Afghan ex-spy boss opposes talking to Taliban
KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghanistan’s ousted intelligence chief told The Associated Press on Wednesday that President Hamid Karzai is pursuing a dangerous strategy in seeking peace with the Taliban because the insurgents are giving nothing in return.
Amrullah Saleh said the Taliban have only responded to Karzai’s conciliatory approach with ‘‘violence, destruction and intimidation.’’
Hours later, an explosion in southern Afghanistan killed 39 people and wounded dozens. It followed the downing of a NATO helicopter by the Taliban, which killed four American servicemen.
Speaking at his heavily secured Kabul home, Saleh said he did not want ‘‘a small terrorist group to dominate the political scene in Afghanistan.’’
‘‘I am in favor of peace but I am against bowing to the Taliban,’’ he said.
3 jewelers killed during robbery in southern Iraq
BAGHDAD — Masked gunmen killed three jewelers before fleeing with a large amount of gold in a sophisticated attack Wednesday in southern Iraq, underscoring fears that street crime is soaring as sectarian fighting wanes.
The heist in the Shiite stronghold of Basra came two weeks after a similar robbery in Baghdad that left 15 dead.
Six gunmen stormed into three gold jewelry shops in the center of Basra shortly before 8 p.m., killed the owners, then fled with a large amount of jewelry, according to police and hospital officials.
Iran dismisses sanctions
UNITED NATIONS — The U.S. and its allies scored a long-sought victory Wednesday by pushing through new U.N. sanctions over Iran’s nuclear program, punishments Tehran dismissed as ‘‘annoying flies, like a used tissue.’’
The sanctions target Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard, ballistic missiles and nuclear-related investments. Oil exports, the lifeblood of Iran’s economy, are not affected because targeting them would have cost the U.S. essential support from Russia and China.
President Barack Obama said the sanctions are the toughest Iran has ever faced.
— From wire reports