- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 14, 2006

AFGHANISTAN

U.S. soldier killed, two others wounded

KANDAHAR — An American soldier was killed and at least two others wounded when coalition troops came under three separate attacks in southern Afghanistan yesterday, the coalition said.

The soldier was killed in volatile Helmand province in a battle in which strike aircraft, including British Harriers, were called in to assist, coalition spokesman Maj. Quentin Innes said.

Battle damage, including other casualties, was still being assessed, but four vehicles had been damaged, three set on fire, Maj. Innes said.

Earlier in the day, two U.S. patrols were attacked in separate ambushes in neighboring Zabul province. Two coalition soldiers were wounded in one of the attacks.

SOMALIA

Warlord defects to Islamic radicals

MOGADISHU —Somalia’s warlords alliance was dealt a swift series of major blows late yesterday when a powerful member defected to the Islamists who seized the capital last week and three others were forced on the run again by the approach of enemy gunmen.

Warlord Abdi Hassan Awale Qeidid, who said he was switching camps in order to end bloodshed in the bullet-riddled capital, defected shortly after seven East African nations slapped sanctions on members of the U.S.-backed alliance.

Mr. Qeidid said he crossed over from the Alliance for the Restoration of Peace and Counter-Terrorism (ARPCT) to the Joint Islamic Courts on advice of his elders from his Sa’ad subclan.

“I am no longer a member of the ARPCT and I quit that alliance immediately,” he said.

His abrupt exit leaves warlords Musa Sudi Yalahow, Bashir Raghe Shirar and Omar Muhamoud Finnish as the only faction chiefs still holed up in northern Mogadishu under the pro-tection of their powerful Abgal subclan and still vowing to fight on.

MONTENEGRO

U.S. recognizes independence

The United States yesterday recognized the independence of Montenegro, helping cement the international community’s acceptance of a referendum last month in favor of its breakaway from a union with Serbia.

The European Union and Russia also have recognized the tiny Balkan republic’s independence.

The move is largely a formality after Montenegro voted in a referendum May 21 by more than the required 55 percent for independence, completing the breakup of the former Yugoslavia.

LIBERIA

U.N. eases arms embargo

NEW YORK — The U.N. Security Council yesterday eased its ban on weapons sales to Liberia to enable President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf to arm police and security forces.

A resolution adopted unanimously by the 15-nation council exempted from the embargo all security and police officers trained since 2003 as well as members of Mrs. Johnson-Sirleaf’s security detail.

Separate U.N. embargoes on Liberian diamond and timber exports were not affected despite a plea from Mrs. Johnson-Sirleaf that they be lifted.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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