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U.S. officials differ on Afghan war

WASHINGTON, Nov. 25 (UPI) -- U.S. military and intelligence officials differ sharply on whether progress is being made in the war in Afghanistan, The Washington Post reported Sunday.


Military officials stress U.S. and NATO forces have seen significant combat successes against a resurgence of Taliban fighters, the Post reported.

Intelligence officials, however, have concluded goals set by the White House for 2007 have not been met. The assessment this month by the National Security Council concluded progress in security, governance and the economy continue to lag in Afghanistan, the Post reported.

Intelligence officials are also uneasy about an increase in opium poppy cultivation financing the Taliban and signs of weakness in President Hamid Karzai's government, the Post said.

The differing views also reflect internal disagreements about Iraq, the Post reported, noting while the U.S. military lauds tactical successes, intelligence officials worry about strategic failure.


Britain OKs U.S. missile tracking system

LONDON, Nov. 25 (UPI) -- Anti-nuclear activists say a plan to put a U.S. missile tracking shield in Britain was approved in secret and shows contempt for a public process.

The plan approved by Defense Secretary Des Browne would permit the U.S. military to use a British base at Menwith Hill in North Yorkshire for a tracking system linked to U.S. satellites and interceptor missiles outside the United Kingdom, the BBC reported Sunday.

CND, an anti-nuclear group, called the plan "outrageous" and its approval a "total contempt for democracy and consultation," the BBC reported.

Britain's Foreign Affairs Select Committee called for full parliamentary debate after Browne said he never intended to keep the plan from the public.

Military officials in Washington said the anti-ballistic missile system is needed to confront missiles from "rogue states" such as Iran or North Korea.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said the system is aimed at his country and could provoke a renewed arms race.

Former KGB chief Kryuchkov dies

MOSCOW, Nov. 25 (UPI) -- Former KGB chief Vladimir Kryuchkov has died in a Moscow hospital at the age of 83.

Kryuchkov died Friday of an unspecified illness, the BBC reported Sunday.


He was jailed in 1991 and pardoned in 1994 for orchestrating a failed coup against Russian leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

In recent years, Kryuchkov published his memoirs and gave numerous interviews in which he accused the West of plotting to destroy Russia.

Kryuchkov was a frequent guest of Russian President Vladimir Putin, also a former KGB official.

Eunice Kennedy Shriver hospitalized

BOSTON, Nov. 25 (UPI) -- Eunice Kennedy Shriver is hospitalized in Boston with an undisclosed illness, The Boston Globe reported Sunday.

Shriver, 86, the sister of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., and the late President John F. Kennedy, was reported in fair condition at Massachusetts General Hospital, where she was admitted Nov. 18.

Shriver, who founded the Special Olympics in 1968, has had a number of health problems lately, said Daniel Zingale, chief of staff for her daughter, Maria.

"But she has bounced back many times, and I fully expect that to be the case now," Zingale told the Globe Saturday night.

Maria Shriver and her husband, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California, are in Massachusetts as part of a long-planned Thanksgiving holiday with their family, Zingale said.

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