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WORLD: US: No way to seal Afghan-Pakistan border

US: No way to seal Afghan-Pakistan border

WASHINGTON — There’s no practical way for U.S. troops to seal Afghanistan’s vast border with Pakistan and stop all Taliban fighters from slipping through, so they are focusing on defending vulnerable towns and fighting insurgents on Afghan soil, a U.S. military commander said Tuesday.

Army Col. Viet Luong said that ‘‘to secure the border in the traditional sense’’ would ‘‘take an inordinate amount of resources.’’ He said it also would require far more cooperation from the tribes inside Pakistan who often provide Taliban fighters safe passage.

Other senior U.S. military officials have said they hope the Pakistan military does more to shut down Taliban hideouts. But the U.S. has denied reports that American forces are pushing to expand special operations raids inside Pakistan’s tribal areas to target militants.

W. Africa heads say Gbagbo must step down

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast — West African leaders, who came to deliver an ultimatum to Laurent Gbagbo, met with him late into the night Tuesday after threatening a military ouster if he doesn’t accept an offer to go into exile a month after the disputed election.

The regional delegation led by presidents from Sierra Leone, Cape Verde and Benin held meetings with both Gbagbo and internationally recognized winner Alassane Ouattara, then returned to meet with Gbagbo a second time late Tuesday.

Gbagbo, the incumbent leader who has been in power for a decade in Ivory Coast, has so far shown no interest in stepping aside despite the calls for him to go.

Last officer in Mexican border town missing

CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico — The last remaining police officer in the Mexican border town of Guadalupe has disappeared, and prosecutors in northern Chihuahua state said Tuesday they have started a search for her.

Twenty-eight-year-old officer Ericka Gandara held out despite the desertions and resignations that left her as the only officer in the Juarez Valley town, which was served by eight police a year ago.

But Gandara hasn’t been seen since Dec. 23. Sandoval said the search was started Monday as a missing-person case.