- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 18, 2006


Taliban take control of towns in south

KABUL — Afghan officials said yesterday that Taliban forces have taken over two towns in the southern part of the country from local forces, and coalition troops said they were investigating the reports.

One coalition soldier was killed and 11 were wounded in separate fighting, the U.S. military said.

Scores of Taliban fighters on Sunday entered the southern Helmand town of Garmser, bordering Pakistan, and surrounded a police compound, forcing a small security force to flee and then taking control of the area, a local government official said.

The official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of policy, said Taliban forces were now “moving freely” around the town and the district of the same name.


Islamists banned under new terror law

LONDON — Britain yesterday banned two Islamist groups operating in the country, invoking for the first time a new law against glorifying terrorism.

Home Secretary John Reid issued an order in Parliament to make it a criminal offense for a person to belong to or encourage support for al Ghurabaa and the Saved Sect.

Both groups are thought to be splinters of al Muhajiroon, formed in 1996 by Omar Bakri Mohammad to promote a global Islamic state. The group was officially disbanded in 2004, and the founder has been banned from returning to Britain.


Lawmaker’s killers sentenced to death

BISHKEK — Two Kyrgyz men charged with killing a parliamentarian have been sentenced to death, the general prosecutor’s office said.

But the penalty will not be implemented because Kyrgyzstan has a moratorium on executions, officials said. Instead, Makhmudzhan Ruzimetov and Sabyrkul Batyrov will be put on death row indefinitely.

Parliamentarian Bayaman Erkinbayev was shot in the center of the capital Bishkek in September. The killing highlighted the Central Asian state’s continued volatility after a “people’s revolution” ousted veteran leader Askar Akayev.


Court OKs ‘pedophile’ party

THE HAGUE — A Dutch court refused yesterday to ban a political party whose main goal is to lower the age of sexual consent from 16 to 12. The judge said it was the voters’ right to judge the appeal of political parties.

The party has only three known members, one of whom was convicted of molesting an 11-year-old boy in 1987. Widely dubbed the “pedophile” party, it is unlikely to win a seat in parliament. The group would need about 60,000 votes, and pollsters estimate that it would get fewer than 1,000.

Opponents had asked The Hague District Court to bar the party from registering for national elections in November, arguing that children have the right not to be confronted with the party’s platform.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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