The South Asia Channel

Report finds Afghan security forces severely lacking

EVENT NOTICE: The New America Foundation is pleased to announce that it is now accepting applications for participants in our "South Asia 2020" conference to be held in Dubai from Friday, January 18 to Sunday, January 20, 2013, hosted by Steve Coll and Peter Bergen.

The conference will bring together a total of 30 "new voices" from Pakistan and India to discuss issues of common interest such as trade, business, IT, water, energy, microfinance, climate change, public health and media.

The intent of the conference is to encourage the collaboration of a new generation of experts from both nations in order to develop greater regional integration in South Asia.

TO APPLY: Please send your resume and a letter of intent describing how and what you could contribute to the conference to nssp@newamerica.net no later than Monday, November 26, 2012.

New America will cover economy airfare, as well as hotel costs and meals.

Dismal prospects

A report released Thursday by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) says, "The Afghan government will likely be incapable of fully sustaining ANSF facilities after the transition in 2014 and the expected decrease in U.S. and coalition support" (Tel, CNN, Guardian). The SIGAR audit found that Afghan forces lack the engineers and maintenance personnel necessary to keep up "critical facilities" at their bases such as water supply, waste disposal, and electricity generation.

Four Afghan police officers were killed by the four colleagues who had come to replace them at an outpost in the southern province of Helmand on Friday (AP).

Blasphemy burning

Pakistani police have detained the headmaster of a Lahore girls' school in connection to the ransacking and burning of the school on Wednesday over allegations that a teacher insulted the Prophet Mohammad in a homework assignment (BBC, DT, AFP, ET). Officials said the teacher, Arfa Iftikhar, accidentally made a mistake while copying a phrase from an exercise book of Islamic text, but hardline groups somehow became aware of the incident and took it upon themselves to destroy the school.

The Pakistani military killed at least four militants in Khyber Agency during an air strike on militant hideouts on Thursday (ET). At least 13 people were killed and several more were injured on Friday when oil drums at a gas station in Balochistan caught on fire during a shootout (ET).

Bin Laden blockbuster

The first full-length feature film on the U.S. raid on Osama bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan last May is set to be released on Netflix on Monday (AFP). The filmmakers have been criticized for releasing the film just one day before the highly contested U.S. presidential election that will take place next Tuesday.

-- Jennifer Rowland

SHAH MARAI/AFP/Getty Images

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