U.S. troops killed targeting Taliban leader
KABUL — The 30 U.S. troops and eight Afghans who died in a helicopter crash in eastern Afghanistan were on a mission targeting a Taliban leader when an insurgent fired a rocket-propelled grenade at the chopper and shot it down, the U.S.-led coalition said Monday.
The Chinook helicopter was transporting the troops to an ongoing battle early Saturday between coalition forces and insurgents in eastern Wardak province, NATO said in a statement.
It was the deadliest single loss for U.S. forces in the decadelong war.
NATO said the operation began as a search for a Taliban leader responsible for terrorist operations in the Tangi Valley, when the ground forces saw several militants armed with rocket-propelled grenade launchers and AK-47 assault rifles and engaged them, killing some of them. They then called for assistance.
Klaus criticizes ambassadors for supporting gay-pride day
PRAGUE — President Vaclav Klaus lashed out Monday at 13 foreign ambassadors for signing a petition to support the first gay pride festival in the Czech capital, which takes place Wednesday.
Mr. Klaus said he considered the statement by the diplomats based in Prague, including U.S. Ambassador Norman Eisen, an “unprecedented step.” He added that he could not imagine any Czech ambassador would dare use a petition to influence a political discussion in any democratic country.
In their statement, the ambassadors expressed their “solidarity with the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities in the Czech Republic, supporting their right to use the occasion to march together peacefully and lawfully, in order to raise awareness of the specific issues that affect them.”
BRUSSELS — The European Union expressed concern Monday about a second visit to Chad by Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, saying he should have been arrested Sunday under an International Criminal Court warrant.