On Course Again

S. Binodkumar Singh Research Assistant, Institute for Conflict Management
On October 21, 2017, 40 Islamic State (IS, formerly, Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham, also Daesh) terrorists, including two trainers and 38 suicide bombers, were killed in a deadly United States (US) airstrike targeting a training camp for the suicide bombers in the Achin District of eastern Nangarhar Province. Police identified the two Daesh trainers killed in the attack as Qari Quran and Qari Fida. A significant cache of weapons, ammunition and explosives belonging to the terror group were also destroyed in the airstrike.
Pathways to Resolution
On September 18, 2017, the third and final phase of local level elections was held for 136 local units including one metropolitan city, three sub-metropolii, 73 municipalities and 59 rural municipalities in the eight Districts of Province 2 in Nepal. Of the 2,664,950 registered voters, 73 per cent cast their votes. The voting concluded peacefully though there were some reports of pre-poll and post-poll violence. Pre-poll violence included:
Karachi: Campus Terror
In the morning of September 2, 2017, two terrorists carried out an attack targeting Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) leader, Khwaja Izharul Hassan, killing two persons, including one of his guards and a child in the vicinity, and injuring another two in the Buffer Zone area of Karachi (Karachi District), the provincial capital of Sindh. Khwaja Hassan, who is also the leader of the Opposition in the Sindh Assembly, survived the assassination attempt unhurt. According to details the assailants clad in Police uniforms and riding on a motorcycle opened fire on Hassan when he was leaving a mosque after offering Eid-ul-Adha [Islamic festival of sacrifice] prayers. Ansar-ul-Shariah Pakistan (ASP) in a Tweet on September 3 claiming responsibility for the attack, alleged that Khawaja Hassan was a "pro-American MQM leader".
The Mask of Politics
With the United States exerting more pressure, there seems to be urgency among terrorist formations/individual leaders operating out of Pakistani soil to gain 'political legitimacy' to counter any further existential threat. On September 30, 2014, Maulana Fazlur Rehman Khalil, founder of the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HuM) which operates in Indian Jammu & Kashmir, reportedly decided to form his own political party. Khalil was declared a "Specially Designated Global Terrorist" by the US on September 30, 2014. Khalil confirmed this decision in an August 25, 2017, report:
Manipur: Churachandpur: The Heart of 'Kukiland'
On August 2, 2017, unidentified militants killed Kuki National Liberation Front (KNLF) 'general secretary', Lalmoi Haokip aka Tonglenlal, at Tuibong Bazar in Churachandpur District. KNLF is one of fifteen constituents of the Kuki National Organisation (KNO), which is maintaining a Suspension of Operations (SoO) agreement with both the Union and State Governments since August 22, 2008.
Are we denying our children their first food and medicine?
Every year, an entire week in the beginning of August is dedicated to spread awareness about the importance of breastfeeding. Organisations working with issues of child health and nutrition along with doctors and medical practitioners have always stressed upon the critical role colostrums, the first milk, plays in boosting the natural immunity of a newborn to give it the right start to its life. The question is, where do we stand as a nation in terms of awareness and implementation of the process that can help give our children a solid foundation to a healthy childhood? A process, that is as natural as it can get.
Maharashtra: Maoists Struggle to Survive
An 'area committee member' of the Aheri Dalam (armed squad) of the Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist), identified as Mangru aka Ram Chinna Portet (48), was killed during an encounter with personnel of C-60, the Maharashtra Police counter-insurgency commando unit, in the forest area of Kopewancha near Rajaram Khanla village under Aheri taluka (administrative division) in Gadchiroli District on July 23, 2017. One 12 bore gun and some Naxal [Left Wing Extremism (LWE)]-related literatures were recovered from the encounter site. Portet had been involved in the 'movement' for more than two decades and had more than 40 offences registered against him. He carried a reward of INR 600,000 on his head. Portet was shifted to Aheri (he had earlier been working in the 'medical unit' of the outfit elsewhere) in Gadchiroli as a 'doctor' a couple of years ago by senior Maoist leaders in order to help strengthen the base of the party in his home taluka.
Northeast: Talks and Some Troubles
The Union Government is considering the partial removal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA)-1958 from the States of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. Media reports cited an unnamed Ministry of Home Affairs (UMHA) official as stating, "The notification extending AFSPA in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh is issued for six months after a review twice a year. We have reduced this duration to three months and see if it could be withdrawn completely from certain areas. For the time being, the proposal is only for the two States but we are also looking for a similar solution in Manipur."
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