KABUL, Afghanistan

Karzai demands an end to U.S. military operations

Afghanistan’s president demanded Sunday that the United States no longer carry out military operations or airstrikes and must jump-start peace talks with the Taliban before his country signs a security deal to keep U.S. troops in Afghanistan after 2014.

President Hamid Karzai’s deepening anti-American rhetoric comes as the Taliban intensifies its assaults ahead of the planned withdrawal and after Friday’s militant raid on a popular Kabul restaurant, the deadliest single attack against foreign civilians in the nearly 13-year U.S.-led war.

Karzai made the statement after learning findings of an investigation into a joint Afghan-U.S. military operation last week that resulted in civilian casualties which he blamed on a U.S. military airstrike.

The U.S.-led international military coalition, however, provided a sharply different account Sunday of the operation against insurgents in eastern Parwan province, saying it was an Afghan-led effort carried out at the government’s request.

CAIRO

Ex-lawmaker recants threat to slaughter Americans

A former Egyptian lawmaker who threatened on a popular TV show that Americans would be “slaughtered in their homes” if an attempt is made on the life of the country’s military chief recanted on Sunday, saying his comments were misconstrued.

The Jan. 13 comments by Mostafa Bakry, a well-known journalist with close ties to the military, drew no comment from the nation’s military-backed government. Bakry based his comments about killing Americans on what he called a conspiracy led by the United States to assassinate military chief Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi.

“If anything at all happens to el-Sissi, there won’t be an American on this earth we will leave in peace, here or abroad,” he warned.

On Sunday however, Bakry backtracked after international media reported his statements.

“I am opposed to any violence, including any violence against U.S. citizens,” he said in a statement distributed by the Egyptian government.

BANGKOK

At least 28 wounded in two explosions at demonstration

Two explosions shook an anti-government demonstration site in Thailand’s capital on Sunday, wounding at least 28 people in the latest violence to hit Bangkok as the nation’s increasingly bloody political crisis drags on.

Police said the blasts near Victory Monument, in the north of the city, were caused by fragmentation grenades – the same kind that killed one man and wounded dozens Friday in a similar explosion targeting protest marchers.

The demonstrators, who control several small patches of Bangkok, are vying to overthrow Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s government and derail Feb. 2 elections she called to quell the crisis.

The protest movement has refused to negotiate and the rising casualty toll has only deepened the deadlock.

Although the vast majority of Bangkok remains calm, political violence nearly every day over the last week has kept the city of 12 million on edge and raised fears that hostilities are only just beginning.

– From news service reports