In brief: Suicide bombers kill 12 at Afghan police station
Kabul, Afghanistan – Two suicide bombers blew themselves up at an Afghan police headquarters Saturday, killing 12 officers in an area along the Pakistan border that still sees heavy Taliban attacks even as NATO pours in more troops and resources.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack in eastern Paktika province, which has long been a refuge for Islamist extremists from around the world.
The attackers, who were disguised in police uniforms, made it through three security gates, said Nawab Waziry, the head of Paktika’s provincial council. One attacker detonated his explosives inside the police headquarters building, while the other blew himself up near the entrance about 20 minutes later.
Waziry said an intelligence report several weeks ago warned that suicide attackers wearing police uniforms would strike soon.
“Even with all this information, still police were not able to prevent this attack,” he said.
Lebanon leader visits Iran, hopes for Hezbollah tether
Beirut, Lebanon – Lebanon’s prime minister kicked off a three-day visit to Iran on Saturday meant to strengthen economic and political bonds between the United States’ chief regional adversary and a nation Washington once upheld as a model for Western-leaning Arab democracy.
The first official visit to Iran by Prime Minister Saad Hariri comes as sectarian tensions within Lebanon simmer. An international tribunal is expected to indict members of the Iranian-backed Shiite militia Hezbollah in the 2005 assassination of his father, former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, a Sunni.
Saad Hariri hopes that Iran will rein in Hezbollah, which has warned it would not tolerate any attempt to implicate the group in the killing.
Iran has its own agenda: to prod Hariri to disavow the United Nations’ Special Tribunal for Lebanon that has been investigating the assassination, and to try to counter Washington’s attempt to isolate Iran over its ever-expanding nuclear program.
Low-rated president blames ‘distrustful’ Peruvians
Lima, Peru – Peruvians are a mopey lot. So says their president, Alan Garcia.
Garcia told Radioprogramas on Saturday that an inbred national melancholy must be to blame for his low approval ratings at a time when the economy is booming.
“We are what we are: sad, distrustful,” Garcia said. “We have a natural lack of trust.”
In contrast, Garcia said, Brazilians “have another sort of nature, joyful and sunny.”
A recent Ipsos-Apoyo poll indicated just 34 percent approve of Garcia’s presidency while 62 percent disapprove. The margin of error was 3 percentage points.
Critics attribute Garcia’s problems to the fact that economic growth has not reached the poor majority.