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WORLD IN BRIEF: Afghan attacks kill 8 US troops in 24 hours

KABUL, Afghanistan -- American forces suffered a deadly 24 hours in Afghanistan, with eight troops killed in attacks including an audacious Taliban raid on a police compound in the key southern city of Kandahar, officials said Wednesday.

The U.S. and its coalition allies have warned that violence and troop casualties are likely to mount this summer as thousands of new forces fan out across southern insurgent strongholds in a bid to turn around the nearly 9-year-long war.

However, a top U.S. commander in the south said Wednesday that the new operation should start reducing violence in coming months.

Nuclear scientist says CIA agents kidnapped him

TEHRAN, Iran -- An Iranian nuclear scientist who disappeared a year ago headed back to Tehran on Wednesday, telling Iranian state media that he was abducted by CIA agents who tried to bribe him into speaking out against his homeland. The U.S. says he was a willing defector who changed his mind.

Shahram Amiri's reappearance broke into the open an often-bizarre intelligence drama. U.S. officials have dismissed accounts of a kidnapping and suggested Amiri returned home because he missed or feared for his family. But much in the case remains mysterious, including the exact circumstances of how the defection fell apart and what information, if any, he provided about Iran's controversial nuclear program.

Iraq: US hands over Tariq Aziz, other detainees

BAGHDAD -- The U.S. this week handed over nearly 30 former members of Saddam Hussein's inner circle, including the longtime international face of the regime, Tariq Aziz, officials said Wednesday.

The announcement comes a day before U.S. authorities are to transfer authority of Camp Cropper, the last American-run detention facility, to the Iraqi government.

The transfer marks a major step toward restoring full sovereignty to Iraq as the U.S. military prepares to withdraw its forces from the country by the end of next year. But it also raised concerns about the fate of Aziz and the other detainees at the hands of a government whose venom for the previous regime has not lessened in the seven years since Saddam was overthrown.