- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 8, 2009

PAKISTAN

Drone reported down; 3 bombs kill 15

ISLAMABAD | Three separate bombings killed 15 people in northwestern Pakistan on Saturday, while authorities investigated reports that a pilotless U.S. drone crashed elsewhere in the militant-plagued region bordering Afghanistan.

The U.S. has used drones to fire missile strikes against militants in the area. The reports of the drone crash came from Angoor Ada village in South Waziristan, a tribal region where the main Pakistani Taliban leader, Baitullah Mehsud, is based.

In the Khyber tribal region, a suicide bomber killed four people and wounded five at a mosque that served as a headquarters for the militant group Ansarul Islam. A roadside bomb in the town of Darra Adam Khel killed three civilians and wounded four troops.

A car bomb in the Badaber area killed a civilian and seven police officers. The officers were lured to the car before it was detonated by reports of a dead body inside the parked vehicle.

AFGHANISTAN

Karzai suggests extending his term

KABUL | President Hamid Karzai said Saturday that he accepts the decision by Afghanistan’s election commission to hold a presidential vote Aug. 20 and suggested he should retain power during a three-month gap between his term’s expiration and the late-summer election.

An opposition leader said parliament won’t accept Mr. Karzai as president after May 21, and warned that an extension of Mr. Karzai’s term could trigger nationwide demonstrations.

But no political leaders have offered any generally accepted solution to the looming constitutional showdown, and Mr. Karzai argued on Saturday that his term should be extended because the election is being pushed back.

According to the Afghan Constitution, elections should be held before Mr. Karzai’s last day as president on May 21. But the election commission has said the vote should be held in August because of security issues, spring snow cover, and a lack of money to distribute ballots.

ZIMBABWE

Party seeks probe of Tsvangirai crash

HARARE | The prime minister’s party on Saturday called for an investigation into the car crash that injured Morgan Tsvangirai and killed his wife, but warned Zimbabweans not to jump to conclusions about the cause.

“We cannot talk of foul play … until it has been proved what has really transpired,” said Tendai Biti, Mr. Tsvangirai’s No. 2 in the Movement for Democratic Change party and the country’s new finance minister.

Meanwhile, Mr. Tsvangirai left the hospital Saturday evening with a baseball cap pulled over his bandaged head. His spokesman, James Maridadi, said Mr. Tsvangirai was discharged and going home.

NORTHERN IRELAND

2 British troops slain in ambush

BELFAST | Gunmen struck at a British army base in one of Northern Ireland’s worst attacks in years on Saturday, killing two military personnel and seriously wounding four people, police said.

Media reports said the attackers carried out the raid posing as pizza deliverymen.

A 1998 peace deal ended 30 years of sectarian conflict in Northern Ireland involving the Irish Republican Army, which sought a united Ireland and drew support from the minority Roman Catholic community, and pro-British Protestant guerrilla groups.

British troops stood down in the province in 2007, but sporadic violence has continued despite the peace deal.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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