Another US drone strike killed 5 suspected militants in Pakistan. After no drone attack in the first 6 months, the attacks have now become more frequent. This was the 20th drone hit this year. According to a militant as well as a government official, 5 militants died in the airstrike.
The drones targeted a house in the Afghan border where the militants were said to be hiding. According to the militant, all five who died were Pakistani fighters. As usual, Pakistan has condemned the drone strike. The authorities view this hits as a breach of ethics and a challenge to Pakistan’s sovereignty.
But many people think that unwillingly or not, the Pakistani military has given their approval to this drone strikes because while the government was trying to negotiate with the insurgents, the drone attacks were completely halted. And they started up with renewed intensity only after Pakistan’s military itself launched an aggressive mission against the Taliban in the North Waziristan region.
The area has been declared a military zone and as such civilians had been asked to evacuate to safer regions and journalists are barred entry, so the exact situation in the area is a matter of speculation. However, many say that most who have died in the drone attacks are militants, and a few civilians have died in the attacks as well.
Two gunmen killed four people who were taking part in an anti-polio campaign in Pakistan. Three of the dead were women and one was a man. The gunmen, who haven’t been identified yet, rode up in a motorcycle and opened fire. The vaccination drive was going on near the town of Quetta, three more people were injured in the attack.
According to a police official in Pakistan the health workers didn’t have a security detail with them. Nobody has claimed responsibility for the attack but it is being assumed that Taliban militants are responsible for the attack as they have targeted health workers earlier.
The polio vaccination campaign was launched in Baluchistan, tight security was also organized. But it seems to have done very little good. Polio is still a big problem in the country and government has often been blamed for being complacent about eradication of the virus. The main reason for the spread of the virus in many parts of the country is the opposition by Taliban insurgents against inoculation.
Taliban consider polio medicine to be a conspiracy to sterilize Muslims, as a result health workers trying to distribute polio vaccine are in constant danger of being attacked.
Gold firms are struggling and in order to stay afloat they are planning to take some drastic steps. Most of the gold producers are cutting jobs and stopping dividends, some firms have also been forced to stop ongoing projects and even shut down mines. But despite all this, many of the firms may not survive.
Gold prices have dropped to $1,137.40 per ounce which is the lowest that gold prices have fallen in the past four years. Last year gold saw a 28% price drop as it went down to $1,196. That was a nightmare situation for gold firms and many were forced to shut their doors. However, the prices again climbed up in the beginning of 2014. Unfortunately, it looks like gold prices have been in a downward spiral again for the last 3 months and gold producers are having a very hard time coping with the situation.
Gold is a special commodity as its price doesn’t depend completely on the demand and supply policy, instead, it depends on the global economic scenarios like inflation and interest rates, as such it is very hard to predict which way the market will move at any given time.
The attempts of the Iraqi and the Kurdish forces to push back ISIS finally seem to be bearing fruits. They have only recently freed two towns in eastern province which were under ISIS control previously. The Jalula town lies 80 miles in the northeast of Baghdad and Saadiya lies 60 miles to the north. ISIS captured both towns in August.
According to police reports from Diyala province, the Iraqi forces took back control of the towns of Saadiya and Jalula on Sunday after protracted fighting with ISIS militants. The fighting has mostly died down even though there are some occasional skirmishes on the outskirts of the towns. There is no confirmation about the number of deaths on either side however it is being estimated that dozens of insurgents died in the fighting.
Many families had fled the area under the tyranny of ISIS, some of these families have started coming back home. However, it was earlier announced by the provincial police chief that the towns are military zones now and as such the families wouldn’t be allowed in until the towns have been completely purged off the mines and bombs planted in the houses and roads. The militants planted bombs in the roadsides before they left the towns, these bombs are being defused by bomb disposal unit now.
The situation in Afghanistan is worsening by the day. Suicide bombings, car bombings and other acts of violence perpetrated by the Taliban militants have become frequent. On Sunday, a volleyball match was targeted by a suicide bomber. The incident happened in Yahyakhali district; the bomber detonated his explosive vest in the midst of a crowd of civilians who had gathered to watch the match.
The resulting blast killed about 45 people and wounded over 50 more. The game was well attended as people from nearby places have come to cheer their team, as a result the crowd was dense and causalities were quite high. Most of the victims were quite young. As of now nobody has claimed responsibility for the attack but it seems in keeping with the recent trend of Taliban attacks.
This attack might have been carried out in retaliation of the recent security deals sanctioned by the Afghan MPs. According to this deal, US and Nato forces can remain in the country after other foreign troops have withdrawn. There will be around 12,000 soldiers in this force and their primary mission would be to train and advise the Afghan army and security forces.