Fierce fighting in southern Iraq has put the scheduled withdrawal of British forces on hold, Defense Secretary Des Browne told Parliament Tuesday. The government said late last year that 1,500 soldiers would be recalled this spring with the OK of their commanders. But the recent violence has forced the troops back into combat after they'd largely assumed a training role for Iraqi soldiers and police. Although the fighting ended in a cease-fire with Shiite militias, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki declared it a success Tuesday. He stopped short of calling off the offensive that produced a backlash against his forces, however.
Unionists and other supporters of Argentine President Cristina Fernandez vowed to show their solidarity with her taxes on farmers Wednesday via a rally in Buenos Aires, the capital. Organizers said they expected a turnout of 80,000 people. Fernandez offered some concessions to the striking farmers, but rejected their main demand: that she rescind the taxes on agricultural exports. She claims the taxes will help to control inflation and redistribute wealth.
A Taliban commander who previously has escaped from prisons in Afghanistan was recaptured following a gunbattle between his men and a police patrol Tuesday. Officials in southern Helmand Province said Mullah Naqibullah was wounded in the fighting. He is believed to have a close relationship with Taliban chief Mullah Omar. Two months ago, Naqibullah bribed his way out of a jail – the second time he has escaped in two years.