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Kerry Headed to Bangladesh, India      08/28 11:06

   GENEVA (AP) -- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's stops in Bangladesh and 
India come amid increasing concerns about terrorism in both South Asian nations.

   After talks on Syria with Russian and U.N. officials, Kerry planned to 
depart Geneva later Sunday for meetings with Bangladeshi officials, opposition 
and civic leaders who are coping with a series of extremist attacks. The most 
recent killed 20 people, including 17 foreigners, at a popular restaurant last 
month in Dhaka, the capital.

   The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but 
authorities maintain that a local banned group, Jumatul Mujahedeen Bangladesh, 
or JMB, was behind it.

   Kerry, on his first visit to Bangladesh as secretary of state, planned to 
discuss counterterrorism cooperation, along with human rights and economic 
development. On Saturday, police said they had killed three suspected 
militants, including an alleged mastermind of the cafe attack. Attacks over the 
past two years have killed atheist bloggers, foreign aid workers and religious 
minorities.

   In India, Kerry is set to attend the seventh meeting of the U.S.-India 
strategic dialogue. Those discussions are taking place as tensions rise in the 
disputed region of Kashmir, scene of some of the largest protests against 
Indian rule in recent years. Since early July, at least 67 civilians have been 
killed and thousands injured, mostly by government forces firing bullets and 
shotguns at rock-throwing protesters. Two policemen have been killed and 
hundreds of government forces have been injured in the clashes.

   India and Pakistan control parts of the Himalayan territory and claim it in 
its entirety. U.S. officials say Kerry will continue to urge dialogue between 
India and Pakistan over the dispute, the cause of two of three wars between the 
nations.

   Many Kashmiris want an end to Indian rule and favor independence or a merger 
with Pakistan. More than 68,000 people have been killed since rebel groups 
began fighting Indian forces in 1989 and in the subsequent Indian military 
crackdown.

   Kerry, who aims to try to further boost U.S. economic ties with India on his 
two-day visit, will be accompanied by U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker 
and senior officials from 12 U.S. government agencies and institutions.


(KA)

 
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