KABUL, Afghanistan -- A wave of attacks killed six U.S. troops and at least a dozen civilians Saturday in Afghanistan's volatile south and east, as American reinforcements moving into Taliban-dominated areas face up to the fierce resistance they expected.
Increased U.S.-led military operations in the southern province of Kandahar are aimed at trying to break the Taliban's grip where they are strongest by delivering security and government services to win over Afghan people.
The hope is that once the tide begins to turn, more control can be handed to Afghan forces without fear that the Taliban might again seize power, bring back its harsh interpretation of Islamic law and resume sheltering al-Qaida terrorist leaders. Then U.S. troops could begin withdrawing in July 2011, in line with a timeline set by President Barack Obama.
Baghdad kills 58,000 dogs in 3-month span
BAGHDAD -- Teams of veterinarians and police shooters have killed some 58,000 stray dogs in and around the Iraqi capital over the past three months as part of a campaign to curb an increasing number of strays blamed for attacks on residents.
The Baghdad provincial government said in a statement released Sunday that 20 teams have been moving around Baghdad and the outer-lying districts daily looking for and putting down the dogs. The operation, which was first announced in late 2008, only truly took off this April after funds were allocated for the project.
The surge in strays -- estimated by provincial officials to number around 1.25 million -- is ironically linked to what officials said is an improvement in some elements of daily life in Baghdad, a city that for seven years has been struggling to return to normalcy after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion to topple Saddam Hussein.
Iran to review stoning verdict
TEHRAN, Iran -- The lawyer for an Iranian widow sentenced to be stoned to death for an adultery conviction expressed cautious optimism Saturday after Iran said it will review the decision, which has drawn international condemnation.
Human rights activists and other officials, however, warned that Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, a 43-year-old mother of two, could still be hanged.
The outcry over the death sentence is the latest thorn in Iran's relationship with the international community, with the United States, Britain and international human rights groups urging Tehran to stay the execution.
British media reported late Thursday that the stoning would not occur, citing the Iranian embassy in London.