U.S.-led Coalition Forces Killed About 80 Taliban Fighters In Afghanistan; Base Entrance Bombed

officials said U.S.-led coalition forces killed about 80 Taliban fighters during a six-hour battle outside a Taliban-controlled town in southern Afghanistan, the latest in a series of increasingly bloody engagements in the region.

Also, officials said suicide bomber wearing an Afghan security uniform detonated his explosives at the entrance to a combined U.S.-Afghan base in the east of the country, killing four Afghan soldiers and a civilian.

In a statement, the U.S.-led coalition said the fight began when Taliban fighters attacked a combined U.S. coalition and Afghan patrol with rockets and gunfire, prompting the combined force to call in attack aircraft, which resulted in “almost seven dozen Taliban fighters killed.”

The coalition said that four bombs were dropped on a trench line filled with Taliban fighters, resulting in most of the deaths.

NATO’s International Security Assistance Force said the suicide bomber walked up to a security gate for Afghan soldiers outside Forward Operating Base Bermel in the eastern province of Paktika, near the border with Pakistan. Four Afghan soldiers and a civilian were killed and six Afghans were wounded, no Americans were hurt.

It was not immediately clear if the bomber had been trying to gain entry to the base.

Elsewhere, Helmand provincial police chief Mohammad Hussein Andiwal said Taliban militants killed three Afghan police who had been trying to prevent them from carrying out a kidnapping. The militants successfully kidnapped an Afghan man during the gun battle.

Meanwhile, Australia’s prime minister John Howard said more NATO powers must directly engage the Taliban to help ease the burden on Australia, the United States, Britain, Canada and the Netherlands, which all have troops in the dangerous southern and central parts of Afghanistan.

Germany, Italy, France and Spain have troops in the relatively safer northern sections, a fact that is causing a rift within NATO, and Australian Prime Minister John Howard said those countries need to help ease the burden on countries operating in the south.

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Germany’s Governing Party Backs Proposal To Introduce Highways Speed Limit []

10/27/2007 7:44:15 PM On Saturday, members of a Germany’s governing parties backed a proposal to introduce a speed limit on highways, a measure that would revoke a cherished freedom in this rule-bound country and was likely to be met with resistance.

A majority of delegates at a conference of the center-left Social Democrat party backed a resolution stating that “a fast and unbureaucratic path to climate protection is the introduction of a general speed limit of 130 kilometers per hour,” or 80 mph.

Many stretches of German autobahn have no speed limits. However, the current surge in concern over carbon dioxide emissions has put that tradition under renewed scrutiny.

The decision has no binding effect on government policy, and the party’s conservative coalition partners, including Chancellor Angela Merkel, have regularly rejected calls for an overall speed limit.

Leading Social Democrats, including Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel and Transport Minister Wolfgang Tiefensee, also have questioned the logic of speed limits. Sigmar Gabriel has argued that they would reduce incentives for manufacturers to produce more environment-friendly engines.

In an interview with the Welt am Sonntag newspaper, Deputy party leader Andrea Nahles regretted the decision, arguing that what is needed are “new technologies, new (car) fleets and alternative fuels, not new rules.”

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