Taliban retreats on peace
Afghanistan's Taliban have shuttered a newly opened office in Qatar, vowing to fight on against President Hamid Karzai's government while abandoning a diplomatic approach seen as the best hope of finding a political end to the 12-year war. Experts said Tuesday that the withdrawal of combat troops from Afghanistan in 2014 offered the Taliban the hope of a military victory while limiting their incentive for peace talks. The Taliban, they said, envisioned the talks more as a means of gaining legitimacy than as a road to peace. The Taliban office, which opened less than a month ago to facilitate peace talks with the U.S. and Afghan governments, was mired in controversy from the outset after the religious movement was accused of trying to set up a government-in-exile by identifying its office as the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. • A roadside bomb struck a motorcycle-drawn cart carrying women and children between two villages Tuesday in western Afghanistan, killing all 17 people on board.
Canada: Canadian authorities said Tuesday that they have opened a criminal investigation into the fiery wreck of a runaway oil train in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, as the death toll climbed to 15, with dozens more bodies feared buried in the burned-out ruins.
UNITED NATIONS: Russia's U.N. ambassador said Tuesday that Russian experts determined that Syrian rebels made sarin nerve gas and used it in a deadly chemical weapon attack outside Aleppo in March. The rebels have blamed the government.
LEBANON: A car bomb exploded in a Hezbollah stronghold in the southern suburbs of Beirut on Tuesday, wounding at least 53 people in the most troubling sign yet that Syria's civil war is beginning to consume its smaller neighbor. Tensions have risen since Hezbollah fighters joined Syria's forces.
NEW ORLEANS: Natural gas leaked Tuesday from an old, nonproducing well at an oil and gas platform in the Gulf of Mexico about 75 miles off the Louisiana coast after a crew working to plug the well lost control of it, the Coast Guard said. Talos Energy of Houston said it expected to get the well under control today.