sparked outrage across Kashmir and much of India.

In the Jammu region of Kashmir, which is dominated by Hindus, hundreds of protesters shouted angry slogans against the militants and burned a faceless effigy meant to represent both terrorism and Pakistan, which India blames for supporting the rebels. Many shops and businesses were shuttered for a protest strike in Jammu.

Meanwhile, students in the Gujarati city of Ahmadabad gathered for a sit-in to protest all religious violence, while peace activists planned a candlelight vigil in New Delhi on Tuesday night.

The Press Trust of India news agency said the last major attack on Amarnath pilgrims occurred in 2000, when gunmen killed 30 people in the Pahalgam area, including local porters carrying pilgrim’s baggage up the mountain path.

Source: Voice of America

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Ivorian president meets OIC chief; ratifies Charter

July 12, 2017 |

Abidjan President of CAte d’Ivoire Alassane Ouattara met Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Dr. Yousef Al-Othaimeen on Monday on the sidelines of the 44th session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM), which con…

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India Police Warned Weeks Ago of Attack on Hindus in Kashmir

July 12, 2017 |

SRINAGAR, INDIA �

As India’s government on Tuesday blamed separatist rebels for gunning down seven Hindu pilgrims and wounding 19 more in Kashmir before fleeing into the night, rebel groups in the disputed region condemned the rare, deadly attack on civilians and insisted they had no part in it.

A memo that was circulated to regional police, military and paramilitary units two weeks ago indicates Indian security officials had been expecting an attack. The memo, marked top secret, warned that a sensational attack by terrorist outfits cannot be ruled out in the mostly Muslim region.

The memo, dated June 25 and verified as authentic by The Associated Press, said terrorists have been directed to eliminate 100 to 150 yatris (pilgrims) and about 100 police.

It described circumstances eerily similar to what transpired Monday night: The attack may be in the form of standoff fire on yatra (pilgrimage) convoy, which they (militants) believe will result in flaring of communal tensions throughout the nation.

Police said the attack began with gunmen unleashing a hail of bullets on an armored police vehicle and, soon after, on a nearby police patrol. They said that a bus carrying 60 Hindu pilgrims had been passing through the area when the patrolling police and militants were exchanging fire, and that some bullets struck the bus and its passengers.

The police also said that the bus had been traveling at night, despite instructions to avoid the roads after dark. Though security had been increased along the route for the pilgrimage, the thousands of deployed soldiers and police do not patrol overnight.

Several bus passengers who were wounded gave a different version of events, saying the bus had been targeted from three directions during the attack. They said the driver kept driving the bus as it was being struck with bullets near the southern town of Anantnag on the main highway linking Kashmir with the rest of India.

The annual summer pilgrimage to the Amarnath cave shrine, which began June 29 under heavy security, has been targeted in the past. Opponents of Indian rule in Kashmir accuse Hindu-majority India of using the pilgrimage as a political statement to bolster its claim to the disputed region.

On Tuesday, thousands of Hindus continued the religious pilgrimage undeterred, as Indian soldiers and police increased security along the Himalayan route for buses carrying pilgrims to the base camps where they start walking the path to the high mountain cave.

None of the rebel groups fighting to oust India from the mostly Muslim region has claimed responsibility for the attack, and the three top separatist leaders in Kashmir condemned it.

They demanded an independent investigation into the attack.

This incident goes against the very grain of Kashmiri ethos, the separatist leaders – Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammed Yasin Malik – said in a joint statement.

Police were searching for the assailants, who they said were from the Pakistan-based rebel group Lashkar-e-Taiba. India also blames the group for a 2008 attack that left 166 people dead in India’s commercial capital of Mumbai.

We’re investigating the attack, but we know certainly that the Lashkar has done it. We’ll soon deal with them, police Inspector-General Muneer Ahmed Khan said.

Lashkar-e-Taiba denied any involvement in the attack, which they called reprehensible and un-Islamic, according to a statement sent to local media in Srinagar, the main city in Indian-controlled Kashmir.

The group said India was behind the attack, to sabotage the freedom struggle of Kashmiris and fulfill its nefarious agenda to crush the popular anti-India rebellion.

No Kashmiri has ever targeted any pilgrims, and this barbarity and atrocity is the trademark of Indian forces, the group’s statement said.

Residents said they were afraid of a possible backlash by Hindu nationalists and Indian forces against Kashmiris elsewhere in India.

My two brothers are studying in India, school teacher Shagufta Kaunsar said. I don’t know if it’s really safe for them there. We’re already telling them to come back home.

Omar Abdullah, a former chief minister of Kashmir, asked India’s home ministry to protect Kashmiri students and workers across the nation. Possibility of backlash can’t be ignored, he said in a Twitter message.

Most of the pilgrims wounded in the attack were released from hospitals on Tuesday. The bodies of those killed were flown to New Delhi on their way to the pilgrims’ west Indian states of Gujarat and Maharashtra.

The attack sparked outrage across Kashmir and much of India.

In the Jammu region of Kashmir, which is dominated by Hindus, hundreds of protesters shouted angry slogans against the militants and burned a faceless effigy meant to represent both terrorism and Pakistan, which India blames for supporting the rebels. Many shops and businesses were shuttered for a protest strike in Jammu.

Meanwhile, students in the Gujarati city of Ahmadabad gathered for a sit-in to protest all religious violence, while peace activists planned a candlelight vigil in New Delhi on Tuesday night.

The Press Trust of India news agency said the last major attack on Amarnath pilgrims occurred in 2000, when gunmen killed 30 people in the Pahalgam area, including local porters carrying pilgrim’s baggage up the mountain path.

Source: Voice of America

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China Sends Troops to Djibouti for Opening of Military Base

July 12, 2017 |

BEIJING �

Ships carrying Chinese military personnel for Beijing’s first overseas military base, in Djibouti in the Horn of Africa, have left China to begin setting up the facility, the state news agency Xinhua reported late Tuesday.

Djibouti’s position on the northwestern edge of the Indian Ocean has fueled worries in India that it would become another of China’s “string of pearls” of military alliances and assets ringing India, including Bangladesh, Myanmar and Sri Lanka.

China began construction of a logistics base in strategically located Djibouti last year that will resupply naval vessels taking part in peacekeeping and humanitarian missions off the coasts of Yemen and Somalia, in particular.

This will be China’s first overseas naval base, although Beijing officially terms it a logistics facility.

Xinhua said in its short report that the ships had departed from Zhanjiang in southern China “to set up a support base in Djibouti.”

Navy commander Shen Jinlong “read an order on constructing the base in Djibouti.”

It did not say when the base might formally begin operations.

‘Conducive to overseas tasks’

Xinhua said the establishment of the base was a decision made by both countries after “friendly negotiations, and accords with the common interest of the people from both sides.”

“The base will ensure China’s performance of missions, such as escorting, peacekeeping and humanitarian aid in Africa and west Asia,” it said.

“The base will also be conducive to overseas tasks including military cooperation, joint exercises, evacuating and protecting overseas Chinese, and emergency rescue, as well as jointly maintaining security of international strategic seaways,” it said.

Djibouti is located at the southern entrance to the Red Sea on the route to the Suez Canal. The tiny, barren nation sandwiched amid Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia also hosts U.S., Japanese and French bases.

There has been persistent speculation in diplomatic circles that China would build other such bases � in Pakistan, for example � but the government has dismissed this.

Source: Voice of America

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Preparations underway for Jordanian-Tajik business forum

July 12, 2017 |

Amman Amman Chamber of Commerce (ACC) President Issa Murad and Tajikistan’s non-resident Ambassador Zubaydullo Zubaidov Tuesday discussed preparations to convene a joint business forum on the sidelines of Tajik President Imam Ali Rehmanov’s visit to Jo…

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Ivorian president meets OIC chief; ratifies Charter

July 12, 2017 |

Abidjan President of CAte d’Ivoire Alassane Ouattara met Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Dr. Yousef Al-Othaimeen on Monday on the sidelines of the 44th session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM), which con…

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US Drone Strike Reportedly Killed 4 Key IS Commanders

July 12, 2017 |

NANGARHAR, AFGHANISTAN/WASHINGTON �

A suspected U.S. drone strike has reportedly killed four key Islamic State commanders in eastern Afghanistan, a provincial security official in Nangarhar said.

The drone strike late Tuesday � which has not been immediately confirmed by the Pentagon � targeted a gathering of IS militants in eastern Kunar province, killing 11 fighters, including four commanders.

The drone strike targeted IS militants in the Gambir region, provincial police chief, Juma Gul Hemmat told VOA’s Afghan service. Four IS commanders along with seven of their fighters were killed in the strike.

The slain commanders also include Mohammad Rahman who was in charge of the terror group’s financial affairs and Noora, known by his first name, who had the responsibility of recruiting new fighters in the province.

A brother of Rahman was also killed in the strike, according to police chief Hemmat.

Based in southern parts of eastern Nangarhar province, IS’s self-styled Khorasan province branch emerged in early 2015 in the mountainous areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan. The terror group is active in several districts of eastern Nangarhar province.

IS in Afghanistan has been able to draw its members from the Pakistani Taliban fighters, some former Afghan Taliban, and other militants who believe that associating with or pledging allegiance to IS will further their interests, according to an annual Pentagon report submitted to U.S. Congress .

Extending its reach

The group has recently expanded its presence and activities to neighboring Kunar province as well.

According to police chief, Hemmat, up to 2,000 IS fighters are active in several districts of Kunar province.

He told VOA that the terror group has established a training base in the Patash valley, where foreign fighters, including Arabs and Pakistanis provide training to new recruits.

Attaullah Khogyani, Nangarhar provincial government spokesperson told VOA that as IS is losing ground in Nangarhar, it is trying to expand to neighboring mountainous Kunar and Nuristan provinces, which share a border with Pakistan to establish a persistent presence there.

U.S. and Afghan forces have been engaged in joint- counterterrorism operations against IS in eastern Afghanistan. Earlier this year, American military, in partnership with Afghan security forces, promised to eliminate IS in Afghanistan this year. Hundreds of IS fighters, including several senior commanders, have been killed in recent months.

In May of this year, Sheikh Abdul Hasib, the terror group’s leader in Afghanistan was killed in a joint U.S. Afghan forces raid in Nangarhar.

In April, the U.S. Air Force dropped a Massive Ordinance Air Bomb (MOAB), informally known as the mother of all bombs, on an IS stronghold in Achin district of Nangarhar, killing at least 95 IS fighters, mostly foreign nationals.

Source: Voice of America

Read More