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Afghan official accuses U.S. ambassador of making threat over corruption case

Wednesday, June 30, 2010; A08

AFGHANISTAN

Official cites U.S. threat over corruption case

Afghanistan's attorney general on Tuesday accused the U.S. ambassador in Kabul of threatening to have him ousted if he didn't pursue the case of a banker suspected of fraud.

Mohammed Ishaq Aloko lashed out at Karl W. Eikenberry during a news conference in the Afghan capital convened to dispute the allegation that his office's corruption task force routinely bows to political pressure from President Hamid Karzai's administration. The Washington Post reported Monday that U.S. officials working with the attorney general's office are frustrated by political meddling that derails corruption probes.

Aloko described his office as "independent" and immune to political influence. He said Eikenberry recently violated "diplomatic ethics" by suggesting that Aloko could lose his job if he didn't aggressively prosecute a banker incriminated during the prosecution of a minister who left the country after being charged with corruption.

"The ambassador's discussions with his counterparts are private, and we're not going to comment on them," said U.S. Embassy spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden.

Earlier Tuesday, an Afghan employee of the United Nations was shot in Kabul while driving a marked U.N. vehicle. The shooting occurred near a busy downtown traffic circle near the gate that leads to the U.S. Embassy and NATO headquarters.

The United Nations said in a statement that it is investigating the shooting and demanded that the culprits "be brought to justice without delay."

-- Ernesto LondoƱo

KASHMIR

3 killed in outbreak of anti-India protests

Police and paramilitary troops fired on thousands of anti-India protesters in Kashmir on Tuesday, killing at least three people in the worst street violence in a year, police said.

Faced with more than two weeks of increasingly strident protests in the divided Himalayan region, government forces have been accused of killing a total of 11 people in Indian-controlled Kashmir.

Muslim militants in the region have fought since 1989 for independence or merger with Pakistan.

The latest round of street protests was triggered by a police investigation this month that found Indian soldiers had killed three Kashmiri civilians in May. The investigation said the soldiers staged a gun battle in order to claim the dead were militants.

-- Associated Press

Vatican affirms it is not liable in U.S. abuse case: The Vatican, working to control the damage to its image from sexual abuse scandals, said it will prove it cannot be held legally responsible for a predatory priest in a pivotal U.S. lawsuit. On Monday, the Supreme Court refused to consider a case on whether the Vatican has immunity over the sexual abuse of minors by priests, allowing a lawsuit filed in 2002 to go forward.

13 killed in attacks across Iraq: Bombings and shootings across Iraq killed 13 people, including four policemen, an Iraqi army general and a 9-year-old girl, Iraqi officials said. The policemen were killed when an explosives-laden car detonated next to a patrol in the town of Baiji, 155 miles north of Baghdad. A brigadier general was killed when a bomb attached to his car exploded in Kadhimiyah, a mostly Shiite district of northern Baghdad.

New candidate sought after slaying of gubernatorial front-runner: Mexico's main opposition party scrambled to name a new candidate for governor in Sunday's election in a northern border state after suspected drug hit-men killed the front-runner Monday. Electoral officials said they would go ahead with the vote in Tamaulipas state despite the killing of Rodolfo Torre of the Institutional Revolutionary Party.

80 Ugandan, Rwandan rebels reported killed in Congo: A Congolese general said that in an operation that began June 1, the army has killed 80 rebels from neighboring Rwanda and Uganda who crossed into volatile eastern Congo. The region has been racked by violence since Rwanda's 1994 genocide spilled war across the border. Meanwhile, Ugandan rebels have spread their 20-year fight to Congo, Sudan and Central African Republic.

Scores still missing after landslide in China: Hope of finding survivors of a landslide that trapped at least 107 people faded as rescuers worked to move debris in southwestern China. The landslide struck Dazhai village, in Guizhou province, on Monday after days of torrential rains.

Cambodian leader treated for swine flu: Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and three other cabinet ministers have contracted swine flu, but the premier is recovering after several days of medical care, the Health Ministry said. Hun Sen, 59, required "urgent treatment" after Friday's weekly cabinet meeting.

-- From news services

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