- - Tuesday, October 9, 2012

BRUSSELS — The killings of more than 130 U.S. and allied forces by Afghan troops or those dressed like them is not deterring NATO countries from the war in Afghanistan, two senior U.S. defense officials said Tuesday.

As NATO defense ministers gather this week, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan will tell worried allies Wednesday what the U.S. is doing to stop the escalating insider attacks.

The officials told reporters that so far NATO ministers attending the conference here have not used the meeting to threaten any additional withdrawals of troops or to seek to limit the combat use of their forces as a result of the attacks.

U.S. officials, including Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta, are expected to assure the ministers that commanders have come up with a range of ways to reduce the attacks.

And they will insist that while the Taliban has seized on the attacks as a way to derail the fight and the trust between allied and Afghan forces, it is not yet a threat to the war strategy.

MEXICO

Official: Gunmen stole Zetas leader’s body

MEXICO CITY — Mexican marines gunned down one of Mexico’s most feared drug lords outside a baseball game near the Texas border, then handed over the body to local authorities in a town where it was snatched by armed men in a predawn raid on a funeral home, officials said Tuesday.

The theft of the body believed to be Zetas founding member Heriberto Lazcano adds a bizarre and embarrassing twist to one of the most significant victories in Mexico’s militarized battle with organized crime. In two months, the man who sharply expanded it, President Felipe Calderon, leaves office.

Officials said that, with the body missing, the remaining evidence of Lazcano’s fall consists of three fingerprints and a few photos of the army special forces deserter whose brutal paramilitary tactics helped define the devastating six-year war involving Mexico’s drug gangs and authorities.

Mr. Calderon said in a speech Tuesday that the evidence clearly indicated that Lazcano had been killed. The president praised the marines’ action, though he stopped short of an unqualified declaration that the Zetas’ leader was dead.

RUSSIA

Shells explode at military test site

MOSCOW — A series of blasts from exploding shells rocked a Russian military test site Tuesday, breaking windows and releasing giant clouds of smoke over the city of Orenburg near the Kazakhstan border.

The emergency services said one military officer was hospitalized, but no other injury was reported.

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