PAKISTAN - CIA: A newly released video shows a man said to be the suicide bomber who
killed seven U.S. intelligence agents in Afghanistan vowing to avenge
the death of former Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud.
The video, aired Saturday by a Pakistani broadcaster (AAJ) and an
Arabic news channel (Al Jazeera),
shows a man identified as Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi wearing
traditional Afghan clothing sitting next to new Pakistani Taliban
leader Hakimullah Mehsud.
Al-Balawi, identifying himself as "the Jordanian," says U.S. and
Jordanian intelligence agencies offered him millions of dollars to spy
on the Taliban.
CIA - AFGHANISTAN: The head of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency is defending his
organization from charges that agency negligence led to the deaths of
seven CIA officers in a suicide attack last month in Afghanistan.
In an opinion piece published in The Washington Post
Saturday, Leon Panetta says, like soldiers, CIA agents must take risks
to confront a "vicious foe," sometimes "at a very high price."
He says the operatives took precautions, noting that the attacker was
stopped away from other intelligence personnel and was about to be
searched when he set off the explosive.
US - AIRLINE SECURITY: A young Nigerian accused of trying to ignite an explosive on a
Detroit-bound U.S. airliner on Christmas Day has pleaded not guilty to
The plea was entered on behalf of 23-year-old Umar Farouk
Abdulmutallab, who was shackled during a brief appearance Friday in a
Detroit courtroom. This was the first time Abdulmutallab appeared in
court since his arrest last month.
A federal grand jury has indicted the Nigerian national on six criminal
counts, including attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and
US - IRAQ - BLACKWATERS: The U.S. State Department says it will review a recent U.S. court ruling that dismissed charges against five American private security guards accused of killing at least 17 Iraqi civilians in 2007. A federal judge last month dropped charges against the Blackwater Worldwide guards, saying federal prosecutors violated their constitutional rights by using statements they made under immunity. The decision angered the Iraqi government, which says it has filed its own lawsuit against the private security firm.
AFGHANISTAN POLITICS: Afghan President Hamid Karzai is again trying to fill his Cabinet,
hoping a second set of nominees will win the approval of lawmakers.
Mr. Karzai presented parliament Saturday with the names of 16 new
candidates to take up key posts, including (security advisor Zalmay
Rasul as) foreign minister.
Lawmakers are expected to debate the new candidates for several days
before voting on any of the nominees.
Just last week, the Afghan parliament rejected 17 of Mr. Karzai's 24
nominees in a secret ballot, including incumbent Energy Minister Ismail
PAKISTAN - VIOLENCE: Pakistani officials say a militant commander has blown himself up with a grenade to escape capture during a police raid.
They say four police officers were wounded when the militant, identified as Irfan, committed suicide in Peshawar.
Also Saturday, Pakistani officials said security forces killed two militant commanders during an operation in the Swat region.
Meanwhile, Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik said the army is not needed to secure Karachi.
Local leaders have been increasingly concerned about the spread of
violence to Pakistan's commercial center.
INDIA - PAKISTAN: Indian border security forces are accusing their Pakistani counterparts of lobbing at least four rockets into northern Punjab state. Indian officials said no one was injured in Saturday's incident but that two of the rockets landed near a border security outpost. Two more landed in fields belonging to a nearby village. They say not all of the rockets exploded upon impact. Indian forces said they responded to the attack with machine-gun fire and were searching through dense fog to locate any additional shells.
SUDAN - US: The United States says "regional extremists" may be targeting Air Uganda flights between Southern Sudan and Uganda.
A warning posted Friday on the Web site of the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum
says there is a "potential threat" on the flights between Juba, Sudan
and Kampala, Uganda. Juba is the capital of semi-autonomous Southern
The embassy did not name the potential attackers but said the threat is
of "sufficient seriousness," and that air travelers should "maintain
vigilance at all times." (News Updates)
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