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US May Double Troop Presence in Afghanistan


AFGHANISTAN: The top U.S. military officer says the United States may double the number of troops deployed in Afghanistan next year to deal with a growing Taliban insurgency.
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, told reporters in Kabul on Saturday that up to 30-thousand additional troops could arrive by the middle of 2009.
The U.S. currently has 31-thousand troops serving in Afghanistan.

IRAQ: Iraq's parliament has rejected a draft law that would have allowed foreign troops from countries other than the United States to remain in Iraq beyond the end of the year. The law would have authorized the presence of troops from Britain, Australia, Estonia, Romania and El Salvador to be deployed until the end of July of next year. The legislation does not pertain to U.S. troops because the U.S. has already signed an agreement with the Iraqi government allowing troops after the United Nations mandate expires December 31st.
ISRAEL-PALESTINIANS: Barrages of rockets fired from Gaza have hit southern Israeli towns today (Sunday) in the second attack by Palestinian militants in two days. Rescue services say one rocket struck a house in the town of Sderot. The Israeli military says another rocket left one person lightly wounded in the hard-hit town. The Associated Press says that the militant group Islamic Jihad has claimed responsibility for Sunday's rocket fire.

MAURITANIA PRESIDENT: Mauritania officials say ousted President Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi has been released from house arrest. Authorities say security forces drove the deposed president 250 kilometers from the confinement of his native village of Lemden to the capital, Nouakchott, where he was freed today (Sunday). The military junta that overthrew Mr. Abdallahi had recently announced that the former president would be freed unconditionally before the end of the month.

US-SOMALIA: The chairman of the U.S. Senatesubcommittee for Africa is urging President-elect Barack Obama to start a new, serious effort to bring peace to Somalia. Senator Russ Feingold told VOA (Somali Service) in an interview Saturday that the recent U.S. policy towards Somalia has not been as good as it should be. He said the United States needs a serious and cohesive policy to try to restore stability to Somalia.

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