Hello, hope all is well!
Sorry, several of the This Week in Conflict reports are a little late this week, as I have been without power or Internet since Tuesday, one of the side-effects of living in a conflict zone. As such, stories are only updated until Tuesday evening. I will try to keep to a consistent posting schedule, as much as my access to the Internet allows me.
This Week in Conflict is now being divided up!
Here is the new schedule:
This Week in the World of Conflict – posted on Mondays
This Week in African Conflict- posted on Tuesdays
This Week in Asian Conflict – posted on Wednesdays (includes Oceania and Australia)
This Week in Conflict in the Americas – posted on Thursdays
This Week in Middle Eastern Conflict – posted on Fridays
This Week in European Conflict – posted on Saturdays
Please submit any reports or stories of conflict around the world to firstname.lastname@example.org or write in the comments below. Here’s a summary of what happened this week in Asia:
- On Wednesday, five civilians and two policemen were killed and several more injured in a suicide bombing northeast of Kabul, Afghanistan; insurgents targeted a ceremony at a new police training centre in central Wardak province; and two ISAF service members were killed in Kabul in separate bomb attacks. The UN has decided to separate the link between the Taliban and al-Qaeda for joint sanctioning purposes in an attempt to kick-start peace talks within Afghanistan by offering an incentive for Taliban members to renounce al-Qaeda. On Thursday, an ISAF service member was reported killed in an insurgent attack in Kabul; and Russia announced it wants to enlarge its presence in the country during rebuilding in parts of the country where Soviet troops fought a decade long war. On Saturday, nine people were killed in a suicide attack by three men dressed in army uniforms at a police station in Kabul; an ISAF service member was killed in an insurgent attack in Kabul; four Afghan private security guards protecting NATO supply trucks were killed and two others injured by roadside bombs in Ghazni; two ISAF service members were killed in separate insurgent attacks in Kabul; and the President Karzai announced that the US is engaged in peace talks with the Taliban. On Sunday, three civilians were killed and some 11 wounded after a suicide attacker blew up his car next to a German military convoy in the north. On Monday, an ISAF service member was killed by a homemade bomb in Kabul; Afghan and ISAF forces killed a rogue Afghan soldier who shot dead an Australian soldier three weeks ago during an operation in Khost; Afghani authorities complained to Pakistan about its shelling of Afghan villages; and the Afghan finance minister said he is “running out of patience” with the IMF after it rejected a plan to deal with the troubled lender Kabul Bank, jeopardizing the payment of civil servants. On Tuesday, it was reported that US President Obama is expected to withdraw roughly 10,000 US troops from Afghanistan this year.
- On Wednesday, officials reported that suspected US drones killed at least 15 people in South Waziristan, Pakistan; gunmen attacked and torched two NATO fuel supply trucks in the southwest; and two missiles hit a compound in Wana, killing at least 6. Pakistani intelligence service reportedly arrested the owner of a safe house rented to the CIA to observe bin Laden’s compound before the US raid, as well as a handful of other Pakistani informants who fed information to the CIA. On Thursday, Pakistan’s army chief General Kayani was reported as “fighting to keep his job amid growing pressure from within the military to reduce ties with the US”; while some 250 militants staged a cross-border raid from Afghanistan into a pro-government village, killing six civilians; a bomb blast destroyed a NATO fuel supply truck in Landikotal; gunmen killed one man in Quetta; and a roadside bomb hit a military convoy in the northwest, wounding two soldiers. On Friday, officials announced that security forces had killed at least 11 suspected militants during clashes in the northwest of the country; police presented charge-sheets against six members of a paramilitary force for the killing of an unarmed man last week that was caught on videotape and later broadcast on channels nationwide; and the government expressed “serious concern” at a NATO aircraft attack on its military post near the Afghani border. On Saturday, Pakistani forces killed three suspected militants after insurgents attacked a military check post in South Waziristan, killing one soldier and wounding two others; and a roadside bomb attack killed a man and two children and wounded over two dozen in Panjgur. On Sunday, officials reported that an army offensive had killed 25 militants and left four soldiers dead near the Afghani border. On Monday, suspected US drones fired missiles into the north-western region, killing at least 11 suspected militants; a car bomb killed one person and wounded 12 in Quetta; an 8 year old girl was kidnapped by militants who allegedly forced her to wear a suicide vest to attack security forces in Peshawar; dozens of militants attacked the homes of two prominent anti-Taliban elders close to the Afghan border, killing at least four and injuring another four; and men wearing police uniforms allegedly beat a Pakistani journalist working for the British Guardian newspaper after he published an account of abduction and torture by suspected intelligence agents. On Tuesday, an army brigadier was arrested for suspected ties to the banned group Hizb-ul-Tahrir.
- State media in Myanmar/Burma accused ethnic minority rebels of starting deadly fighting near the Chinese border, claiming that government troops had acted to defend a hydropower plant being built to provide power to China. Rebels blame the government for starting the clashes. On Monday, government troops said they had no choice but to fight ethnic Kachin separatists following the collapse of peace talks and violence ensued. One analyst commented that it was no real surprise that conflict continues, as the Kachin had been cut out politically in last year’s election and economically with the dams that they are now accused of attacking.
- On Thursday, it was reported that China had closed Tibet to foreigners ahead of the 90th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party on July 1st. On Friday, details about the apparently brutal detention of one of China’s most important legal activists, Chen Guangcheng, were released. Chen uncovered stories of forces sterilizations and abortions in an eastern city. A new report by the country’s central bank revealed that thousands of corrupt officials have stolen more than $120 billion and fled overseas since the mid-1990s; and police in southern China arrested 19 people in connection with the civil unrest in Guangdong province. Police also began offering residency and cash rewards to migrant workers who provide tip-offs leading to the arrest of rioters involved in the unrest in Guangdong. On Monday, Singapore asked China to clarify its claims to disputed islands in the South China Sea and urged all parties to act with restraint amid the biggest flare-up in regional tension in years over maritime sovereignty claims.
- Representatives from India and Pakistan are scheduled to meet later this month to discuss Kashmir in the first formal talks between the two rivals since 2008. Analysts expect no breakthroughs.
- A new British documentary looking into new allegations of war crimes in Sri Lanka sparked debate over whether investigations should be conducted on the extrajudicial killings. The government said the video material shown in the documentary, which shows the apparent execution of three tied up Tamil prisoners, including a woman, was fabricated. On Thursday, the Tamil party said the military had attacked its campaign events in the north to create a climate of fear ahead of the first local government polls in 26 years, scheduled for July 23.
- The US Navy intercepted a ship from North Korea suspected of carrying an illegal shipment of missile parts to Myanmar/Burma was reported this week. The cargo ship was forced to return home after a standoff at sea and several days of diplomatic pressure from Washington and Asian nations. On Wednesday, a government source reported that nine North Koreans had defected to the South in a small boat and were seeking asylum, an incident likely to raise tensions between the two sides. South Korea rejected the North’s demand for their return on Friday, with the North warning that relations could worsen if the group is not returned.
- South Korean Marines fired rifles at a South Korean commercial aircraft flying near the sea border with the North, thinking it was one of the North’s jet fighters on Saturday. The craft sustained no damage, as it was out of range of the rifles.
- Several foreign members of the legal staff for a UN backed Cambodian tribunal trying former Khmer Rouge leaders walked out in recent weeks to protest an apparent decision by top investigators not to pursue new prosecutions beyond the first two cases. The investigator’s actions echo those of PM Hun Sen, who previously told SG Ban Ki-moon that a so-called Case 3 was “not allowed”.
- It was reported this week that the alleged leader of the banned Islamic organization Hizb ut-Tahrir was arrested in Tajikistan sometime last week. Sharifjon Yoqubov has already spent 10 years in prison, and his sister alleged that after his arrest his three daughters, aged between 4 and 16, disappeared, and are suspected to be in police custody in an effort to pressure Yoqubov to talk. On Thursday, authorities had detained a local BBC reporter on suspicion of belonging to Hizb ut-Tahrir, who was reportedly denied access to his lawyer. On Friday, it was reported that the government had taken the first step towards banning children and adolescents from worshipping in mosques and churches, in the latest crackdown on religious freedom.
- Philippine security forces are on alert for possible attacks from militants after some rebels had been spotted arriving in Manila this month, the government announced on Thursday. One report suggested a bomb attack was planned for Independence Day (June 12th), though no attack was carried out on that day.
- Suspected Muslim militants killed 4 soldiers in an ambush at a crowded market in southern Thailand on Thursday. On Monday, suspected militants killed a policeman and two local officials in the south. There has been a sharp rise in the number and scale of attacks in recent months.
- Vietnam and the US took the first step towards cleaning up Agent Orange contamination on Friday. The US military sprayed up to 12 million gallons of the defoliant between 1961 and 1971 and for years there has been the questions of compensation for Vietnamese who suffered health problems resulting from exposure to the compound.
- The mother of a jailed youth activist was briefly detained on Friday in Azerbaijan after leaving her membership card from the ruling Yeni Azerbaijan Party on the grave of the former President. A security guard explained that the detention occurred to “clarify the issue”.
- The parliament of Kyrgyzstan has adopted a new resolution calling for a local news website to be banned, claiming it “ignites ethnic hatred” among Uzbeks and Kyrgyz. Uzbek officials banned the website in 2005 after the site’s coverage of the massacre of protesters by security forces. Some fear it would be the “introduction of censorship” to the country. The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media voiced a concern, saying that the measures could potentially limit media pluralism.