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Antoine Ghanem Assassinated

Antoine Ghanem, of the Christian Phalange, a Lebanese MP and critic of Syria, was killed, along with at least nine others, in a car-bombing in Sin al-Fil district of Beirut today. The 64 year-old Ghanem became the eight prominent anti-Syria politician to be killed since February 2005.

Ghanem had spent the summer out of Lebanon due to death threats and returned just two days ago.

The Lebanese parliament is expected to delay the election of a new President scheduled for September 25 and required before November 23.

Kidnapper Killed, And Further Offensives

ABC News reports that "Mullah Abdullah Jan, the Taliban commander of Qara Bagh district in Ghazni province, was among 12 killed in the strike on a mud-brick housing compound" Tuesday. Jan becomes the fifth Taliban leader killed who was believed to have been involved in the kidnapping of 23 South Koreans, two of which were killed.

Ghazni Province has recently seen increased coalition attacks on Taliban forces, as noted by Afghanistan's Interior Ministry spokesman Zemerai Bashary on Monday.

"In the past 20 days of operations in Ghazni province, 120 enemies of the peace and stability of Afghanistan have been killed. Five commanders of the enemy have been captured."

Elsewhere in Afghanistan, in the Helmand province NATO and Afghan forces launched Operation Palk Wahel. The offensive operation, which began today, consists of approximately 2500 ISAF and Afghan forces aiming to "protect areas within Helmand Province where we have previously made gains against the Taliban and pushed them further out.'

Pakistani Army 'Losing Will to Fight'?

Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf vowed to quit his post as Army Chief of Staff if he wins re-election as Pakistan's president. His vow was met with criticism from opposition leaders who object that he has broken promises before.

Last week, former Pakistani prime minister and current Musharraf rival Nawaz Sharif returned to Pakistan and was promptly deported back to Saudi Arabia. He and Benazir Bhutto both seek to replace Musharraf at the head of a civilian Pakistani government.

Meanwhile, there are grumblings inside Pakistan that much of its military has lost faith in the 'War on Terror', with a retired Pakistani general writing that "Perhaps they are not convinced to fight against their own people." Talat Masood added that the recent al-Qaeda-Taliban capture of over 240 troops without a shot fired illustrates this. Over 30% of Pakistan's enlisted Army ranks are, like the Taliban, ethnic Pashtuns.

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