- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 9, 2006

AFGHANISTAN

U.S. air strikes kill 4 Taliban militants

KABUL — U.S. air strikes on a cave complex near Afghanistan’s border with Pakistan yesterday killed four Taliban militants and destroyed a truck loaded with rockets, the U.S. military said.

Military officials in Pakistan at first said that helicopters fired missiles into Pakistani territory, and officials opened an investigation into whether U.S. aircraft were involved.

But Maj. Gen. Shaukat Sultan, Pakistan’s top army spokesman, later said no missiles had landed in Pakistan. He did say that three Pakistani tribesmen were wounded on the Afghan side of the border.

UNITED NATIONS

U.S. abuse trials exceed 100

GENEVA — The United States has put on trial more than 100 armed forces staff accused of prisoner abuse in Afghanistan and Iraq, twice the number asserted by rights groups, a U.S. official said yesterday.

Defending U.S. policy before the U.N. Committee against Torture, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Charles Stimson said all accusations of mistreatment of detainees were investigated.

Figures provided to the committee by U.S.-based group Human Rights Watch that 54 courts-martial for prisoner abuse had been conducted, with 40 armed forces personnel jailed, “are simply wrong,” Mr. Stimson said.

TAJIKISTAN

U.S. diplomat pledges support

DUSHANBE — A senior American diplomat yesterday pledged U.S. support to impoverished Tajikistan in improving security and expanding economic opportunities and political plurality.

Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher said he discussed regional cooperation and integration and democratic development with President Emomali Rakhmonov. He said U.S. companies were considering participation in the construction of a hydroelectric power plant on the river border with Afghanistan.

GAZA STRIP

Hamas, Fatah militants clash

ABASSAN — Militants from the Hamas and Fatah movements clashed with assault rifles and shoulder-held missiles yesterday, killing three persons in the latest sign the rivals could be heading toward a large-scale confrontation.

Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas called for restraint and ordered his security chief to impose order. But tensions remained high as the sides accused each other of instigating the violence.

IRAN

Women’s access to stadiums vetoed

TEHRAN — Iran’s supreme leader has vetoed a decision by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to allow women into sports stadiums, a government official said yesterday, after the move caused a furor in the clerical establishment.

It marked the first time Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has the final word on matters of state in Iran’s system of clerical rule, has challenged government policy since Mr. Ahmadinejad’s inauguration in August.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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