Two US soldiers killed by Afghan soldiers: military
KABUL / DUBAI
In this file photo, Afghan Army soldiers arrive to join a mission with Canadian soldiers with the 1st Battalion, south-west of Kandahar, Afghanistan. AP photoTwo American soldiers were shot dead yesterday by two Afghans, including a man believed to be a soldier, Western and Afghan officials said.
The killings in south Afghanistan came after two senior U.S. officers were gunned down in the Afghan Interior Ministry on Feb. 25 by what Afghan security officials say was a police intelligence official. At least five NATO soldiers have been killed by Afghan security forces since the burning of copies of the Quran at a NATO base last month triggered widespread anger and protests.
Al-Qaeda hails ‘shrinking’ US influence
Meanwhile, al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri hailed what he said is the “shrinking influence” of the United States across the world due to attacks it has sustained from extremist groups, in an audio message Feb. 29.
“I congratulate you all as the U.S. influence on the world is quickly shrinking,” Zawahiri said in the 24-minute audio released on jihadist forums. “One of the latest signs of this is the reduction in the U.S. Defense Department’s budget, which is the big event that forced (U.S. President Barack) Obama to announce it himself so as to reduce its impact on the American people,” he said. U.S. President Barack Obama in mid-February unveiled a defense budget for 2013 that proposed cuts in Pentagon spending for the first time since 1998, slashing military personnel costs and weapons purchases.
Zawahiri also said U.S. troops were forced to withdraw from Iraq and will soon withdraw from Afghanistan, accepting “defeat” in both countries.
Compiled from Reuters and AFP stories by the Daily News staff.