FINS Bulletin – May 16, 2017

Taliban couldn’t re-emerge without Pakistan help: Afghan envoy

Days after Afghanistan`s cross-border attack in Chaman, its envoy to Pakistan Omar Zakhilwal said the Taliban could not have re-emerged in Afghanistan without help from within Pakistan, and peace cannot be restored without Islamabad’s help.
No country is better placed to help the peace process in Afghanis tan than Pakistan, Zakhilwal told an international conference about peace in Afghanistan on Thursday.
Zakhilwal raised questions about the effectiveness of the ongoing peace efforts in the region, and said that although a number of processes were in place for keeping peace, “there is a question mark on how effective these measures are”, Dawn reported.
The Afghan envoy held Pakistan responsible for the Taliban`s return to Afghanistan, saying, “The Taliban could not have returned to Afghanistan without help from within Pakistan.”
“Taliban have the hidden support of some countries, while there are also questions about the peace-keeping efforts from Russia,” he added.
The envoy maintained that peace would prevail in Afghanistan if Pakistan and India joined hands to resolve the issue, and lauded Islamabad and New Delhi for their efforts at trying to keep the peace in 2002.
“We should understand what peace is before talking about it,” Zakhilwal said, adding that “help from Iran and Saudi Arabia will go a long way”.
Talking about the new terror threats that the region faces, Zakhilwal reminded the conference participants that the IS terror group, a rising threat in the region, is currently engaged in an ongoing tussle with the Afghan Taliban for regional dominance.

Source: Zee News, May 11, 2017

Impeachment motion against Nepal Chief Justice tabled

The impeachment motion against Nepal’s first female Chief Justice, Sushila Karki, was tabled in parliament today.
Lawmakers of the opposition CPN- UML (Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist) demanded withdrawal of the impeachment motion.
The impeachment motion, which was registered on Sunday by the ruling Nepali congress and Maoist Center, has suspended Chief Justice Karki over allegations of showing bias in verdicts and interfering in the executive body’s decisions.
The impeachment motion has overshadowed the constitution amendment proposal as the House Speaker suspended all other scheduled programs of parliament.
A parliamentary meeting was scheduled to hold a discussion over the new amendment bill on Thursday.

Source: Outlook India, May 5, 2017

Pakistan naval ship arrives at Sri Lanka port on a goodwill mission

Sri Lanka Navy, in accordance with naval traditions, ceremonially welcomed the Pakistan Naval Ship (PNS) Zulfiquar arrived at the Port of Colombo Thursday, May 04, on a goodwill visit.
The Commanding Officer of the PNS Zulfiquar, Captain Faisal Javeed Sheikh and the Commanding Officer, Commander Munawar Abbas Saqlain of Pakistan Maritime Surveillance Ship (PMSS) Dasht, which arrived on Wednesday (03) called on the Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy, Vice Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne at the Naval Headquarters and held discussions on matters of bilateral importance.
The ship’s complement will take part in a range of events organized by the Sri Lanka Navy during their stay in Sri Lanka. Besides, they are expected to participate in a couple of volleyball and basketball matches with their Sri Lankan counterparts in Welisara.
PNS Zulfiquar is scheduled to depart from the Colombo Port on 07th May while PMSS Dasht will leave on Saturday (06).

Source: Colombo Page, May 4, 2017

Afghan Taliban take district near northern Kunduz

Taliban militants captured a district just outside the northern Afghan city of Kunduz on Saturday, officials said, pointing to renewed pickup in fighting after the insurgents announced their annual spring offensive last week.
Mahfouz Akbari, a police spokesman for eastern Afghanistan, said security forces had pulled out of Qala-i-Zal district, west of Kunduz city, on Saturday to avoid further civilian and military casualties after more than 24 hours of heavy fighting.
In a statement, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the insurgents had taken police headquarters, the Governor’s compound and all security checkpoints. He said several police and soldiers had been killed and wounded.
Over the past 18 months, Taliban insurgents have twice succeeded in seizing the town centre of Kunduz for brief periods and the latest fighting underscores warnings that Afghan forces face another gruelling year of fighting.


According to U.S. estimates, government fighters control only around 60 per cent of the country, with the rest either controlled or contested by the insurgents, who are seeking to reimpose Islamic law after their 2001 ouster.
More than 1,000 members of Afghan security forces have been killed since the start of the year, according to Afghan officials and figures cited by U.S. Congressional watchdog SIGAR, along with over 700 civilians.
Some 75,000 people have also been forced to flee their homes in the first four months of the year, according to United Nations figures.

Source: The Hindu, May 6, 2017

Taliban fight: US may send 3,000 more troops to Afghanistan

The US military and state department are recommending sending at least 3,000 more US troops to Afghanistan to fight the Taliban, US media report.

Military leaders would also regain the authority to target Taliban leaders with air strikes under the proposals.
President Donald Trump has not approved the plan, unnamed officials say. It may include a request that other Nato countries send 3,000-5,000 soldiers.
There are 13,000 Nato troops currently in the country, 8,400 of them US.
US combat operations against the Taliban officially ended in 2014, but special forces have continued to provide support to Afghan troops.
In February, the commander of US troops in Afghanistan Gen John Nicholson told a Senate committee there was “a shortfall of a few thousand”.

Source: BBC, May 9, 2017

Chhattisgarh’s Raman Singh calls for unified command in each Naxal-hit district

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh on Friday made a pitch for setting up unified operational command in each Naxal-hit district in the state to give a sharp edge to anti-Naxal operations.
Singh chaired a meeting of unified command at the state secretariat in Raipur to discuss anti-Maoist strategy in the wake of the deadly Maoist attack in Sukma district recently.
“The chief minister stressed the need to constitute unified operational command in LWE-affected districts in the
state to eliminate the menace,” a state public relation officer said.
To achieve success in the counter-insurgency operations at the ground level, it is necessary to set up district-level unified commands and convene its meetings on weekly and fortnightly basis, the chief minister said.
“The district-level unified command should be headed by the superintendent of police of the district concerned,
while officials of the central armed forces working in the region should be made its members so that both the Centre and the state can together take on the challenge with more seriousness,” he said.
Besides, he also suggested setting up a joint training centre in Sukma and Bijapur districts for combined training of central and state forces.
“Around 50-60 jawans from both central and state forces should be provided training at the joint training centre in order to enhance mutual coordination among them,” Singh underlined.
He further said that Central and state agencies were working with a better coordination on both development and
security fronts to flush out the menace of Naxalism.
“The central and state armed forces are also working with a better coordination,” the chief minister said.
State’s schemes like livelihood training college are yielding good results in the affected districts, through which local youths are being associated with skill development training for securing jobs, he said.

Source: First Post, May 5, 2017

Home minister, CMs of 10 Naxal-affected states to brainstorm today

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and chief ministers of 10 Maoist violence-hit states will brainstorm on Monday over ways to tackle the menace, a fortnight after 25 CRPF men were massacred by underground guerrillas in Chhattisgarh’s Sukma.
Ahead of the crucial meeting, the strategic command headquarters of CRPF’s anti-Naxal operations was shifted from Kolkata to Chhattisgarh.
The conclave would discuss ways to revamp intelligence gathering mechanism, take a close look at ongoing operations against Naxalites, identify problem areas and devise ways to minimise casualties among the security forces, a home ministry official said today.
Chief ministers of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha, West Bengal, Bihar, Maharashtra, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh have been invited to meeting which would be chaired by Singh.
District magistrates and superintendents of police of 35 worst-hit districts, besides heads of paramilitary forces and intelligence agencies will attend the meeting.
On top of the agenda will be the issue of re-calibrating the anti-Naxal strategy to make it more effective, and to minimise casualties, the official said.

Source: Money Control, May 8, 2017

Maharashtra CM seeks strategy against Naxal sympathisers

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis today sought framing of a strategy to deal with Naxal sympathisers based in various universities, including those in the national capital.
Addressing a conference of the chief ministers of Naxalism-affected states, Fadnavis said frontal organisations of Naxals were also a matter of concern.
“The propaganda fights are not in (Naxal hotbeds of) Gadchiroli or Sukma, but it is in universities of Delhi, Pune or Patna or Hyderabad. They (Naxal sympathisers) are organising strategies for Naxals. An army of Naxal sympathisers is as dangerous as the militant operatives,” he said at the meeting chaired by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh.
The Maharashtra chief minister’s comments came amid allegations by saffron outfits that educational institutes have become base for Maoists.
The chief minister said an aggressive strategy needs to be developed to combat Naxalism in the state and the use of communication technology and 360 degree connectivity is of paramount importance in this regard.
Fadnavis requested the Centre to release the projected funds under security-related expenditure and also asked for reimbursement of expenditure of Rs 45 crore incurred by the state government for financial year 2016-17.
While listing steps taken for managing security at mining sites in the state, Fadnavis demanded that at least two battalions of CAPF should be provided to look after site and transport corridor security for a two-year period from September 2017 onwards.
He said that to overcome the shortage of mine-protected vehicles, 39 such vehicles have been approved for Naxalism- affected areas while the police force has been provided with sufficient arms and ammunition.

Source: PTI, May 8, 2017


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