SANGIN VALLEY, Afghanistan - Villagers trickled back to their damaged farms, descending from the hills with their belongings in bundles or on donkeys Tuesday after a NATO operation in their valley killed some 75 suspected Taliban fighters. The latest salvo in the alliance's campaign to win control of southern Afghanistan chalked up a clear military victory. But the outcome of the tougher battle for the hearts and minds of ordinary Afghans remained unclear. The suspected militants were killed Monday when heavily armed British, Danish and Afghan soldiers fought their way up the Sangin Valley in Helmand province. Maj. Dominic Biddick, who led a company of British troops in the operation said that some of those killed Monday were local men whose deaths could turn their relatives against the NATO troops.
World Bank expresses concern over Wolfowitz
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WASHINGTON - The World Bank's board expressed fresh concern Tuesday over bank president Paul Wolfowitz's handling of a hefty pay package for his girlfriend and promised a decision soon in a controversy that has led to calls for his resignation. The 24-member board met several hours with a special bank panel that over the past two days had heard from Wolfowitz, his girlfriend and bank employee Shaha Riza and other present and former bank officials about Riza's promotion and pay raise to $193,590. In a statement afterward, the directors said they "remain very concerned about the impact on the work of the bank group and are committed to the earliest possible resolution of the matter." The board said the next step is for the special panel to "draw its conclusions from the information obtained from the documents and during the course of the interviews" and expeditiously submit a report to the directors.
Authorities say fighting fire â€˜long-term battle'
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WAYCROSS, Ga. - Authorities warned locals Tuesday it would be a while before crews can extinguish vast wildfires that have burned more than 135 square miles of forest and swampland in southeast Georgia in two weeks. "This is a long-term battle," acting Georgia Forestry Commissioner Robert Farris said. "This is not going to be over at the end of the week or very shortly here." Firefighters have contained about 64 percent of the vast Ware County fire that has scorched 87,000 acres of drought-stricken forest and Okefenokee Swamp land since it ignited when a fallen tree struck live power lines April 16. The fire has destroyed 21 homes, but there have been no deaths.