- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 14, 2006


4 U.S. troops killed in bomb attack

KABUL — A bomb killed four U.S. troops in an armored vehicle yesterday in a volatile mountainous region in Afghanistan.

Officials also said five Afghan members of a U.S.-backed militia were killed in a firefight in the southern province of Helmand.

The American troops were patrolling with Afghan soldiers along a valley road in Uruzgan province’s Dihrawud district, a hotbed of the insurgency, when the bomb exploded and they were attacked by militants firing rifles and rocket-propelled grenades, the U.S. military said.

The bombing raised the death toll of U.S. personnel in the Afghan conflict to 214 since the U.S. invaded the country in late 2001. The blast was the biggest loss of life for the U.S. military since late September, when five troops were killed in a helicopter crash.


2 ministers quit in corruption scams

NAIROBI — Two Kenyan ministers quit yesterday after being linked to corruption scandals that have shaken President Mwai Kibaki’s government and angered foreign donors to the East African nation.

Mr. Kibaki said he had accepted the resignation of Education Minister George Saitoti and Energy Minister Kiraitu Murungi to pave the way for investigations into two graft scandals.

The recent resignation of his finance minister and the dismissal yesterday of his personal assistant mean the president has lost four key allies this month in one of Africa’s biggest corruption scandals of recent times.


Doctor once linked to al Qaeda killed

LAHORE — A Pakistani doctor once detained on suspicion of links to al Qaeda was fatally shot yesterday, sparking a protest by hundreds of Islamists, police said.

Ahmed Javed Khawaja was walking to his clinic in the eastern city of Lahore when he was shot by a gunman riding on the back of a motorcycle, police said.

Dr. Khawaja, then 65, was arrested in late 2002 on suspicion of having links to al Qaeda. Charges against him were dropped later and he was released in June 2003.


Ex-prime minister released from prison

KATMANDU — Jailed former Nepalese Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba was freed from prison yesterday after the Supreme Court dissolved the anti-graft panel that jailed him, a relative and party officials said.

The Royal Commission for Corruption Control, formed last year after King Gyanendra dismissed Mr. Deuba and assumed absolute power, had jailed Mr. Deuba after accusing him of embezzling $5.3 million in awarding a contract to supply drinking water to Katmandu.


Judge withdraws from Zuma rape trial

JOHANNESBURG — The judge presiding over the rape trial of former Deputy President Jacob Zuma withdrew before it could begin yesterday.

President Thabo Mbeki fired Mr. Zuma in June after he was implicated in a bribery scandal over accusations he received kickbacks from an arms company.

In a preliminary hearing before the scheduled opening of the trial yesterday, Mr. Zuma’s attorney asked Judge Bernard Ngoepe to step aside because he had issued search warrants for Mr. Zuma’s house, the offices of his attorneys and other premises in an unrelated corruption case.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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