- The Washington Times - Friday, December 29, 2006

AFGHANISTAN

Taliban chief vows to oust foreign troops

KABUL — Fugitive Taliban chief Mullah Mohammed Omar pledged to drive foreign troops out of Afghanistan in a statement issued yesterday as NATO and Afghan forces killed more than 12 of his fighters in the volatile south.

The purported message from Omar urged the Taliban to sacrifice their lives and “never submit or accept defeat.”

“The enemy will have to quit the region with humiliation and disgrace,” said the statement, timed for the Muslim religious festival of Eid al-Adha.

The Taliban this year stepped up its attacks, particularly in southern Afghanistan, where its fighters have been waging fierce battles with Western and Afghan forces. About 4,000 people, mostly militants, have died in 2006, the bloodiest period in Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban regime five years ago.

NEPAL

Prime minister seeks curb on his power

KATMANDU — Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala yesterday said an interim constitution, finalized this month, needs to be amended because it gives unlimited power to the prime minister. The new charter paving the way for rebels to join the government transfers King Gyanendra’s powers as head of the state to the prime minister.

“Since the interim constitution has made the prime minister all-powerful, there is a danger that he can act as a dictator, so it needs to be amended,” Mr. Koirala told reporters at his hometown in Biratnagar, 342 miles east of Katmandu.

“There should be the balance of power by defining the authority of the legislature, the executive and the judiciary bodies,” he said. “All powers should not be limited to a single person.”

The prime minister also said that his Nepali Congress party, the largest in the coalition government, favors a “ceremonial monarchy” and that the king’s fate would be “decided by people through constituent assembly elections.”

INDIA

Suspected child-killer arrested near capital

NEW DELHI — A suspected serial child-killer was arrested by police yesterday after the discovery of the bodies of six children in a satellite city of New Delhi. The suspect appeared to be a mentally-ill man who confessed to police he had lured the children with chocolates, other candies and toys, senior Noida police official R.K.S. Rathore told reporters.

“He says he kidnapped the children for sex,” Officer Rathore said, adding that police were still questioning the man. Residents called police after they detected an odor emanating from a house in Noida.

Police said skeletons and body parts of the six victims — between 6 and 12 years old — were found hidden in a bag in a multi-story house in Noida, a hub for global software giants.

Weekly notes …

The Awami League of Bangladesh opposition leader Sheik Hasina Wajed announced yesterday more nationwide protests next month to force the president to step down as head of the country’s interim government. Mrs. Wajed said the party would bring the country to a standstill with a nationwide transportation blockade next week unless President Iajuddin Ahmed resigns. … He swept all before him and subjugated much of the known world, but nearly 800 years after his death, Genghis Khan is embroiled in another war as China attempts to adopt the Mongol king as its own national hero. In stark contrast to the view of Mao Zedong, who insisted Genghis was only fit to fire arrows at birds, communist officials and historians now say he represents the essence of new China — a unifying force for a land of many ethnic minorities.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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