Military Chief to Step Down When His Term Ends in November 2016; India and France Sign Fighter Jet Deal; Afghan Taliban Attend International Conference in Qatar

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Chief of Army Staff Gen. Raheel Sharif, seen as Pakistan’s most powerful man, announced Monday through the military’s public relations office that he will step down from his position when his term expires in November 2016 (Reuters, Dawn). In the three years of Gen. Sharif’s tenure, the Pakistani military has dramatically increased their aerial and ground assaults on militant groups in the western part of the country. Believing an extension of his term may undermine these efforts, Gen. Sharif is quoted through Director-General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Lt.-Gen. Asim Bajwa’s Twitter saying, “Pakistan Army is a great institution. I don’t believe in extension and will retire on the due date.” This decision contrasts with both of Gen. Sharif’s predecessors, Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and Pervez Musharraf, who sought and obtained extensions to their original three-year terms.