Two killed in Kashmir militant attack on Indian army camp

An Indian policeman fires a pellet gun at Kashmiri protesters in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, Friday, May 18, 2018. (AP)
Updated 28 May 2018
0

Two killed in Kashmir militant attack on Indian army camp

SRINAGAR, India: Two people have died in a shootout in the disputed territory of Indian Kashmir, officials said Monday, the first attacks since the army suspended operations against the militants for Ramadan.
A soldier was killed late Sunday when militants attacked an army camp in Kakapora, some 40 kilometers (25 miles) south of the main city of Srinagar, said army spokesman Col. Rajesh Kalia.
A civilian driving past was also killed in the exchange, a police officer said.
Three soldiers were later wounded when a roadside bomb was detonated underneath a military vehicle near Shopian district.
No militant group has claimed responsibility for the twin attacks.
The assaults were the first in the Kashmir Valley since the army declared a nearly 30-day halt to military operations, the first of its kind in the tense region for nearly two decades.
The decision meant Indian troops would pause operations against insurgents and halt door-to-door house searches, but would retaliate if attacked.
Despite the suspension of operations, violence has not abated in the region bordering Pakistan, which also controls part of the disputed Himalayan territory but claims it in full, like India.
The Indian army claimed it killed five militants on Sunday as they tried to cross the heavily militarised border.
On May 17, the army claimed three suspected militants were killed in a forest area near the border.
Both incidents could not be independently verified.
In a separate clash along the border, a heavy exchange of fire between Indian and Pakistani forces this month left 16 dead on both sides, forcing around 80,000 citizens living on the Indian side to flee.
India deploys an estimated 500,000 soldiers in Kashmir, which has been divided between India and Pakistan since the end of British rule in 1947.
Rebel groups have been fighting for an independent Kashmir or a merger with Pakistan since 1989.
New Delhi accuses Pakistan of fueling the insurgency that has left tens of thousands of civilians dead, a charge Islamabad denies saying it only provides diplomatic support to Kashmiris’ right to self-determination.


Kosovo votes to create national army over Serb objections

Updated 18 October 2018
0

Kosovo votes to create national army over Serb objections

  • Europe’s newest independent state which relies on NATO troops for its protection, voted to set up a 5,000-strong national army
  • The landlocked Balkan territory of 1.8 million, which declared independence in 2008, is still guarded by 4,000 stationed NATO troops

PRISTINA: Parliament in Kosovo, Europe’s newest independent state which relies on NATO troops for its protection, voted on Thursday to set up a 5,000-strong national army though its Serb minority said the move was illegal.
Serb deputies, backed by Belgrade which does not recognize Kosovo’s independence, have blocked any such move in the past saying creation of a national army required a change to the constitution.
But three laws promoted by the Kosovo government and passed by a parliamentary vote on Thursday simply upgraded the mandate of the lightly-armed domestic Kosovo Security Force (KSF) to become a national army — something which the government said did not require any changes to the constitution.
The vote was passed with 98 in favor in the 120-seat parliament, though it was boycotted by the legislature’s 11 Serb deputies. A second vote will be required in the next few days.
“The three laws have one task, to protect the territorial integrity of Kosovo, to protect the citizens of all communities in Kosovo,” Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj said before the vote.
The landlocked Balkan territory of 1.8 million, which declared independence in 2008, is still guarded by 4,000 stationed NATO troops nearly two decades after the end of the war.
NATO moved into the fledgling state in June 1999 following weeks of air strikes to halt the killing and expulsion of ethnic Albanian civilians by Serbian forces fighting a two-year counter-insurgency after the break-up of Yugoslavia.
The United States and most of the European Union member states recognize Kosovo. But objections by permanent Security Council members Russia and China which back Serbia in not accepting Kosovo’s statehood prevent it from being a member of the United Nations.
The laws passed said the new army would have 5,000 active soldiers and 3,000 reservists. The present KSF security force is a lightly armed, 2,500-strong force trained by NATO and tasked with crisis response, civil protection and ordinance disposal.
NATO says it has no plans to leave the territory just now, but it suggested that any change to the status of the KSF might lead to a reduction in its forces there.
“Any change in the structure, mandate and mission of the Kosovo Security Forces is for the Kosovo authorities to decide,” a NATO official told Reuters in an emailed answer.
“NATO supports the Kosovo Security Force under its current mandate. Should this mandate evolve, the North Atlantic Council will have to re-examine the level of NATO’s engagement in Kosovo. We cannot predict decisions by the North Atlantic Council.”