3 suspected rebels, 1 officer killed in Kashmir fighting

3 suspected rebels, 1 officer killed in Kashmir fighting
Indian police man a checkpoint near a gunbattle site on the outskirts of Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir on Sunday, Aug. 30, 2020. (AP)
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Updated 30 August 2020

3 suspected rebels, 1 officer killed in Kashmir fighting

3 suspected rebels, 1 officer killed in Kashmir fighting
  • Since January, government forces have killed about 180 militants during counterinsurgency operations

SRINAGAR, India: Three suspected rebels and a counterinsurgency officer were killed in a gunbattle on the outskirts of Indian-controlled Kashmir’s main city, police said Sunday.
An Indian soldier was also killed in Pakistani firing along their frontier in the disputed region, an army spokesperson said.
Police said the three militants Saturday night fired at a checkpoint in the outskirts of Srinagar in a failed bid to snatch a rifle from a paramilitary soldier.
Police and paramilitary soldiers later traced them hiding in a civilian home, the region’s police chief, Dilbagh Singh, told reporters. In the subsequent fighting, which lasted the whole night, a counterinsurgency officer and the three attackers were killed, he said.
Singh said that among the three slain militants, one was active for about a year. He didn’t give details about the other two.
In the last two days, seven suspected rebels and an Indian soldier were killed in two separate gunfights.
Since January, government forces have killed about 180 militants during counterinsurgency operations, according to the Jammu-Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society, a rights group. Based on official figures, data shows that over half of them had joined the rebels less than a year ago, and out of them most had been active for only a few months.
At least 68 government forces and 46 civilians have been killed since January, the rights group said.
Meanwhile, an Indian soldier was killed early Sunday when Pakistani soldiers targeted some Indian frontier post along the highly militarized frontier that divides Kashmir between the two rivals in southern Rajouri district, said Lt. Col. Devender Anand, an Indian army spokesperson.
Anand called the Pakistani firing a violation of the 2003 cease-fire accord between the two countries and said Indian soldiers retaliated. Pakistan did not immediately comment. In the past, each country has accused the other of initiating the firing and violating the cease-fire agreement.
India and Pakistan claim the divided territory of Kashmir in its entirety. Most Muslim Kashmiris support the rebel cause that the territory be united either under Pakistani rule or as an independent country.


Iran deal architect among veterans named for Biden State Department

Iran deal architect among veterans named for Biden State Department
Updated 16 January 2021

Iran deal architect among veterans named for Biden State Department

Iran deal architect among veterans named for Biden State Department

WASHINGTON: The lead US negotiator of the Iran nuclear accord and a battle-tested hawk on Russia were named Saturday to top posts at President-elect Joe Biden’s State Department, signaling a return to normal after Donald Trump’s chaotic presidency.
Wendy Sherman, who brokered the Iran accord under Barack Obama and negotiated a nuclear deal with North Korea under Bill Clinton, was named as deputy secretary of state.
Victoria Nuland, a former career diplomat best known for her robust support for Ukrainian protesters in the ouster of a Russian-aligned president, was nominated under secretary for political affairs — the State Department’s third-ranking post in charge of day-to-day US diplomacy.
Biden said that the State Department nominees “have secured some of the most defining national security and diplomatic achievements in recent memory.”
“I am confident that they will use their diplomatic experience and skill to restore America’s global and moral leadership. America is back,” Biden said in a statement.
The State Department team will work under secretary of state-designate Antony Blinken, whose confirmation hearing will take place on Tuesday on the eve of Biden’s inauguration.
Blinken said that the State Department team, with women and ethnic minorities in prominent positions, “looks like America.”
“America at its best still has a greater capacity than any other country on earth to mobilize others to meet the challenges of our time,” Blinken said.
The optimism comes amid rising doubts about US leadership in Trump’s waning days after his supporters ransacked the Capitol on January 6 to try to stop the ceremonial certification of Biden’s victory.
Under outgoing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a staunch defender of Trump, the United States has aggressively challenged Iran and China, robustly backed Israel and toyed with improving ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin, while also imposing sanctions on Moscow.
Sherman’s nomination marks another clear sign that Biden wants to return to the accord under which Iran drastically slashed its nuclear program in exchange for promises of sanctions relief.
Trump exited the deal in 2018 and imposed sweeping sanctions in what many observers saw as an unsuccessful attempt to topple the Shiite clerical regime.