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Daily Brief: Six Tourists Wounded in Attack in Afghanistan

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August 4, 2016

Daily News Brief

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Six Tourists Wounded in Attack in Afghanistan

A convoy carrying Western tourists was attacked (BBC) in western Afghanistan, leaving at least six people wounded. The group of a dozen travelers was being escorted by the Afghan army on the way to the city of Herat. The group reportedly included three Americans, eight UK nationals, and one German. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but a spokesman for the Herat governor blamed it on the Taliban (Al Jazeera). The attack comes as the Taliban is intensifying (Guardian) its annual summer offensive.


"Afghanistan remains locked in a violent insurgency and sees few foreign tourists outside of relatively peaceful areas like Bamiyan, which is home to the country's first national park. Western embassies typically warn their citizens against all travel in Afghanistan, citing threats of attack and kidnapping," writes Reuters.

"The group’s territorial gains have been accompanied by a steady rise in violence, which helps explain why the White House revised its plans for scaling back the American deployment. The deteriorating situation was apparent in recent figures from the U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan showing that Afghan civilian casualties rose to more than 11,000 in 2015, the highest since the U.N. group began keeping records in 2009,” writes Nikhil Kumar in TIME.

"Afghanistan demands attention. For here the United States first set out to test the proposition that has formed the cornerstone of our national security policy since 9/11: That the deft application of U.S. military power can not only eliminate those threatening to do us harm, but also install in their place a stable political order conducive to liberal values. In Afghanistan, the United States and its allies have succeeded on neither count, despite considerable sacrifice and expenditures exceeding one trillion dollars," writes Andrew J. Bacevich for the Los Angeles Times.


Chinese Lawyer Jailed for Subversion

A Chinese lawyer who has represented clients targeted by the Chinese Communist Party and who took on one of the country's largest dairy firms for allegedly producing tainted baby formula was sentenced (AP) to seven years in prison for subversion. His sentence is seen as part of a larger effort to shut down critics and human rights activists.

PHILIPPINES: Police have killed more than four hundred people (AFP) since President Rodrigo Duterte's took office in June, according to police figures. Duterte pledged to rid the country of drugs and crime in his first six months in office.


India to Overhaul Tax System

Lawmakers cleared the way for India to create a single economic zone (NYT) to replace overlapping federal and state taxes. Experts say the new tax code will make it easier to do business in the country and could boost economic growth by as much as 2 percent.

BANGLADESH: Police arrested (AP) two suspects, a UK national and a University of Toronto student, in connection with a deadly attack on a restaurant last month by Islamic extremists.

CFR's Alyssa Ayres discusses the recent rise in Islamist violence in Bangladesh in this CFR Interview.


UN: Nearly 400,000 Children At Risk of Starvation in Yemen

More than 370,000 children are at risk of starvation (Al Jazeera) in Yemen and about 14 million people are in urgent need of food and medical aid, according to the United Nations. The conflict in Yemen since 2014 has caused dramatic inflation in food and fuel prices.

This CFR backgrounder explains Yemen’s crisis.

SYRIA: Syrian government forces bombed six hospitals (NBC) in the Aleppo area in one week, said Physicians for Human Rights. The group said the period at the end of July was the worst week for attacks on medical facilities since the war began.


Boko Haram Leader Rejects Replacement by Islamic State

The long-time leader of the Nigerian militant group released an audio recording Thursday rejecting his replacement (Bloomberg) as head of Boko Haram by the Islamic State, to which he declared allegiance last year. Ibrahim Shekau denounced Abu Musab Al Barnawi, whom the Islamic State named the new Boko Haram leader this week.

CFR Fellow John Campbell explains the rise of Boko Haram in this Expert Brief.

ZIMBABWE: Police used batons and tear gas to break up (Al Jazeera) an anti-government protest in the capital Harare. It was the latest in a string of protests against long-time President Robert Mugabe.


Germany May Deploy Army to Fight Domestic Terrorism

The nation is considering using its army to help fight domestic terrorism (WSJ). Germany’s post-WWII constitution bans the military from deploying internally.

UK: Police arrested a suspect in a Wednesday night stabbing attack (Guardian) in central London that left an American woman dead and five people injured. Police said there was no evidence the suspect was motivated by terrorism.


Colombian Former President to Campaign Against Peace Deal

Former president Alvaro Uribe said he and his party would campaign (Miami Herald) against the government’s peace deal with the nation’s largest guerrilla group when the accord is put up for a national vote.

This CFR Backgrounder looks at Colombia's five-decades of civil conflict.

NICARAGUA: President Daniel Ortega named (UPI) his wife as his running mate as he seeks a third term in November elections. Rosario Murillo has already had a large role in her husband’s administration. 

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