18 killed in US drone attacks in Pakistan

Updated 25 August 2012

18 killed in US drone attacks in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: US missiles slammed into three compounds close to the Afghan border yesterday, killing 18 suspected militants, Pakistani officials said, just a day after the government summoned an American diplomat to protest drone strikes in the country’s northwest tribal region.
The suspected militant hideouts were hit minutes apart. They were located several kilometers from each other in the North Waziristan tribal area, said intelligence officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to reporters.
The US has carried out seven drone strikes in the past week in North Waziristan, ignoring Pakistani protests that they violate the country’s sovereignty.
The attacks have exacerbated the already troubled relationship between the two countries, but the US has refused to stop the strikes.
On Thursday, Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry summoned a US diplomat to protest the wave of drone strikes.
“A senior US diplomat was called to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and informed that the drone strikes were unlawful, against international law and a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty. It was emphatically stated that such attacks were unacceptable,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement. The diplomat was not identified.
The Pakistani government is widely believed to have supported the strikes in the past. That cooperation has come under strain as the relationship between the two countries has deteriorated, but US officials say privately that there are still senior members of Pakistan’s government and military who condone the attacks. The US rarely discusses the covert CIA-run drone program in Pakistan publicly.
The strikes are unpopular in Pakistan because many people believe they kill mostly civilians — an allegation denied by the US
The suspected militant hideouts that were attacked Friday in the Shawal area of North Waziristan were each hit by two missiles, said the intelligence officials. Militants often use the hideouts when they are crossing into Afghanistan, the officials said. In addition to the 18 suspected militants who were killed, 14 others were wounded, they said.
There has been a string of drone strikes over the past week.
On Saturday, five allies of a powerful warlord, Hafiz Gul Bahadur, whose forces often strike US troops in Afghanistan, died when a US drone struck their hideout. On Sunday, American drones fired a flurry of missiles into the Pakistani tribal area bordering Afghanistan, killing 10 suspected militants in two separate strikes. On Tuesday, missiles targeting a vehicle killed five more suspected militants.
One of the reasons the US has increased the number of drone attacks in Pakistan is the government’s refusal to launch an offensive in North Waziristan against militants who carry out cross-border attacks against American forces in Afghanistan.
US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta recently said Pakistan plans to launch an operation in North Waziristan in the near future. But it is likely to focus on Taleban militants who have been at war with the Pakistani state, not those who have been fighting the US-led coalition in Afghanistan.


Indian govt slammed over poor ranking in global hunger index

Visitors try out food at 'Bengaluru Aaharotsava', a 3-day vegetarian food festival, in Bangalore on October 18, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 19 October 2019

Indian govt slammed over poor ranking in global hunger index

  • This ranking reveals a colossal failure in Govt policy and blows the lid off the PM’s hollow ‘sabka vikas’ (development for all) claim,” tweeted Rahul Gandhi, who leads the opposition Congress party

NEW DELHI: India’s poor rating in the Global Hunger Index (GHI) has come in for sharp criticism, with the opposition calling it a “colossal failure of government policy.”
The GHI showed that India ranked 102 in the database of 117 nations and trailed its smaller South Asian neighbors Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal. In 2000, India ranked 83 out of 113 nations.
The index is designed to measure and track hunger at a global, regional, and national level. The report, which was released on Wednesday, was a joint effort between Irish aid agency Concern Worldwide and German organization Welt Hunger Hilfe.
“This ranking reveals a colossal failure in Govt policy and blows the lid off the PM’s hollow ‘sabka vikas’ (development for all) claim,” tweeted Rahul Gandhi, who leads the opposition Congress party.
Thomas Isaac, finance minister in the southern state of Kerala, said: “The slide started with PM (Narendra) Modi’s ascension. In 2014 India was ranked 55. In 2017 it slipped to 100 and now to the levels of Niger and Sierra Leone. The majority of the world’s hungry now resides in India.”
The GHI score is based on four indicators — undernourishment; child wasting (children below five who have a low weight for their height, reflecting acute undernutrition); child stunting, (children under the age of five who have low height for their age, reflecting chronic undernutrition); and child mortality, the mortality rate of children under the age of five.
“India’s child wasting rate is extremely high at 20.8 percent, the highest for any country,” the report said. It added that, with a score of 30.3, India suffered from a level of hunger that was serious.

BACKGROUND

The Global Hunger Index showed that India ranked 102 in the database of 117 nations and trailed its smaller South Asian neighbors Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal. In 2000, India ranked 83 out of 113 nations.

International NGO Save the Children  said the government needed to focus on wasting and stunting. Other low- and middle-income countries in the world which are faring better have actually scored better than India in those two areas, it added.
“There are nearly 1.8 million children in the country who are wasting and for that we will need comprehensive interventions, including the provision of therapeutic foods for such children to be managed at a community level,” it told Arab News.
The NGO warned of serious social consequences, with wasting leading to impaired cognitive ability and poor learning outcomes. “Furthermore, for underweight and stunted girls, it invokes a vicious cycle whereby initial malnutrition with early child-bearing gets translated into poor reproductive health outcomes.”
Arab News contacted the Child and Family Welfare Ministry for comment but did not get a response.
Nepal ranks 73 in the index, Sri Lanka is placed at 66, Bangladesh is in 88th place, Myanmar is at the 69th spot and Pakistan ranks 94.
The GHI said these countries were also in the serious hunger category, but that their citizens fared better than India’s.