Commentary from the South Asia Center on the most relevant news from the region, and suggested “must-read” analyses from the week.

After failing to come up with a comprehensive and consolidated anti-terrorism plan, the security situation in Pakistan is fast moving towards the edge. This week, the country was convulsed by a terrorist attack on the Karachi airport on Sunday night, and continued activity on Monday. The incident left 38 dead including 10 militants. The latest attack in Karachi exhibits the depleting capacity of agencies tasked with maintaining law and order and dealing with threats that loom large. Despite the huge costs in terms of loss to national assets, the government and military stand undecided on waging an operation to destroy terrorists’ sanctuaries in North Waziristan. The primary reason behind this standstill is the confusion between “good” and “bad” Taliban, and conflicting desires to continue peace talks with some members of the Pakistan Taliban.  The deteriorating security situation is coupled with brewing political chaos, with right wing forces looking to destabilize the current government.  

Relevant News Links
Egypt and Syria look more dynamic than this circus (The News)
A lost opportunity (Daily Dawn)
Egypt and Syria look more dynamic than this circus (Express Tribune)

The runoff presidential election in Afghanistan is taking place tomorrow, June 14, 2014. Dr. Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani, the two leading candidates who prevailed in the first round of the election, will compete against each other, with final results to be announced in July. Dr. Abdullah secured a clear majority in the first round of elections. However, new alliances and shifting support suggests a close battle between the two remaining candidates. Dr. Abdullah and Dr. Ghani have been deemed “frontrunners” after various polls reported conflicting predictions.  After a relatively violence-free first round election, Taliban militants are still feared to pose a threat in the second round after issuing new threats to those planning on voting Saturday, particularly in less secure and stable provinces. The counting of votes is expected to continue into July, and the new President slated to take power in the first week of August.

Relevant News Links
Warlords, Officials Interfering in Ballot Process: IEC (Daily Outlook Afghanistan)
Hagel says deal to free Bergdahl was right decision (Afghanistan Sun)
5 US troops killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan (The State)


Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi visited India this week, thought to be capitalizing on an opportunity to strengthen economic ties and revive stalled bilateral relations after India’s change in government. The Chinese official dubbed this visit of utmost significance and regarded Modi as an old friend of China. Modi is keen on building relations with its Northeastern neighbor. As chief minister of Gujrat, he visited China frequently to boost trade and business relations, and to learn from Chinese growth models. As Prime Minster, Modi has stressed the importance  of building good relations with India’s immediate neighbors. This week, Modi replied to a letter from Pakistan’s Prime Minster, condemning the terrorist attacks in Karachi and pledging to strengthen ties through building on mutual interests and controlling terrorism.

Relevant News Links
China: Foreign Minister’s India Trip has ‘Great Significance’ (The Diplomat)
Will Modi deport non-Hindu refugees from India (Asian Correspondent)
India reject UN Probe, calls for flag meeting on LOC (24×7 reporting India)


Seven Bangladeshi sailors that were abducted by Somali pirates have returned home to Bangladesh after three and a half years of captivity. The Bangladeshi sailors were on a Malaysian vessel when the pirates attacked them, hijacked the vessel, and abducted its staff. The sailors reached back home on morning of June 12.

Relevant News Links

Released seven sailors return (Bangladesh Today)
25 Bangladeshi firms to join trade fair in Turkey (Bangladesh Sun)

Iran and France held talks this week on the Islamic Republic’s nuclear energy program. This new session of talks started after Tehran had a similar meeting with the United States. Iran is holding these meeting amidst a new jihadi threat looming large on its border with Iraq. While no outcome has yet been reported out of these dialogues, Iran has threatened that it will restart its nuclear program if talks with the West fail.

Relevant News Links
Iran continues direct talks with P 5+1 members (Iran Daily)
Iran to resume uranium enrichment if n-talks fail (Iran Herald)
ISIS in Iraq: Who can halt the Jihadis now? (Iran Herald)