Russia vaunts its military
As Russia unleashed waves of warplanes yesterday to pound militant targets, President Vladimir Putin pushed diplomatic efforts with the West, stressing the need "to consider each other as allies in a common fight." At Hemeimeem air base in western Syria, Russia put its military muscle on display, bringing Moscow-based reporters to view a day's worth of fighter jets roaring off a runway in dozens of sorties as helicopter gunships patrolled the edges of the sprawling facility. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will meet today in Vienna with their counterparts from Saudi Arabia and Turkey, both staunch critics of President Bashar Assad.
Bomber kills 10 at mosque
A suicide bomber targeted a Shia mosque yesterday, killing 10 people and wounding several others, Baluchistan provincial home minister Sarfraz Bugti said. He said the attack took place in the district of Sibi, 120 miles southeast of Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan. He said the suicide attacker entered the mosque as Shia were holding a gathering ahead of the Ashoura, a key religious event. Six children were among those killed. The male suicide bomber was wearing a woman's head-to-toe burqa dress to deceive guards, he said. Sunni extremists have been blamed for previous such attacks.
Conferring on Afghanistan
When Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif visited President Barack Obama at the White House yesterday, the two leaders sidestepped areas of major disagreement between their countries in their public remarks from the Oval Office. "Both leaders expressed their commitment to advance an Afghan-owned and led peace and reconciliation process" and called on the Taliban to initiate "direct talks" with the Afghan government, according to a joint statement released by the Pakistanis following the meeting.