- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 9, 2007

AFGHANISTAN

Most bombers from Pakistan, U.N. says

KABUL — More than 80 percent of suicide bombers in Afghanistan are recruited and trained in neighboring Pakistan, the United Nations said in a report, released today, that showed attacks running at record levels this year.

Most of the suicide bombers carrying out attacks are poor, young and uneducated, and many are Afghan nationals, according to the report, which is based on interviews with failed attackers, other militants and security officials.

The report also stressed the role of refugee camps and Islamic schools in the tribal areas of northwestern Pakistan in the recruitment and training of the bombers.

Pakistan, which has also experienced a recent surge in suicide attacks, concedes that Taliban fighters have sought refuge on its side of the border and deployed tens of thousands of troops there to try and uproot them.

SIERRA LEONE

Foul play claimed in runoff vote

FREETOWN — Thousands went to the polls yesterday in a presidential runoff dogged by claims of foul play in this West African country recovering from a brutal civil war.

Outgoing Vice President Solomon Berewa, 69, faces a tight race against 53-year-old opposition leader Ernest Koroma. Both candidates complained yesterday that their party workers were harassed.

Election monitors said the second round of voting was more orderly than an inconclusive first ballot held almost a month ago. Mr. Berewa won 38.3 percent of the vote in the first round and Mr. Koroma of All People’s Congress 44.3 percent.

MOROCCO

Conservatives win most seats

RABAT — Morocco’s conservative Istiqlal party, a member of the kingdom’s ruling coalition, won most seats in parliamentary elections that opposition Islamists said were skewed by vote buying.

Provisional results showed Istiqlal (Independence) won 52 seats, ahead of the Islamist Justice and Development party (PJD) with 47 seats, Interior Minister Chakib Benmoussa said late yesterday.

The PJD had been widely tipped to perform well and had aimed to become the biggest party in parliament, but scaled back its ambitions after polling closed Friday, accusing its opponents of foul play.

ST. LUCIA

Prime minister dies at 82

CASTRIES — Prime Minister John Compton, who guided his tiny Caribbean island to independence from Britain and infuriated China by restoring ties with Taiwan, has died, Commerce Minister Guy Mayers said. He was 82.

Mr. Compton, a three-time leader of St. Lucia who became prime minister most recently in December, suffered a series of mild strokes in late April. He died Friday.

The farmer and attorney became chief minister of the then-colony in 1964, negotiated for more autonomy from Britain three years later and became the first prime minister upon independence in 1979.

AFGHANISTAN

Apology demanded for ball ‘insult’

KABUL — Afghanistan’s parliament yesterday demanded that U.S.-led forces apologize for distributing soccer balls that carried Koranic verses in an insult to Islam.

The U.S.-led military coalition late last month dropped toys, including soccer balls, into the eastern province of Khost as part of a goodwill gesture aimed at winning over support from the local population. The balls showed the flags of several nations, including the Saudi standard, which bears the Koranic verses.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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