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Taliban’s rift with India: Islamic insurgents warn the country over its decision to provide military aid to Kabul

New Delhi’s growing military cooperation with Kabul irks the radical Islamists of Taliban

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ISLAMABAD, September 4, 2016: The Taliban on Sunday warned India against increasing military co-operation with the Afghan government and condemning it as a “clear hostility” towards the war-torn nation.

In its first public reaction to New Delhi’s growing military cooperation with Kabul, the Islamist insurgency alleged Indian aircraft and equipment are being used to kill Afghans and destroy their homes as well as other civilian infrastructure.

“The Islamic Emirate [the Taliban] condemns this action with the strongest of terms,” said Zabihullah Mujahid, the main spokesman for the Taliban, in a statement issued Sunday.

Attack helicopters provided

India recently transferred four Russian-made Mi-25 attack helicopters to boost the Afghan Air Force’s ability to assist ground troops fighting Taliban insurgents, and it trains hundreds of Afghan soldiers each year in its military academy.

Mil Mi attack helicopters. Source: Wikipedia.org
Mil Mi attack helicopters.
Image Source: Wikimedia

“We call on India to stop exporting items of killing and destruction to Afghanistan and to stop efforts of prolonging the lifespan of this corrupt regime with its military aid,” Mujahid added.

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He accused Afghan forces of using Indian attack helicopters to destroy a key bridge during recent fighting in the volatile northern Kunduz province.

“This cannot be interpreted as anything other than enmity with the Afghans and shall arouse hatred of the people of Afghanistan,” asserted the Taliban spokesman.

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Call for more assistance

Commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan General John Nicholson traveled to New Delhi last month to urge Indian officials there to enhance military aid to Kabul.

Kunduz province, Afghanistan. Source: VOA
Kunduz province, Afghanistan.
Source: VOA

“I know that they [Afghan authorities] have asked for more of these helicopters. There is an immediate need for more. When these aircraft come in, they immediately get into the fight,” Nicholson told reporters during his August 10 visit.

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Pakistan military’s intelligence agency 

U.S., Afghan and Indian officials allege the Pakistan military’s intelligence agency covertly supports the Taliban insurgency and allows it use sanctuaries on Pakistani soil to plot attacks in Afghanistan, charges Islamabad rejects.

Afghan army chief General Quidam Shah Shahim visited India last week to seek enhanced bilateral defense ties besides asking for more military equipment, particularly Mi-25 helicopters.

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India has contributed $2 billion in economic assistance for reconstruction projects in Afghanistan since the ouster of the Taliban from power in 2001. (VOA)

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Cricket madness in Chicago

People sacrifice other chores just to enjoy this beautiful game and to keep it alive in countries outside India where cricket is not a major sport.

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Cricket has become a popular sport in Chicago. Around 900 people play the game in the windy city.

WLCA Working Committee

Hari Mohan, Harshavardhna Hedge, Kunal Tembhurne, Niranjan Kulkarni, Saurabh Nigam, Shreenidhi Bharadwaj, Shekar Reddy Palla, Shwetabh Gaurav, Sunil Saini, Vivek Sarkar

About:

Cricket is more a religion, less a sport in India. People are obsessed with the sport and magnitude of love cannot be defined in words.

In the United States, Baseball, Basketball and Soccer are obviously more popular. However, Cricket has a strong presence due to the passion and love of Indians for the game. The Indian community in USA avidly plays and promotes cricket and, in the process comes closer to each other.

The passion for the game is unreal in USA too. Working men enjoy the sport in their free time. They even book grounds (baseball/soccer grounds) to practice and conduct tournament matches. The players are from all backgrounds – students, businessmen, lawyers, IT professionals to doctors. They all take out time out of their busy schedules and come together to rejoice the gentleman’s game in the windy city.

Cricket
The tournament played between Chicago Centaurs and Arrigo Avengers.

Tournaments in Chicago

As cricket has a strong presence in Chicago, many friendly yet competitive tournaments are conducted by cricket fanatics to keep the game alive.

Chicagotwenty20 tournament

Chicagotwenty20 is the oldest cricket tournament that was conducted in Chicago. It’s first season took place in 2009 and the tenth season was played in 2018. The league is played in 20 overs format. 56 teams participate from Chicago and are divided into groups 4 with 14 teams in each group.  Each team has a squad of 16 players with 11 playing and rest 5 as extras. Each team has a home ground. 7 matches are played at home ground and the rest at the opponent’s ground. The top eight teams from each group are qualified for the quarter finals. The tournament is almost four months long. The best player of the winning team is awarded the man of the match in every match. Best Batsman, Best bowler, MVP ( most valuable player) awards are given at the end of the season.

The 2018 season was won by team Yorkers. The Best Batsman, Highest score and the MVP award was given to Mr Pavan Shetty of team Yorkers, who scored 418 runs. The best bowler award was given to Sivakumar for taking 27 wickets.

WLCA Super 8 tournament

WLCA (West Loop Cricket Association, Chicago) was formed by four IT professionals in 2016 with the sole objective of promoting the game of cricket in Chicago City area. Based out of vibrant and affluent Chicago West Loop, WLCA is an assemblage of 300+ cricket players. These cricket enthusiasts come from different walks of life being corporate professionals, UIC/IIT students and local businessmen. There are hundreds of followers across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Cricket
This is the team who connected via the meetup link which has more than 300 members.

WLCA mainly involve in:

  • Organize annual cricket tournament
  • Coordinate weekly cricket games in different Chicago City park locations
  • Coordinating friendly games with other known Chicago Suburban teams
  • WLCA team represented Chicago City in other Chicagoland tournaments including Chicago T20 League and Soha Cup
  • Maintaining and making available Cricket Equipment Kit free of cost to playing group

The WLCA hosts Super 8 Cricket tournament which started in 2017 by the West Loop cricket association (WLCA). It is played under the format of 8 overs and 8 players in each team. This concept of tournament was the first to be launched by WLCA in Chicago. This is the shortest time-consuming format (2 days) and the played at the heart of Chicago Downtown. The first season was extremely successful (12 teams) and participating teams called out as the best organized cricket tournament amongst many happening in Chicago.

Season 2 played in 2018 organized by WLCA had 16 teams divided into four groups with four teams in each group. The semi-finals and final are played with 10 overs. There is a man of the match, best bowler, best fielder award for every match

Here is the fixture and schedule of Season 2:

There are 16 teams participating in this short format cricket tournament.

16 team is divided into 4 groups.

Group A Group B Group C Group D
Winter Wolves (A1) Chicago Wild Kittens(B1) Arrigo Avengers(C1) Super 9s(D1)
Dark Knights (A2) Challengers(B2) Cook County(C2) Chicago Super Kings(D2)
Chicago Centaurs(A3) Hunters (B3) Westside Wolves(C3) River City (D3)
International Khiladies (A4) Ballers(B4) Knights(C4) CSK+(D4)

Each team in the group will play only two matches with the other two teams.

From each group top two teams will be qualified for the quarterfinals, then semis and finals.

Chicago Centaurs were the Champions and Super 9s were the runners up.

Female cricket players
Female cricket players. Pixabay

The tournament has become a big deal in no time. It was sponsored by big names like USBank (thanks to Susan Brown), Lodha Group (this group was also the associated sponsor of Ind vs, Eng Test Series in 2018) and Metra Spice Mart (Only Indian Grocery Store in Chicago Downtown). The tournament has gained momentum in no time and is likely to do so in the years to come.

Keeping the game alive overseas

Cricket has become a huge deal in Chicago. Around 900 people play the game in the windy city. Tournaments like above help in maintaining healthy competition and something to be excited for.

People sacrifice other chores just to enjoy this beautiful game and to keep it alive in countries outside India where cricket is not a major sport.

“My favourite sport and always loved to watch and play the game anywhere in the world anytime. Always loved to organize these kinds of tournament from childhood so continuing the same thing outside the country”, Says Harshavardhna Hedge, Organizer, WLCA super 8 tournament.

The Indian Cricket Team
The Indian Cricket Team

“Well I love the sport and love my country. We get to relive our childhood and impart love for the game to the next generation. The community comes together and enjoy, and we also return to the society through charity”, Says Hari Mohan, Organizer, WLCA super 8 tournament.