- - Tuesday, August 24, 2010

AFGHANISTAN

35 Taliban killed in vote preparation

KABUL | Afghan and NATO-led troops have killed about 35 Taliban insurgents in offensives in eastern Afghanistan this week as part of efforts to secure next month’s parliamentary elections, coalition forces said Tuesday.

Meanwhile, NATO said one American was killed Tuesday in fighting in southern Afghanistan where the insurgency is heavily entrenched.

“The joint force has killed more than 35 Taliban fighters and captured several key Taliban facilitators in recent days,” the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said in a statement. It earlier gave a figure of 40 dead.

ISAF said the ongoing operation, which began Saturday and involves airstrikes, had uncovered arms and vests for use in suicide attacks.

Afghanistan is set to hold a parliamentary election on Sept. 18, but officials have said that more than 900 polling centers, or about 13 percent of the total, will not open because of security concerns. At least three candidates have been killed in suspected insurgent attacks.

LEBANON

Telecom worker eyed as Israeli spy

BEIRUT | Lebanese police probing an Israeli spy ring are quizzing an employee of the Telecommunications Ministry, more than two weeks after another staff member was charged with spying for Mossad, a security source said Tuesday.

“An employee at the Ministry of Telecommunications is currently under interrogation by the police intelligence unit on suspicion of spying for Israel,” the source told Agence France-Presse.

The interrogation began “recently,” said the source, speaking on the condition of anonymity. He declined to give further details.

Earlier this month, a military prosecutor charged the head of international communications at the ministry, Milad Eid, with spying for Israel’s Mossad intelligence services.

Mr. Eid, who was arrested in mid-July, was charged on Aug. 7 with providing the Israelis with “technical information,” a judicial official said at the time.

More than 100 people have been arrested on suspicion of espionage since April 2009, including telecom employees, members of the security forces and active-duty troops.

Story Continues →