The South Asia Channel

U.S. General Killed in Afghan Insider Attack; Drone Strike in N. Waziristan Kills 5; Rahul Gandhi Criticizes Parliament Speaker

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Bonus Read: "U.S. general's killing may be a bad omen," Peter Bergen and David Sterman (CNN)

American general killed in insider attack

An American general, Maj. Gen. Harold Greene, was killed in an insider attack outside of Kabul on Tuesday that was previously reported in yesterday's daily brief (CNN, NYT, CBS, Pajhwok, RFE/RL). Greene is the most senior U.S. officer to be killed in Afghanistan as well as the most senior officer to be killed since Maj. Gen. George Casey Sr. was killed in Vietnam in 1970. Fifteen others, including a German brigadier general, were reportedly injured in the attack. About half of the wounded are believed to be American. Bonus Read: "Slain General in Afghanistan Was Quietly Effective Leader, Known for Technical Skill," Alan Rappeport and Helene Cooper (NYT).

IEC says audit to be complete in 20 days

Afghanistan's Independent Election Commission (IEC) announced on Tuesday that the audit of ballots cast in Afghanistan's run-off election will be complete in 20 days (Pajhwok). According to IEC spokesman Noor Mohammad Noor, 2,700 ballot boxes have been audited so far, and of about 23,000 ballot boxes, 21,000 have reached the IEC in Kabul. The election audit has faced a number of difficulties since it began in July, including two suspensions over disagreements between Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah -- the two presidential candidates. On Wednesday, Pajhwok Afghan News reported that representatives of the two campaigns had physically fought at the IEC office following the escalation of a verbal disagreement (Pajhwok).

Six policemen killed in Uruzgan insider attack

Six Afghan policemen were killed by a fellow officer on Tuesday night in Uruzgan province (TOLO News, RFE/RL). According to Doost Muhammad Nayab, an Uruzgan provincial police spokesman, the attack occurred in the provincial capital of Tirin Kot and the attacker drugged the police before killing them. Nayab said the officer then fled in a car and is believed to have connections with the Taliban. The Taliban, however, have not claimed responsibility for the attack. Bonus Read: "Stabilizing Provincial Afghanistan: How to Get it Right," Frances Z. Brown (South Asia).


U.S. drone strike reportedly kills five in North Waziristan

A drone strike reportedly killed five militants and injured two others in the Datta Khel area of North Waziristan on Wednesday according to Pakistani intelligence sources (ET, Dawn, RFE/RL). The reports noted that the strike targeted a compound in the area and that at least some of the dead were foreigners. The strike is the fourth drone strike to occur in the area in the past month, and the seventh drone strike in Pakistan this year, according to data collected by the New America Foundation (NAF). Bonus Read: "Return of the Drones," Emily Schneider and Bailey Cahall (South Asia).

Sikh teen killed in Peshawar

Unidentified gunmen killed a Sikh teenager in Peshawar on Wednesday, and injured two others who were nearby tending their shops (ET, Dawn). Following the attack members of the Sikh community protested at the local hospital and attempted to march on the chief minister and governor's houses, but were stopped by security.

Pakistan arrests Indian soldier

Pakistani security forces arrested an Indian Border Security Force soldier on Wednesday who crossed the border into the country (Dawn). The Chenab Rangers detained the soldier outside of Kuleil village in the Bajwat sector of Sialkot. The arrest follows a series of clashes along the border, including a July 21 exchange of fire that killed one person, and a July 16 firing that injured two Pakistani soldiers.

--David Sterman


Bonus Read: "Why India's 'Blue Water' Ambitions Matter," Ritika Katyal (South Asia)

Rahul Gandhi alleges ‘only one man's voice counts' in Parliament

Congress leader and Vice President Rahul Gandhi accused Lok Sabha (lower house of Parliament) Speaker Sumitra Mahajan of bias on Wednesday after Mahajan turned down Congress' request to debate on the recent communal tensions in India (Economic Times, Hindustan Times, Indian Express, NDTV). Gandhi shouted "Tanashahi Nahin Chalegi (Down with dictatorship)" near the speaker's chair and later said: "There is a mood in Parliament that only one man's voice counts for anything in this country." Gandhi said further: "We are not being allowed to speak in Parliament. We are asking for discussion. There is a mentality in the government that discussion is not acceptable. Everybody feels it, their party feels it, we feel it, everybody feels it."

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) defended Prime Minister Narendra Modi in response to Gandhi's comments. Defense and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said: "The Congress has spoken on every issue. Why did they have to make this allegation? Is it because they have trouble in their own home - they're having a palace coup? Every day people are coming out and speaking out." Home Minister Rajnath Singh responded: "The PM is neither a dictator nor communal. If he was, he wouldn't have got such a massive mandate." Also, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu said: "Some people are unhappy that the country is secure under leadership of Narendra Modi."

The Lok Sabha was adjourned on Wednesday after opposition parties created havoc by demanding a debate on communal violence in India, including the recent communal riots in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, where at least three people were killed and numerous injured over a land dispute between Muslims and Sikhs.

Pakistan violates ceasefire; India retaliates

Pakistani troops violated the ceasefire on Tuesday and targeted several Indian posts with small arms and automatic weapons along the Line of Control (LoC) in Poonch district, located in the north Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) [Business Standard, Times of India, Economic Times]. The Indian army retaliated to the firing with with equal caliber weapons. This is the first ceasefire violation in August. In July, Pakistan violated the ceasefire eight times. The LoC is a military boundary between the Indian and Pakistani-controlled parts of Kashmir.

In addition to trading fire, India and Pakistan also traded goods worth over $160,000 on the LoC on Tuesday (Business Standard). Around 25 trucks carrying bananas and spices travelled from India to the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, and one truck carrying almonds and dates travelled to India via the Chakan-Da-Bagh crossing point in J&K.

Indian state introduces bill to protect local attire

A bill was introduced on Wednesday in the state assembly of Tamil Nadu, located in southern India, which bars recreation clubs, associations, trusts, companies, and societies from imposing restrictions on wearing the dhoti, a traditional Indian wraparound garment (Times of India, NDTV, The Hindu). The bills states: "No person, wearing a veshti [dhoti] reflecting Tamil culture or any other Indian traditional dress, shall be denied entry into any public place, by reason only of his dress, provided that the dress shall be worn in a decent manner." Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa had promised legislation against "sartorial despotism" after a judge was refused entry at to the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association Club in Chennai because he was wearing a dhoti.

Indians buy Swiss gold

India now accounts for nearly 42 percent of total gold and silver -- largest for any single country -- exported from Switzerland, according to news reports on Sunday (Times of India, Forbes, Economic Times). According to the Swiss government, India accounted for $1.8 billion of the $4.3 billion worth of gold, silver, and coins Switzerland exported in the month of June. Gold is a popular commodity in India, which is the second largest consumer of gold in the world. Demand in India has remained strong even though there has been a 400% rise in the rupee gold price over the last ten years.

-- Neeli Shah and Jameel Khan

Edited by Peter Bergen

U.S. Army/Getty Images