- The Washington Times - Friday, October 20, 2006

AFGHANISTAN

8 civilians working for U.S. military killed

KABUL — Gunmen ambushed a car carrying Afghan civilians working on a remote U.S. military base in eastern Afghanistan and killed eight of them execution-style, a police official said yesterday.

The killings came as a statement, purportedly from fugitive Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar, urged militants to step up attacks on Afghan and foreign troops. It told NATO to leave Afghanistan, saying the alliance was “losing their soldiers only for America.”

The victims, who worked for the U.S. military as laborers in the mountainous Korangal area of Kunar province, were killed Thursday while driving home from work, said Abdul Saboor, Kunar’s deputy police chief.

PAKISTAN

Blast in market kills 7 in Peshawar

PESHAWAR — A bomb left in a fruit cart exploded in a crowded market yesterday in northwestern Pakistan, killing at least seven persons and wounding dozens, police said.

The explosion occurred in a downtown district of Peshawar about 10 minutes before iftar, the time for breaking the daily fast during the holy Islamic month of Ramadan, police said.

Nobody claimed responsibility for the attack.

SRI LANKA

Navy destroys rebel boats, killing 20

COLOMBO — Sri Lanka’s navy destroyed two Tamil rebel boats yesterday, killing at least 20 insurgents, after the guerrillas launched an attack that triggered a fierce gunbattle in the volatile north, the military said.

Navy patrol boats intercepted about 15 rebel boats off the village of Nagarkovil on the Jaffna Peninsula, setting off a battle that lasted about 90 minutes, a Defense Ministry spokesman said. Two boats were destroyed by naval attacks, and the other rebel boats fled.

The attack came as Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher ended a two-day visit to the island, and urged the government and the rebels to end their fighting and take a step toward finding a solution when they resume talks in Switzerland starting Oct. 28.

PAKISTAN

Government defers Briton’s hanging

ISLAMABAD — The Pakistan government will order a two-month stay of execution for a Briton due to be hanged on Nov. 1 to give time to work out a way to spare his life, officials said.

Mirza Tahir Hussain, 36, from Leeds in northern England, was convicted of killing a taxi driver 18 years ago, and has spent half his life in jail.

Hussain has been on death row since June, but the government has stayed his execution from month to month to give his relatives more time to persuade the victim’s family to pardon him in return for compensation.

INDIA

Orphanage expels 2 HIV-positive boys

AHMEDABAD — Two HIV-positive boys have been forced to leave an orphanage in India’s Gujarat state after staff members said they posed an unacceptable risk to the safety of other children, an official said yesterday.

“I am sad and sorry for them. Children play, eat and fight; we cannot take chances, others can get infected,” V. Vachonidhi, secretary of an orphanage run by Arya Samaj, a Hindu reform movement, told Reuters news agency.

The boys, ages 6 and 9, are now with relatives after leaving the home in the town of Kutch, 280 miles west of the state’s main city, Ahmedabad, where they had lived for four years with about 150 other children.

Staff members could not say what had happened to the boys’ parents or how they had become infected with the HIV virus.

India has the world’s highest national HIV/AIDS caseload with 5.7 million infected people.

BANGLADESH

Wild elephants kill 5 in family

DHAKA — A herd of wild elephants rampaged through a village in southeastern Bangladesh early Thursday, killing five members of one family, including two children, police said.

The victims were asleep in their thatched hut when the elephants trampled them to death at Bashkhali village in Chittagong district, police said.

A herd of about 12 elephants had been foraging in a nearby forest when they approached the village, 136 miles southeast of the capital of Dhaka, and destroyed more than a dozen huts.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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