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Authorities foil plot to kill president

KABUL | Afghan intelligence officials said they have foiled an assassination attempt on President Hamid Karzai, arresting six people in Kabul who they say are affiliated with al Qaeda and the Haqqani Network militant group.

Intelligence service spokesman Latifullah Mashal said Wednesday that those arrested included one of Mr. Karzai’s bodyguards, three college students and a university professor.

He said the group was recruited by two Arab nationals based in Pakistan.

Afghan officials have been increasingly vocal in publicly accusing Pakistan and its spy agency of supporting militants. On Tuesday, they claimed that Pakistani officials had advance knowledge of the Sept. 20 assassination of former Afghan President Burhanuddin Rabbani.

Pakistan has denied the charges.


Ruler pledges military will cede power

CAIRO | Egypt’s military ruler vowed Thursday not to step down until the council of generals he heads has “fulfilled its commitments,” adding that the military does not benefit from prolonging its hold on power.

Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi’s comments appeared designed to debunk claims by some politicians that he and the generals of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces have no intention of handing over power to a democratic government as they promised when they took over from President Hosni Mubarak, toppled nearly eight months ago.

“We will not abandon Egypt before we finish what we pledged to do and committed ourselves to before the people,” Field Marshal Tantawi told reporters in comments shown on state television and carried by the country’s official news agency. “The military council has no interest in staying [in power] for a long time.”

“Given the chance, the military council will step down tomorrow,” he said.

Many activists in the youth groups that engineered the Egyptian uprising have accused Field Marshal Tantawi, Mr. Mubarak’s defense minister for 20 years, of being slow in dismantling the legacy of his former patron’s 29-year rule and of not doing enough to stop the torture of detainees by the military.


Lawmakers extend mandate for Iraq strikes on Kurds

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