MonitorsPublished on Sep 13, 2016
The kidnapping of an American University professor and his Australian colleague in Afghanistan resulted in a failed rescue mission.
South Asia Weekly Report | Rescue mission fails in Afghanistan



Rescue mission fails

The kidnapping of an American University professor and his Australian colleague in Afghanistan resulted in a failed rescue mission conducted by US Navy SEAL’s last month. According to reports, the rescue mission began days after August 7 when both hostages were taken at gunpoint from their vehicle in Kabul near the American University of Afghanistan. For more information, see: US rescue attempt in Afghanistan missed western hostages by hours

Taliban takes over TrinKot?

The Taliban is on the verge of taking over TrinKot, the capital of Uruzgan province according to Afghan government officials with fierce clashes in the city. Wais Samim, the provincial police chief said that the fighters were within a few hundred meters of the governor’s compound and police headquarters on September 8 and that government officials and civilians had begun fleeing the city. For more information, see: Afghanistan: Taliban pushes into Uruzgan’sTarinkot; Uruzgan’s capital under siege, heavy clashes ongoing

Freight train from China

The first ever Afghan-China freight train arrived in Balkh province this week after travelling over 3000 km. The train arrived in Hairatan port, carrying 45 containers of goods across China, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. The train will help expand trade relations between the two countries, something that is critical for Afghanistan’s development. For more information, see: Freight train arrives from China, link set to boost trade


BNP Vice Chairman charged with sedition

Tarique Rahman, son of opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party(BNP)  chief Begum Khaleda Zia, who is also the party’s vice chairman, has been charged with sedition in a case filed in January last year. TariqueRahman is accused of broadcasting a "false, fabricated, and provocative" speech on January 5, 2015. Tarique Rahman has been accused in 19 other cases for various charges including money laundering. For more information, seeTarique, ex-ETV chairman, 2 others charged with sedition

Protests against Pakistan

Claiming direct interference in the country’s internal affairs the government strongly protested the statement issued by Pakistan’s foreign ministry over the execution of Jamaat-e-Islami leader and war criminal Mir Quasem Ali. Authorities have urged Pakistan to refrain from making such statement. For more information, seeBangladesh strongly protests Pak statement; Pakistan saddened by Bangladesh’s execution of Mir Quasem for 1971 war crimes

Trial run to Delhi

The dream of seamless movement of the vehicles between India and Bangladesh has come close to reality following the success of the trial run of truck movement between Dhaka and Delhi recently. For the first time a cargo truck from Bangladesh drove into Delhi in a week. This initiative was taken with the aim of implementing the Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar initiative. For more information, see: Successful Dhaka-Delhi trial run of customs-cleared cargo truck


SAARC trade fair

To enhance intra-regional trade and investment among SAARC countries, the 13th SAARC trade fair began at the Changlimithang parking lot in Thimphu. A total of 177 companies from four member countries are taking part in the five-day fair. For more information, see: 177 companies participating in the SAARC trade fair; Bhutan hosts trade fair

No decision on rail links

Information and Communications Minister D. N. Dhungyel said the government has not decided anything on the railway links. The minister’s statement comes after a few Indian newspapers claimed that Indian railway is now ready to provide railway links to Bhutan. For more information, see: No major decision on railway yet, MoIC minister says

Deadly diseases eliminated

In recognition for the commitment and efforts made by the health ministry to have successfully eliminated maternal and neonatal tetanus, the World Health Organisation (WHO) South-East Asia Region (SEAR) awarded a certificate of appreciation to Bhutan on September 6. For more information, see: WHO recognises Bhutan for eliminating maternal and neonatal tetanus


US supports NSG bid

The United States "strongly supports" India’s NSG membership bid, President Barack Obama on Thursday told Prime Minister Narendra Modi here as they discussed the immediate priorities in the strategic partnership, including deepening the civil nuclear cooperation and combating climate change."Had a great discussion with President of the US (POTUS) on India-USA relations," Mr. Modi tweeted after his meeting with Mr. Obama on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit, their eighth in the last two years. For more information, see: US strongly supports India’s NSG bid: Obama

Rafale talks completed

It's going to be a big test for Indo-French relations as the Rafale fighter jet deal has reached the final clearance level after protracted negotiations. The price of the combat aircraft has come down to 7.25 billion and Paris is offering cutting-edge technology, including jet engine knowhow, to India. Sources told ET the deal for 36 fighter aircraft could be cleared as early as the next meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), with the defence ministry completing all formalities and negotiations with the French side. For more information, see: Rafale deal at final clearance level, may get go ahead soon

Navy delivers aid

Indian naval ship Trikand of the Western Fleet, while on a goodwill visit to East Africa and Southern Indian Ocean, provided humanitarian relief to more than 5,000 citizens of Madagascar affected by bush fires. INS Trikand donated essential food items and medicines to the victims, including 1000 kilos of rice, 250 litres of milk, two boxes of essential medicines and 100 litres of cooking oil. For more information, seeNavy aids affected Madagascar

No SC stay in 'Delhi case'

The Supreme Court refused to stay a Delhi High Court judgment declaring Delhi a Union and the Lt Governor (LG) its administrative captain. A bench of Justices A. K. Sikri and N. V. Ramana asked the Centre to file a counter-affidavit to seven special leave petitions filed by the Delhi government. For more information, see: Supreme Court not to stay Delhi HC verdict on Delhi Union Territory case

Army chief in Srinagar     

Army chief General Dalbir Singh reviewed the security situation in the Kashmir Valley, particularly in the four worst affected districts in south Kashmir. General Singh was briefed about the situation by General Officer Commanding of Chinar Corps Lt. Gen. SatishDua. For more information, see: Army chief reviews security in Srinagar


Gayoom for 'upholding Constitution'

In the midst of contradictory reports of MDP leader Mohammed Nasheed declaring that he and ruling PPM’s founder, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom were on the same page in ousting President Abdulla Yameen, Gayoom has clarified that he would uphold the Constitution. The twin-edged weapon is either for Yameen to ‘behave’ and for Nasheed and company not to 'plot' to overthrow Yameen through 'unconstitutional means.' For more information, see: “Gayoom vows to uphold constitution as Nasheed speaks of new alliance”, Maldives Independent, 7 September 2016; “Maumoon will always work within the constitution – PPM”, Miadhu, 6 September 2016; “Nasheed: It would be ‘foolhardy’ to reject help from Maumoon”, SunOnline, 6 September 2016; “In exile, former Maldives President Mohammed Nasheed vows to come back soon”,  Indian Express, 5 September 2016; “Umar: Interim Government is a ploy by Nasheed to return to power”, SunOnline, 7 September 2016; “EC clarifies – MDP, Adhaalath Party has no Leader”, SunOnline, 5 September 2016: “Finance Ministry starts taking action against MDP leadership who failed to pay back the state”, Miadhu, 6 September 2016; “MDP: Moody’s rating not worth celebrating”, SunOnline, 6 September 2016; “Opposition condemns ‘desperate’ smear campaign against Al Jazeera”; “Maldives Independent, 7 September 2016


Help for all: Annan

The Rakhine State Advisory Commission will just advise the government on community relations and reducing tensions and not to investigate human rights, former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan told a press conference in Yangon on September 8. He was asked about the UN special rapporteurs who were criticised because their reports did not allegedly match the situation on the ground. For more information, see: Annan: We will help both communities; Kofi Annan: Commission Will Not Do ‘Human Rights Investigation’ in Arakan State

Talks on sanctions

Discussions over the remaining US sanctions on Myanmar will be on the table during the state counsellor upcoming trip to Washington, a foreign affairs official confirmed to The Myanmar Times on September 8. For more information, see: State counselor, US president to discuss sanctions on upcoming Washington trip

Ethnic groups clash

The Karen National Union (KNU) and the New Mon State Party (NMSP) clashed in Tenasserim’sYebyu Township on September 8 in the first clash between the two major ethnic armed groups since they agreed to cease hostilities 28 years ago. For more information, see: KNU, NMSP troops clash in Tenasserim


New transit routes stalled

Speaking at the Parliament meeting on September 9, Sanjya Kumar Gautam drew the attention of the government towards delay in opening of new transit points with India, even after both sides reached consensus on opening five new transit points. He said the government should open new transit points at Bela, Gulariya and Murtiya and urged Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal to take initiatives for the same during his upcoming visit to India. For more information, see: Open new transit points with India, say lawmakers; Lawmakers stress on opening new transit points with India

Commitment by PM

Addressing the Legislature-Parliament on September 8, Dahal said implementation of the new constitution and distribution of relief package to the earthquake-affected people were the government's top priority. Though, he has reiterated his commitment to address the concerns raised by the agitating regional parties but stopped short of giving a timeline for the same. For more information, see: Constitution implementation, relief to quake victims top agenda: PM

Report on Fast Track Road

On September 8 the House panel has given the two ministries involved — Tourism and Civil Aviation and Physical Infrastructure and Transport — a month to produce a report on the status of the proposed Second International Airport (SIA) in Nijgadh and the Kathmandu-Tarai Fast Track The ministries have been instructed to submit a timeline of the development ofthe projects. The Housecommittee also said that the government should construct the schemes with domestic funding. For more information, see: House panel asks for status report on Fast Track, airport projects


India blamed

Pakistan has responded to Narendra Modi's statements against the country in Vietnam on September 9 in the latest series of exchanges between the two countries. Modi’s statements at the ASEAN summit accused Pakistan of sponsoring terrorism in South Asia. A report by the Associated Press of Pakistan (APP) quoted Foreign Office spokesperson Nafees Zakaria saying that "India is the one single nation in South Asia which is spreading agents of terror in countries of our region." Islamabad added that India was financing terrorism in Pakistan and open evidences were available of its involvement in subversive activities. For more information, see: Pakistan hits back after Modi’s comments, says India trying to destabilise it

26/11 charges dropped

Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has dropped charges against SufiyanZafar, a LeT militant accused of being involved in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks in 2008. Zafar was arrested last month and accused of financing ₹14,800 for the attack and providing ₹3.98 million to another co-accused prior to the attack. Zafar was declared a proclaimed offender in 2011 when the ATC indicted seven people, including Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, a key planner, facilitator and executor of the Mumbai attacks. WaseemRanjha, FIA's deputy director, informed the court that Zafar was being interrogated in Rawalpindi's Adiala Jail. For more information, see: Pakistan drops charges against 26/11 accused, says no proof

Deadline extended

The Nawaz Sharif government has extended the deadline for return of Afghan refugees to March 2017. Earlier this year, the government had announced that all refugees must repatriate back to Afghanistan after by December 31, 2016. The decision was welcomed by refugees breathing a sigh of relief over the deadline extension. Over 100,000 refugees have already repatriated back to Afghanistan receiving $400 as financial aid for the UN. For more information, see: Government extends Afghan refugees’ stay until early 2017

Sri Lanka 

Controversy over Ban's 'comparison'

Days after UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visited Sri Lanka to take stock of the human rights situation, the Government has denied media reports that he did not draw any comparison between ‘war-time civilian deaths’ in Sri Lanka and ‘genocide in Rwanda’. However, the UN office in Colombo said that they stood by Ban’s observation, but did not give any clarification — even as Parliament Speaker Karu Jayasuriya held that it was Ban’s 'personal observation.' For more information, see: “Govt. says UN Chief didn’t referred to a ‘massacre’ in SL”, Daily Mirror Online, 7 September 2016;  “Comparison of Vanni war with acts of genocide in Rwanda, Serbia Moon’s words speak for themselves – Haq”, The Island, 7 September 2016; “Govt. wary of seeking explanation from UN”, The Island, 8 September 2016; “Maj. Gen denies Moon’s genocide claims”, The Island, 7 September 2016; “Accountability issues not the focus of KDU yet”, The Island, 8 September 2016; “We hope to recruit more Tamils for Security Forces: PM”, Daily Mirror Online, 7 September 2016; “SL requests full report from Malaysia on the attack on its top diplomat there”, The Island, 7 September 2016; “TNA condemns 'unreservedly’”, Daily Mirror Online, 7 September 2016; “SL Tamils not linked, says JVP”, Daily Mirror Online, 7 September 2016; “SLFP condemns attack a day late”, The Island, 7 September 2016



Press releases

Bangladesh protests against the statement issued by Turkish Foreign Office on execution of Mir Quasem Ali, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, September 5, 2016 Bangladesh conveys strong protest against the press release of Pakistan Foreign Office, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, September 4, 2016


Press releases

State counselor calls for constant efforts to keep up momentum for peace and reconciliation, President Office, September 5, 2016


Press releases

Press Release Issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Nepal, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Nepal, September 7, 2016



Opinion pieces

David Miliband, 15 years on, we must not let Afghanistan slide backwards, CNN, September 8, 2016 Helene Parson, Is peace possible in Afghanistan? Tales from a country torn apart, Euro News, Sepember 8, 2016 Mujib Mashal and Zahra Nader, An Afghan father-son tale takes a fatal turn, but does not endThe New York Times, September 8, 2016


Opinion pieces

Jaideep Saikia, India-Bangladesh security, September 6, 2016 Arafat Kabir, The Rise of US-Bangladesh Counter terror Cooperation, Diplomat, September 2, 2016 Naim Ebna Rahman, In the face of climate change, Dhaka Tribune, September 6, 2016 John Tripura, Destroying a way of life, Dhaka Tribune, September 8, 2016


Opinion pieces

C. Raja Mohan, Balancing Asia, The Indian Express, September 8, 2016 Abhijit Singh, Is China hyping its ‘intelligent’ cruise missile capability?, September 5, 2016


Opinion pieces

N. Sathiya Moorthy, Everyone keeps everyone else guessing?, ORF, September 6, 2016


Omkar Khandekar, “Q&A: Fisheries minister takes questions on Maldives crisis”, Maldives Independent, 5 September 2016


Aung Zaw, Is it time for US to lift sanctions?,The Irrawaddy, September 8, 2016 Nehginpaw Kipgen, As Rakhine body chair, Kofi Annan takes on Myanmar politics’ third rail, Myanmar Times, September 6, 2016


Opinion Pieces

Amit Aryal, An open letter, The Kathmandu Post, September 9, 2016 Arun Kumar Shrivastav, An opportunity for both Nepal and India, Republica, September 7, 2016


Farhan Bokhari, Early harvest?, Dawn, September 7, 2016 Zubair Faisal Abbasi, Imran Khan’s politics, The Express Tribune, September 6, 2016 Touqir Hussain, Obama and Afghanistan, The Express Tribune, September 8, 2016

Sri Lanka

Opinion Pieces

M. S. M. Ayub, The moral dilemma of JO, Daily Mirror Online, September 9, 2016 Adhil Bakeer Marakar, UNP stands for youth, Daily Mirror Online, September 8, 2016 Kelum Bandara, President vows to continue NU Govt amid growing challenges, Daily Mirror Online, September 8, 2016 Rashmin Tirimanne de Silva, Geneva resolution and federalism as it is today, Daily Mirror Online, September 7, 2016 Ranga Jayasuriya, Is Ban Ki-moon reading too much of Tamilnet?, Daily Mirror Online, September 6, 2016 Izeth Hussain, Democracy, not devolution, the only solution for the ethnic problem, The Island, September 6, 2016 Jehan Perera, Govt consolidates relationship with international community – next steps, The Island, September 6, 2016 N. Sathiya Moorthy, Tat trivial, but there are two sides after all, The Sunday Leader, September 4, 2016


Afghanistan and Pakistan: Kriti M. Shah Bangladesh: Dr. Joyeeta Bhattacharjee Bhutan and Myanmar: Mihir Bhonsale India: Shubh Soni and Pushan Das Maldives and Sri Lanka: N. Sathiya Moorthy Nepal: Dr. AnasuaBasu Ray Chaudhury and Sreeparna Banerjee
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