- - Wednesday, September 14, 2011

AFGHANISTAN

Afghan capital assault leaves 27 dead

KABUL | The 20-hour insurgent assault on the heavily guarded Afghan capital left 27 dead - including police, civilians and insurgents - when fighting finally ended Wednesday morning, officials said.

The sophistication and vehemence of the attack, in which insurgents fired rockets into the U.S. Embassy compound from a nearby unfinished high-rise, raised fresh doubts about the Afghans’ ability to secure their nation as U.S. and other foreign troops begin to withdraw.

Afghan forces have nominally been in control of security in the capital since 2008 but still depend heavily on foreign forces to help protect the city - and it took heavy involvement by U.S. and NATO forces to rout the latest attackers.

Spectacular attacks in the supposedly well-protected capital have become more common. This week’s strike was the third deadly attack in Kabul since late June.

The Taliban took responsibility for the assault. But Kabul’s deputy police chief said it was likely the Pakistan-based Haqqani Network carried it on behalf of the extremist group.

U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker also blamed the Haqqanis, who have emerged as one of the biggest threats to Afghanistan’s stability, working from safe areas across the border in Pakistan’s tribal region.

SPAIN

Spain revives rape probe of Saudi prince

MADRID | Spain has reopened a rape probe of a Saudi prince who is one of the world’s richest people, looking again at allegations he drugged and sexually assaulted a young model on a yacht on the Mediterranean island of Ibiza, according to court papers.

The alleged assault by Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, 56, reportedly took place on Aug. 13, 2008. An investigating magistrate on the popular resort island closed the case last year on grounds of insufficient evidence.

However, a higher provincial court in the Balearic Islands, which include Ibiza, accepted an appeal by the plaintiff and issued an order this year instructing the same magistrate to resume the probe and question the prince as a suspect.

A copy of the order was obtained Wednesday by the Associated Press.

The order said the investigating judge, Carmen Martin Montero, had not questioned Prince Alwaleed in her initial probe. It said tests done by a forensic lab that answers to the Spanish Justice Ministry had found semen in the woman, then 20, and traces of a sedative called nordazepam.

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