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Kabul Friday 3 February 2012

(BNA)

A couple of Afghan expatriates were murdered here as one of them was allegedly having an affair with a married woman.

The bodies of Shahbzada Muhammed Imran, known as Imran Khan, 27, and Ahmedin Sayed Khyel, 35, were found on New Lane, near Bradford, last May.

A court in Bradford was told that Khyel had been having an affair with the wife of Muhammed Zubair.

Zubair the main suspect is at large since the murders.

Prosecutor Tahir Khan QC told the court that Afghan electrician Khyel had been having an affair with Kainaat Bibi.

He said Zubair, a taxi driver, had fled on a flight to Islamabad and had not been seen since.
 

Kabul Friday 3 February 2012

(BNA)

US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta believes there is a "strong likelihood" that Israel will strike Iran's nuclear installations this spring, the Washington Post said Thursday in an editorial.

When asked about the opinion piece by reporters travelling with him to a NATO meeting in Brussels, Panetta brushed it aside.

"I'm not going to comment on that. David Ignatius can write what he will but with regards with what I think and what I view, I consider that to be an area that belongs to me and nobody else," he said.

"Israel indicated they're considering this (a strike), we've indicated our concerns," he added.

The Post columnist said Panetta "believes there is a strong likelihood that Israel will strike Iran in April, May or June before Iran enters what Israelis described as a 'zone of immunity' to commence building a nuclear bomb."

President Barack Obama and Panetta are "said to have cautioned the Israelis that the United States opposes an attack, believing that it would derail an increasingly successful international economic sanctions program and other non-military efforts to stop Iran from crossing the threshold," he said.

"But the White House hasn't yet decided precisely how the United States would respond if the Israelis do attack."

Panetta said Sunday in an interview with CBS that Iran needed "about a year" to produce enough enriched uranium for a nuclear weapon, and one or two more years to "put it on a deliverable vehicle."

Iran insists its nuclear project is peaceful and has threatened retaliation over the fresh sanctions, including possibly disrupting shipping through the strategic Strait of Hormuz

Kabul Friday 3 February 2012

(BNA) US officials say they believe Iran recently gave new freedoms to as many as five top al Qaeda operatives who have been under house arrest, including the option to leave the country, and may have provided some material aid to the terrorist group, the US newspaper report said.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the men, who were detained in Iran in 2003, make up al Qaeda's so-called management council, a group that includes members of the inner circle that advised Osama bin Laden and an explosives expert widely considered a candidate for a top post in the organization.

Skeptics caution that intelligence on Iran's activities is limited and worry that some policy makers might use provocative reports to justify military action against Tehran. Iran has denied any connection with al Qaeda.

US officials believe there have been recent indications officials in the Iranian government have provided al Qaeda operatives in Iran limited assistance, including logistical help, money and cars, according to a person briefed on the developments.

Adding to the US pressure on Iran, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told senators in an annual intelligence assessment that US agencies believe the Iranian regime is now more willing to conduct an attack in the US

"We have to be vigilant for more of that," Mr. Clapper told lawmakers Thursday.

The reports come at a time of growing concern about Iran's decision-making. President Barack Obama, in last month's State of the Union address, said "America is determined to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, and I will take no options off the table to achieve that goal."

Even among US officials who believe Iran has given greater freedoms to al Qaeda operatives, there is substantial debate within the US government about whether that means there are significant ties between Iran and al Qaeda

Kabul, Friday 3 February

(BNA) Iran on Friday launched an observation satellite into orbit above Earth, its Arabic satellite television channel Al-Alam reported.

"The Navid satellite was launched successfully.... It will be placed into an orbit (at an altitude) between 250 and 370 kilometres," the head of Iran's Space Organisation, Hamid Fazeli, was quoted as saying by the official IRNA news agency