From Washington, this is VOA News. I’m Steve Karesh reporting.
U.S. President Barack Obama has approved a wider role for U.S. military in Afghanistan to help local forces combat the Taliban.
The new plan will allow for increased airstrikes against the Taliban when necessary, and gives U.S. forces more flexibility in how they partner with Afghan forces. The plan does not involve U.S. ground troops.
All this comes six months before the 9,800 troops in Afghanistan would be reduced to 5,500 - a move Obama wants to see happen by 2017.
A Hindu monastery worker in Bangladesh was hacked to death early Friday in what local police believe is the latest in a string of brutal attacks against religious minorities throughout the country.
Though no group has yet taken responsibility for the killing, local police says it bears the marks of similar attacks carried out by Islamist militants.
More than 40 people have been killed in similar attacks over the past three years, and the violence has escalated in the past few months.
Militants from Turkey's Kurdistan Workers Party (the PKK) have claimed responsibility for Wednesday's deadly attack on a police station in the country's southeast that left six people dead.
The attack, in the mainly Kurdish town, left more than 30 wounded.
The PKK has been targeting Turkish police and military in its struggle for autonomy in Turkey's southeast since the collapse of a ceasefire agreement nearly a year ago.
Separately, the Kurdistan Freedom Hawks (the TAK), an offshoot of the PKK, claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing in Istanbul Tuesday that killed 11 people. The car bomb exploded near a police bus in central Istanbul during morning rush hour.
From Washington, this is VOA.
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