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Briefly: 10 killed in attack on government Afghan base

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AFGHANISTAN

KABUL — Gunmen attacked an outpost of a government-sponsored militia and killed 10 members of the security force in western Afghanistan, officials said Thursday.

The Taliban are targeting Afghan and NATO security forces as they fight to assert their power and undermine U.S. efforts to try to build up the Afghan military, which will take the lead in combat responsibility over the next couple of years.

In other violence, a suicide bomber struck a bazaar in a northeastern district Thursday, killing two people and wounding 16 others.

The attacks appear to be part of an increase in violence at the beginning of the spring fighting season.

INDONESIA

Bali bombing survivors testify at trial

JAKARTA — Four foreign victims of the 2002 Bali bombings testified Thursday in the trial of an Indonesian militant accused of helping to build the massive car bomb used in the terrorist attack.

Australians Jason McCartney, Peter Hughes and Stuart Anstee and American Steven William Cabler told an Indonesian court how explosives carried in a backpack and a van destroyed two packed nightclubs.

The attack was Asia's most deadly terrorist strike and killed 202 people, including 88 Australians and seven Americans.

Umar Patek, 45, a leading member of the al Qaeda-linked network Jemaah Islamiyah, was arrested last year in Pakistan. He is the last key suspect to be tried in the Bali bombings and faces a possible death penalty.

NORTH KOREA

Officials open nation's biggest power station

HUICHON CITY— North Korea on Thursday unveiled one of its biggest construction projects in recent years: a massive hydroelectric power station that is expected to provide the nation with much-needed electricity.

The opening of the Huichon Power Station in Jagang Province, north of Pyongyang, was the first big ceremony in a month of celebrations timed for the April centenary of the birth of late founder Kim Il-sung.

PAKISTAN

Suicide bomber kills 4 in attack on police

ISLAMABAD — A Taliban suicide bomber detonated his explosives near a vehicle carrying a senior police official in a southern Pakistani port city Thursday, killing four people, officials said.

Nine people were wounded in the attack in the Malir area of Karachi, said Manzoor Wasan, the home minister of surrounding Sindh province.

The target of the bombing, Malir police Chief Rao Anwar, was unharmed, he said. Chief Anwar had been receiving threats from militants.

Pakistani Taliban spokesman Ahsanullah Ahsan claimed responsibility for the attack in a phone call to the Associated Press.

KAZAKHSTAN

'Allah' vodka pulled from retailers' shelves

ALMATY — Kazakh authorities say a new vodka brand that uses the word "Allah" on its bottles is being withdrawn from circulation after protests from outraged Muslims.

Officials in the northwestern city of Semey said Thursday that the local distributor of Baiterek vodka insists it has no reserve stocks.

Islam strictly forbids drinking alcohol. The use of the Arabic word for God in a decorative motif on the bottle incensed believers in several Kazakh towns. The motif reads "Allah's Strength Is Enough For Everybody."

Local media say makers of the liquor have apologized for the blasphemy, saying it was unaware as nobody in the company could read Arabic script.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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