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17 Sep 2018 description
report Voice of America

September 16, 2018 6:33 PM
Ayaz Gul

ISLAMABAD — Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, in an unprecedented announcement Sunday, pledged to offer Pakistani citizenship to hundreds of thousands of Afghans born to refugee families his country has been hosting for decades.

The United Nations refugee agency and local officials say there are 2.7 million Afghans, including 1.5 million registered as refugees, in Pakistan. The displaced families have fled decades of conflict, ethnic and religious persecution, poverty and economic hardships in turmoil-hit Afghanistan.

31 May 2018 description
report Voice of America

India and Pakistan have agreed to uphold a 2003 cease-fire agreement in the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir, ending months of back-and-forth clashes that have left dozens of people dead.

Pakistan's military announced Wednesday that the two sides had agreed to end the hostilities during talks on a special hotline.

Both sides have exchanged gunfire and artillery fire across the Line of Control that divides Kashmir between the two nuclear-armed rivals, forcing tens of thousands of civilians on the Indian side to flee their homes.

08 May 2018 description
report Voice of America

Mohammad Habibzada

WASHINGTON — A high-ranking Taliban member is calling for peace in Afghanistan. The comment by shadow chief justice, Mawlawi Abdul Hokom came in a letter to Taliban leader Habtullah Akhundzada.

Hokom said all Afghans, including those living in Taliban or Afghan government-controlled areas, are tired of war and want peace.

The Afghanistan Ministry of Defense (MOD) provided a copy of the letter to VOA that was initially sent from northeastern Baghlan province, and claimed that many of the Taliban members favor peace.

01 Apr 2018 description
report Voice of America

Mohammed Yusuf

SRINIGAR - Eighteen people have been killed in three separate incidents Sunday as Indian troops conducted counterinsurgency operations in Indian Kashmir.

State police director general S.P. Vaid said 11 militants, three soldiers and four civilians died during clashes.

He said the militants killed in the operation belonged to the Hizbul Mujahideen (Party of Soldiers) and Lashkar-e-Tayaba (Army of the Righteous). Both groups have been designated as terrorist groups by India and the United States.

19 Feb 2018 description
report Voice of America

WASHINGTON/ISLAMABAD — A security expert from the Afghan-Pakistan region said Pakistani officials are blaming unrest on Afghan refugees in a bid to divert attention from the real causes of militancy.

At a security conference in the German city of Munich Saturday, Pakistan's chief of army staff Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa said the repatriation of Afghan refugees could greatly help in curbing terrorism in the Pak-Afghan region.

03 Feb 2018 description
report Voice of America

Steve Baragona

WASHINGTON — 

Polio cases in Pakistan rose by 73 percent during the most intense periods of civil conflict there in recent years, according to a new study.

The report, in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is one of the first to provide concrete evidence of the impacts insecurity has on efforts to eradicate the paralyzing disease.

31 Jan 2018 description
report Voice of America

January 31, 2018 6:18 AM
VOA News

A young Pakistani girl was killed Wednesday by a strong earthquake that struck several thousand kilometers away in northeast Afghanistan.

The U.S. Geological Survey says the epicenter of the 6.1 magnitude quake was located about 35 kilometers south of Jarm in the Hindu Kush region near the border with Tajikistan, at a depth of 191 kilometers.

The fatality occurred in Pakistan's Baluchistan's province. The child was killed when the roof of her mud-walled house collapsed. At least nine other people were injured.

28 Jan 2018 description
report Voice of America

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA — A second group of refugees to be resettled in the United States from Australia's offshore immigration centers has left Papua New Guinea. Washington has agreed to take up to 1,250 migrants held in Australian-run processing camps in the South Pacific. In return, Canberra will accept a small number of Central American refugees.

17 Dec 2017 description
report Voice of America

ISLAMABAD —

Three heavily armed suicide bombers attacked a crowded church Sunday in Quetta, southwestern Pakistan, killing at least eight worshipers from the minority Christian community.

Officials and doctors said women and children were among the victims of the attack on the Bethel Memorial Methodist Church, located in a highly secured central part of the city.

02 Dec 2017 description
report Voice of America

Last Updated: December 01, 2017 7:25 AM
Ayaz Gul

ISLAMABAD — A group of heavily armed suicide assailants stormed a government agriculture research center and adjoining university hostel in northwestern Pakistan Friday, killing at least 9 people and wounding more than 35 others.

Pakistani police and counterterrorism units swiftly surrounded the complex in Peshawar and began a rescue operation. The gunfight with terrorists lasted several hours and killed three militants.

02 Dec 2017 description
report Voice of America

November 29, 2017 12:52 PM
Ayaz Gul

ISLAMABAD — Suspected militants attacked worshipers outside a Shi’ite Muslim mosque, killing at least one person and wounding four others late Wednesday in the Pakistani capital.

Police said four gunmen arrived on motorbikes at the mosque in Islamabad’s I-8 residential sector and opened fire on worshipers as they were coming out after offering evening prayers.

Members of the minority Shi’ite community swiftly took to the streets to protest the violence and denounce the government for failing to protect them.

15 Oct 2017 description
report Voice of America

ISLAMABAD — Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and the United States are set to resume four-way discussions Monday in Oman in a renewed bid to seek a politically negotiated settlement to the Afghan war.

The meeting of the so-called Quadrilateral Cooperation Group, or QCG, in the Gulf state is taking place after a gap of 16 months. Senior foreign ministry officials from the four nations will lead their respective delegations at the talks.

30 Sep 2017 description
report Voice of America

Ayaz Gul

ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN — Pakistan said that cross-border shooting by India late Friday left one soldier and two civilians dead in the disputed Kashmir region.

Three soldiers and two civilians were wounded, according to a Pakistani military statement.

The statement blamed Indian troops for initiating the fire and targeting the civilian population with heavy weapons in the Rakhchikri area near the Line of Control, which separates Pakistani and Indian portions of Kashmir.

23 Sep 2017 description
report Voice of America

Ayaz Gul

ISLAMABAD — Pakistan's military says the death toll from the overnight cross-border shooting by India in the disputed Kashmir region has risen to six.

In a statement Friday army spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor said 26 people, including women and children, were also wounded in what he called “unprovoked'' Indian shelling across the boundary in the Charwa and Harpal villages, on the Pakistani side.

19 Sep 2017 description
report Voice of America

Ayaz Gul

A suicide blast near one of Pakistan's two main border crossings with Afghanistan has wounded at least 22 people, including several members of the security forces.

Monday evening's attack prompted Pakistani authorities to swiftly suspended all traffic at the southwestern Chaman post.

Officials said personnel of the paramilitary Frontier Corps were heading to the border crossing when a suicide bomber ambushed their vehicle and blew himself up near a busy public spot.

Splinter group takes credit

03 Sep 2017 description
report Voice of America

Years of militancy and counterinsurgency operations in Pakistan’s northwestern tribal region have destroyed much of the infrastructure, including education centers, in the area.

More than 1,100 girls’ schools in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), which is adjacent to the restive Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, have reportedly been damaged or fully destroyed by the decade long insurgency, according to Pakistan government estimates.

15 Aug 2017 description
report Voice of America

Madeeha Anwar

Pakistan’s northwestern tribal region, beleaguered for years by terrorism and lawlessness, has seen a decline in militant activities during the past few months as the result of government counterinsurgency operations, a recent security report says.

FATA Research Center (FRC), a non-governmental organization based in the capital of Pakistan, observed a decline of 19 percent in violent incidents during the second quarter of 2017 in the semi-autonomous Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) along the border with Afghanistan.

12 Aug 2017 description
report Voice of America

QUETTA, PAKISTAN — Pakistan's army says "terrorists" have targeted a military truck with a bomb killing eight soldiers and seven civilians in the southwestern city of Quetta.

A military statement Saturday says the bomb also wounded 25 people, including 15 civilians. It says incendiary explosives were used in the blast that sparked fires in nearby vehicles.

Sarfraz Bugti, the home minister for Baluchistan, said the blast took place near a private hospital but its nature is still being investigated. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

06 Aug 2017 description
report Voice of America

By: Madeeha Anwar

Heath experts in Pakistan’s terror-wrecked Northwestern Tribal region say there has been a rise in psychological or psychiatric disorders, depression, anxiety and other forms of mental ailments as a result of frequent terror attacks.

“Dealing with militancy and sectarianism on a continued basis results in unavoidable mental stress. Inadequate health facilities add to the problems of locals who have to mostly rely on self-medication,” Dr. Talha Rehman, co-trustee of Elaj Trust, a social welfare organization told VOA.

27 Jun 2017 description
report Voice of America

Ben Thompson

WASHINGTON — The latest farm tools on the job in Pakistan are cell phones and satellites. A new program is using satellite data to estimate how much water a field needs, and then texting this information to farmers.