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There has been a sharp decline in terrorist violence across Iraq, the Pentagon insisted in a new report, despite the deaths of at least 26 more people in attacks Tuesday. US military officials, however, disputed Iraqi claims that 16 others were killed when a roadside bomb exploded beside a passing bus. The Associated Press reported that the average number of deaths in Iraq has risen from 26 a day in February to 39 so far this month. But a US spokesman said over the weekend that "one week or two weeks' worth of activity" should not be seen as evidence of a "trend of an increase."

Cellphone service providers in Afghanistan are bowing to Taliban demands and shutting down for the night, the BBC reported, after another communications tower was found ablaze late Tuesday. The incident was the 10th of its type in recent weeks, since the Taliban claimed Afghan and NATO forces were using the cellphone systems to track their movements after dark. Cellphones are the only reliable means of communication for many Afghans.

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