- - Wednesday, December 22, 2010

TURKEY

Summit lets Turkey flex diplomatic muscles

ISTANBUL | Turkey, a stable and fast-growing economy, hosts leaders from Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Central Asian states at an economic summit on Thursday that illustrates Ankara’s growing regional influence.

Plagued by conflict but blessed with vast oil and gas reserves, the Eurasian region has seen its geopolitical significance increase.


The summit of the 10-member Economic Cooperation Organization is expected to produce few concrete results, but its significance lies in the attendance of some of the region’s high-profile political leaders.

The meeting, which will be attended by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, demonstrates Turkey’s ability to network in a region where world powers struggle for trust.

AFGHANISTAN

Medicines for soldiers disappear from stockpiles

KABUL | U.S.-donated medicines and pharmaceutical supplies meant to keep the new Afghan army and police healthy have been disappearing before reaching Afghan military hospitals and clinics, and the government said it is removing the army’s top medical officer from his post as part of an investigation into alleged corruption.

Afghan Defense Minister Gen. Abdul Rahim Wardak told the Associated Press that Surgeon General Ahmad Zia Yaftali was being removed from his post as part of the inquiry.

Three officials from the country’s top medical facility, Dawood National Military Hospital in Kabul, have been fired, he said.

It’s unclear just how much has gone missing of the $42 million worth of medical goods the U.S. has donated this year, and whether any Afghan soldiers have died as a result. U.S. officials say they do not account for the supplies after delivering them to the Afghans.

UNITED STATES

CIA to assess WikiLeaks damage

A CIA task force is to assess damage done by the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks’ mass release of classified U.S. documents, an official said Wednesday.

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