- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 22, 2009

FORWARD OPERATING BASE AIRBORNE, AFGHANISTAN (AP) - The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is in Afghanistan to review a new community militia program.

Adm. Mike Mullen says the early reviews for the new community defense program are positive. The program is sometimes referred to as a private militia program.

Mullen is visiting Wardak province, which neighbors Kabul and serves as a gateway to the nation’s capital. Troops from the 10th Mountain Division moved into Wardak in January to battle the increasing militant activity there.

Mullen arrived in Afghanistan early Wednesday on an unannounced visit. He told The Associated Press that Wardak is “clearly critical for the future of Afghanistan and it is also critical for the security of Kabul.”

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

KABUL (AP) _ International and Afghan troops killed one insurgent and detained six other suspects Wednesday in eastern Afghanistan, U.S. forces said.

The combined force was searching residential compounds in Kunar province when a man armed with an assault rifle refused to surrender and threatened the troops, the U.S. said in a statement.

He was killed and six men with suspected ties to al-Qaida were captured, the statement said.

The incident occurred in Pech district, northeast of the provincial capital of Jalalabad. The statement said the troops were searching the compounds for a “key enabler” of al-Qaida operatives in the province. It did not say if the target was killed or captured.

Meanwhile, the Interior Ministry said a civilian truck driver was shot and killed by militants in Ghazni province Tuesday. The victim was transporting commercial merchandise and resisted attempts by the militants to loot his vehicle, the ministry said.

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