No military patrols in Afghanistan says China
China's Defence Ministry had dismissed reports that Chinese military vehicles were patrolling inside Afghanistan, saying the two countries were only carrying out counter-terrorism operations along their common border. This month, the Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst think-tank said in a report on its website that Chinese troops were on Afghan soil conducting joint patrols with their Afghan counterparts. That followed a similar report in an Indian media outlet in November. Defence Minsitry spokesman Ren Guoqiang said Chinese public security departments had counter-terrorism cooperation along the China-Afghanistan border. "This is law enforcement bodies from China and Afghanistan, in accordance with a bilateral agreement on strengthening border law enforcement, conducting cooperation along the border so as to jointly carry out counter-terrorism and to fight against cross-border crime," Ren told a monthly news briefing. "Reports in foreign media of Chinese military vehicles patrolling inside Afghanistan do not accord with the facts," he added.
Dostum’s bodyguards agree to cooperate in abuse case
Bodyguards of Afghan Vice President Rashid Dostum who were wanted over allegations of torture and abuse of one of their boss's political rivals had turned themselves in to authorities after weeks of refusing to cooperate. The move came after days of rising tensions within President Ashraf Ghani's fragile national unit government. Armed troops blocked streets around Dostum's Kabul residence to try to force him to hand the men over. Interior ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said that seven bodyguards were being questioned by officials of the attorney general's office. Dostum faced accusations that he ordered members of his personal militia to seize and detain Ahmad Ishchi, a former ally. He had denied the accusations. Ishchi said he was subjected to days of severe beatings and sexual abuse, prompting demands from Western allies of the government for an investigation and trial. In an address to supporters at his Kabul residence, broadcast live on television, Dostum warned President Ashraf Ghani that any action against him would weaken the government but said he would not order his own militia fighters to take action against government forces.
India not to press for merger of North and East Provinces in Sri Lanka
The media reported that visiting Indian Foreign Secretary had told the Tamil National Alliance that India would not be pressing Sri Lanka to merge the Northern and Eastern Provinces to form a single Tamil-majority, as envisaged by the India-Sri Lanka Accord of 1987. The Foreign Secretary was said to be reacting to a demand made by the leader of the Eelam Peoples’ Revolutionary Liberation Front (EPRLF) Suresh Premachandran, that India should honor its promise to keep the North and East united. It had even said that it would not allow a referendum to be held on the issue. Jaishankar had reportedly told Premachandran that much water had flown under the bridge since 1987 and as the situation had changed it would be better for all concerned to make use of the various windows of opportunity which had opened up recently with the change of regime and secure the rights of the Tamils. He had argued that it would not be wise to hold every other matter hostage to one issue - the merger of the North and East. However, he was said to have added that India would not mind if the Tamils kept the issue alive and kept it on the table for talks with the Sri Lankan government.
General Bajwa says India hamper’s Pakistan’s anti militancy fight
The Pakistan media reported that Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa had directed troops to "respond effectively" to unprovoked ceasefire violations by India. He had issued the directive while addressing soldiers during a visit to the Line of Control (LoC) at the Mattewala and Munaawar sectors. Bjawa said “At one hand, the ceasefire violations by Indian forces are an effort to divert world's attention from its atrocities against innocent Kashmiris, while on the other hand it is an attempt to dilute our response against terrorism and militancy,”. Gen Bajwa said the army was fully aware of India’s "nefarious designs" and its support to terrorism in the region, specifically Pakistan. He asserted “We will continue our solidarity with people of Indian Occupied Kashmir, who are struggling for their right of self-determination,”.