- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 29, 2004

AFGHANISTAN

Taliban leader killed, 22 fighters nabbed

KABUL — U.S. and Afghan troops killed a Taliban commander and detained 22 suspected Taliban fighters during a major search operation after a gunbattle in a southern Afghanistan mountain range, officials said yesterday.

A renegade warlord also was taken into custody weeks after a clash with a powerful rival in the west of the country, as authorities struggle to improve security for October elections.

Mullah Rozi Khan, a Taliban commander in Zabul province, was killed after troops surrounded a group of rebels in Ghazoi village Friday evening, said Asadullah Khan, governor of neighboring Ghazni province.

SUDAN

Arabs continue attacking Africans

AL-FASHER — Security has improved in camps in Sudan’s violence-torn Darfur region, but displaced villagers still face attacks and abuse when they leave their camps, a U.N. team said yesterday as it completed a mission that could determine whether Sudan deserves international sanctions.

Darfur rebels, meanwhile, said government forces and Arab militiamen continue to bomb and torch villages and kill civilians — with attacks on six villages in the past three days, including one that killed 64 persons. The rebels said they would hold a 24-hour boycott of peace talks with the Sudanese government to protest.

More than 1 million black African villagers have been driven from their homes by the Arab militiamen known as the Janjaweed, said to have support from the government, and many of the villagers are in 147 camps scattered across Darfur, a region the size of France.

IRAN

Nuclear program to continue

TEHRAN — Iran said yesterday it would continue its nuclear program but provide “guarantees” not to build atomic weapons, and it warned the U.S. government that it cannot stabilize neighboring Iraq and Afghanistan without Tehran’s help.

In a wide-ranging press conference, Iranian President Mohammad Khatami said the wall of mistrust between Tehran and Washington had become thicker during the Bush administration, adding he hoped American casualties in Iraq would affect U.S. public opinion before the November election.

Washington claims the Iranian nuclear program is aimed at building atomic weapons, but Tehran says it is directed at generating electricity.

EQUATORIAL GUINEA

International warrant sought for Thatcher

MALABO — Equatorial Guinea has requested international arrest warrants for Mark Thatcher, son of the former British prime minister, and other British financiers accused in an purported coup plot in this tiny oil-rich nation, the deputy prime minister said yesterday.

The warrants are necessary before extradition can be sought, but Deputy Prime Minister Ricardo Mangue Obama Nfube said Equatorial Guinea was still studying whether to seek the handover of Mr. Thatcher, who was arrested Wednesday in South Africa.

Mr. Nfube told reporters in the capital, Malabo, that Equatorial Guinea had asked for “international arrest warrants for all responsible in this coup d’etat.”

PAKISTAN

New prime minister sworn into office

ISLAMABAD — A former finance minister and close ally of President Pervez Musharraf was sworn in as Pakistan’s prime minister yesterday, a day after parliament elected him and despite an opposition boycott.

Standing beside Gen. Musharraf at the presidential palace in Islamabad, Shaukat Aziz took the oath of office in front of senior government and military officials and lawmakers. He was due to face a vote of confidence in parliament that was considered a formality.

Mr. Aziz, 55, is a banker who worked for 30 years as a Citibank executive before becoming finance minister when Gen. Musharraf took power in a bloodless coup in 1999.

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